Thursday, June 12, 2014

Film Review: Badges of Fury (2013)

Badges of Fury (Review)
China/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"Both the humor and action elements come up short."

Young and reckless detective Wang Bu Er (Wen Zhang) and grizzled veteran Huang Fei Hong (Jet Li) search for a suspect in a string of smiling murders...

Badges of Fury follows detectives Bu Er and Fei Hong, as well as their superior Angela (Michelle Chen), as they search for clues and investigate these suspected serial murders. In the murders, each victim is found with an eerie smile on their faces. The mystery messes with the ideas of sibling rivalries, curses, and lies. But, regardless of its unique and often bizarre concepts, it is still very procedural. Therefore, there really isn't much to discuss when it comes to actual story. The third act runs out of steam, but the ending was funny, though.

Badges of Fury is an action/comedy B-movie. The humor is a little quirky and mostly bizarre. Really, most of it is out there -- it's just so over-the-top and ridiculous that it comes off as cringe-worthy rather than funny. I laughed a few times, though. I especially liked the scenes between Bu Er and Angela -- the latter who has a very charismatic character; unfortunately, she's not used much during the final act. The action is also over-the-top -- a lot of wire action and computer effects, as well as some blatant stunt work. Some of the scenes were fun and thrilling, but the special effects really hurt the overall excitement. Both the humor and action elements come up short.

The ensemble cast filled with special guests is good. I liked Jet Li, although he has surprisingly less screen time than the rest. Wen Zhang is also good, but he lacks the screen presence of a leading man. Michelle Chen is very charismatic with her performance -- hits the perfect balance for a movie like this. Liu Yan stars in this film and contributes some of the humor with her charisma. (She also has two bags of sand filled with charisma.) The special effects are very obvious -- they stick out like a sore thumb, and it contributes to the cheese and cringe of the film. Director Wong Tsz-ming attempts a very creative and bizarre comic-style film, but fails to do efficiently; the ideas just come up short.

Overall, Badges of Fury is a mediocre film. Sure, I laughed a handful of times and some of the action was decent, but most of the film was simply mediocre. The humor mostly falls flat and the special effects hurt the action, too. Maybe entertaining for a night in, but not worth actively seeking.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood.

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