Gen-Y Cops (2000) Movie Review

The “men” at the core of Gen-Y Cops are 3 Chinese cops who are supposed to be an “elite” squad that handles “all of Hong Kong’s toughest cases,” but the actors playing them look like they’re in their early ’20s and talk like they’re in their early teens. I kid you not, all of this is true. What passes for dialogue between the characters seem recorded, word for word, from the kind of mind-numbingly absurd conversation you might hear between two airheads at a Starbucks caf’. While I do admire Gen-Y Cops for being radically different at the risk of being embarrassingly bad, its premise of “elite cops” with the personalities of juvenile delinquents make me question the entire concept.

Gen-Y Cops concerns an American-made killing machine of a robot called RS-1 that is brought over under heavy guard to Hong Kong for a sort of international convention for state-of-the-art weapons. The problem arises when the robot’s original designer, a computer expert name Kurt decides he was wrongly treated by the FBI (the people who funded the robot’s construction) and now wants revenge, and has teamed up with a group of mercenaries to steal the robot. Our elite Gen Cops gets the call to help the Americans protect the robot, but because of past associations between one of the Gen Cops, Edison, and would-be thief Kurt, the ring of thieves manages to steal the robot and it’s up to the Gen Cops to retrieve the killing machine before the Americans really have a cow.

Not having seen the original Gen-X Cops, I couldn’t tell you if the goofiness that runs rampant in Gen-Y Cops is a continuation of what’s come before it. Having only Gen-Y Cops to judge the Gen franchise, I would hesitate to watch a third installment. Gen-Y Cops fails because it attempts to have it both ways: it wants to be a comedy and an action film, but as is the case with many Hong Kong film production, the merging of the two genre, in this case, doesn’t work. The results is that the comedy is not all that funny and the action is not all that impressive. There is nothing here that isn’t a rehash of other, better action movies. Even if I could ignore the fact that the Chinese actors look, talk, and act like juvenile delinquents, I still couldn’t quite understand why one of them has a half-Mohawk. Is the Hong Kong police force really this lapsed in official protocol?

The overall feel that I get from Gen-Y Cops is that it’s a movie on the verge of being called “amateurish,” if not for the millions spent on special effects and explosions galore. The writing is very weak, and one gets the feeling many of the English dialogue was made up by the actors as the film was shot. Why else would men and women in their ’20s talk like teen-something teenyboppers? Or the fact that the FBI, a U.S. domestic agency, would be escorting (or even involved in the creation of) a killing robot overseas to Hong Kong? This, I assume, would be a job for the CIA, the U.S.’s overseas agency. And even that is a stretch.

Factual inaccuracies aside, I could still have liked the movie if only it didn’t completely lose its mind halfway through. Once the robot is stolen, absolutely nothing happens that rings true, or even wanders into the realm of common sense. How completely ridiculous are the going-ons in Gen-Y Cops? One of the female FBI agents, a Chinese who falls for Edison, begins wearing a see-through shirt with her bra prominently displayed for the remaining length of the movie! While this does give her that sleazy, sexy look, I highly doubt if it meets with the FBI dress code.

Perhaps the only thing weaker than the writing is the acting. Theatrical overacting is a staple of many Hong Kong productions. The two Chinese leads, Match and Alien, struts around like two gangsters looking for a liquor store to rob. The American side is represented by character actor Paul Rudd as Ian Curtis, one of the FBI agents who has been given the “a-hole” role, as he has little clue to the going-ons and makes every conceivable bad decision until the inevitable climax of the movie, when he joins in on the fisticuffs.

Actually, there seems to be very little intelligence to the men and women from the Federal Bureau of Investigations. A special note goes to the black American actor playing the head FBI agent in charge, whose sole reason for being in the movie is to break up shouting matches between Rudd’s Curtis and the Gen Cops. Another special note goes to Maggie Q., who plays Jane, the prostitute — er, I mean, Asian FBI agent. Nice bra, Maggie, Hoover would have approved.

Director Benny Chan has a very good feel for stylish music videos, and moves the camera quite effectively in the movie. The stunt work is not up to par of most Hong Kong films, and the fisticuffs and gunplay have a generic feel to them. The Gen Cops approach their fights with the same silly enthusiasm they have for other scenes.

Benny Chan (director) / Felix Chong, Bey Logan (screenplay)
CAST: Mark Hicks …. Ross Tucker
Paul Rudd …. Ian Curtis
Maggie Q …. Jane Quigley
Johnnie Guy …. Dr. Cameron

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