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THE ENFORCER (1995)

aka: JET LI'S THE ENFORCER

Director: Corey Yuen

Screenplay: Sandy Shaw and Jing Wong

Cast: Jet Li, Anita Mui, Miu Tse, Rongguang Yu, Collin Chou, Ken Lo...

Run time: 100 minutes, dubbed in English from Chinese Rated: R

Genre: Police crime drama/Hong Kong kung-fu/Action

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

First off, this movie should not be confused with the 1976 film titled "The Enforcer" which starred Clint Eastwood. The Clint Eastwood film is a much more satisfying film in my opinon, both in storyline and action.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy good martial arts fights in a film. I used to practice karate myself for over 20 years and I've seen almost every good (and some pretty bad) martial arts film made since the early seventies. I've just grown weary of the martial arts "star" who can't really act and the only thing holding together the movie plot is that every few scenes, there's an obligatory fight to wow the audience with the prowess of the particular star and his signature technique. (Remember Jean van Damme who manages to fit a full split into nearly every fight?) But I digress.

The pacing of this movie is very slow. The fight sequences predictable. The gunplay uninspiring. The ending standard.

The plot seems quite similar to another action/martial arts flick that featured Chow Yun Fat but again, I digress.

The basic story is that Jet Li plays an undercover cop. His wife has no idea what he does for a living. Neither does his son, who practically worships the guy even though the father disapoints the son over and over again by not being around when he's needed. The wife suspects that her husband is up to no good, but it's not her job to question him, or challenge him, or sneak around and find out for herself why he disappears for days and weeks at a time with barely an "I'll see you later." She has no idea where he goes or what he does. But she has heard rumors. Rumors about connections to criminals and criminal activities.

Of course, when things hit the fan, as they say, Jet Li's character is undercover on assignment and a botched "job" leads to his being pursued by Anita Mui, an equally talented martial arts practitioner who holds her own most of the time, against the bad guys. She is a police detective hot on Li's trail, which leads her to his family and classic complications.

To be fair, I haven't seen the original film. The version I have is the dubbed and edited version released in the U.S. -- I'm told the original version is much better. The title of the original version is listed as "Letters to My Father" or "My Father is a Hero."

Unless you are already a Jet Li fan, or a fan of traditional style Hong Kong action films, I wouldn't recommend this film. There are many others that cover the same territory with more satisfying results.

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