Ever had that sinking feeling, mere moments into a movie, that what you are about to watch is more than likely going to turn out to be a steaming pile of horse manure?

I have, a number of times in fact, and the latest movie to add its name to the list of shame is Badge of Fury, a supposed action ‘comedy’ starring Jet Li and Wen Zhang.

Now the action I can live with – there are indeed a few nicely handled set pieces – but if what constitutes the rest of the running time counts as actual ‘comedy’, then I must have suffered a humour bypass somewhere along the way.

After a farcical opening  montage which shows a number of people dying in mysterious ways (all with a fixed grin on their face), the film moves swiftly to an oh-so hilarious sequence which entirely hinges on the fact that you will find Zhang prancing about in a kilt funny – I didn’t.

From there it gets worse, with Zhang gurning and grimacing his way through scene after scene, with the only emotion provoked being one of an overwhelming desire to punch him very hard in the face.

The plot follows Zhang and grizzled cop partner Li (who looks a mix of bored and embarrassed in many scenes), who are investigating said murders, with the only lead they have being that they were former boyfriends of shady lady Liu (Liu Shishi).

So Zhang has to go undercover as her new boyfriend and try to get to the bottom of the mystery – cue hi-jinks.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a mix of action and comedy – heck, I’ve lapped up Jackie Chan’s brand of slapstick violence for many a year.

And I am a huge fan of Li’s, especially his earlier, pre-Hollywood output.

But that just makes debut director Tsz Ming Wong’s effort all the more depressing – the talent is there, but the material and execution is just shocking.

Li can still handle all the fisticuffs, excelling in a handful of action scenes, but even those move into the ‘incredulous’ camp due to an over-abundance of wirework more akin to Stephen Chow’s antics.

The whole thing really is incredibly annoying – in fact, the only brief highlight is the appearance of busty TV host-turned actress Liu Yan in a minor role.

I know that makes me sound shallow (and I apologise), but Badge Of Fury really did have me grasping at any crumbs of comfort – it truly is that bad.

VERDICT: [rating=1]




About The Author

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Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle