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August 18th, 2000 Issue #6

Hong Kong Digital is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- a film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author of The Hong Kong Filmography.

Project S vs Supercop 2

Project S
(1993; Golden Harvest/Paragon Films): 7/10

Cover art courtesy China Star.

Supercop 2
(1999; Dimension Films): 6/10

Cover art courtesy Dimension Films.

DVD Specs:

DVD Menu courtesy China Star.

China Star #TDVDD0012
Dolby Digital mono (2.0)
Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks
No subtitles (permanant Chinese subtitles appear during Mandarin and English dialogue segments)
9 chapters illustrated in the menu with still frames
Letterboxed (1.89:1)
Coded for ALL Regions
Macrovision encoded
Packaged in a jewel case
Category II
102 minutes

DVD Specs:

DVD menu courtesy Dimension

Dimension #18309
Dolby Digital stereo (5.1)
Dubbed in English
Optional English captions and English closed captions
18 chapters illustrated in the menu with still frames
Letterboxed (1.83:1)
Coded for Region 1
Macrovision encoded
Packaged in a Keep Case
Rated R
93 minutes

Michelle Yeoh.
Top image courtesy China Star. Bottom image courtesy Dimension Films.

Michelle Yeoh Chu-kheng reprised her Police Story III: Supercop character in Project S, which Dimension has now released here in revised form as Supercop 2. After China's Finance Minister is kidnapped by some Red Army terrorists (including Yukari Oshima), Security Chief Yang Chien-hua (Yeoh, dubbing her own voice and re-named "Jessica Yang" in the new version) is able to effect a rescue, with the assistance of her boyfriend, Captain Cheng Feng (Yu Rongguang, called "David Chang" in the Dimension release). Yang and Cheng are quite happy together but Cheng won't propose to her, until he feels more financially secure. To that end, he and some other soldiers he served with in Vietnam (including Bowie Lam Bo-yee and Dick Wei) plan to go to Hong Kong and pull off a major heist. For their first job, they steal security information pertaining to the facility they plan to rob. When the theft results in several fatalities, China sends Jessica to HK to lend her expertise. Joining with local policemen Li Kuang-ming (Emil Chow Wah-kin, identified as "Martin Lee" in the Americanized edition) and Kuo Shao-lung (Fan Siu-wong, re-christened "Alan Wong" in the dubbed disc), Yang sets about trying to guess the gang's next move, not realizing that her lover is masterminding everything.

Terry Fan Siu-Wong, Emil Chow Wah-Kin, and Michelle Yeoh (left to right in both images).
Top image courtesy China Star. Bottom image courtesy Dimension Films.

While the action is a bit sparse compared to most HK police thrillers, it is very well staged by director/action choreographer Stanley Tong Kwai-lai, making this a slick and superior outing, in spite of its routine script. Michelle Yeoh gives a convincing dramatic turn and handles the stunt sequences with her usual grace and agility. Yu Rongguang gets one of his best roles to date as the misguided criminal boss; his charisma and athleticism help compensate for Emil Chow's bland hero and French actor Alain Guernier's dreadful performance as the British criminal with whom Cheng is involved (for a native Brit, his English is awfully mangled!). In a bizarre and completely extraneous sequence, one that would have been better left on the cutting room floor, Jackie Chan (dubbed in the American version by someone doing a really bad impersonation of him) and Eric Tsang Chi-wai have drag! Chan's old compatriot, Feng Sing, can also be glimpsed during this bit as a jewellery store patron.


Yu Rongguang.
Top image courtesy China Star. Bottom image courtesy Dimension Films.

Dimension has trimmed out approximately eight minutes and replaced Richard Lo Sai-kit's music with a serviceable but generic score by Michael Wandmacher. The original, monaural foley track has been retained and it is sometimes overwhelmed in the American re-mix by the new music. Some of the dubbing artists utilize inappropriate voices and their lip sync is often sloppy. For some reason, the English version also adds some voiceovers for Yeoh's character that are hardly necessary, given the elementary nature of the characters and story. The action appears to be intact but Dimension has shortened the bit where one character gets crushed by a bank vault door, despite the fact that it hardly seems bloody enough to have posed a threat to their “R” rating.

Chinastar's HK DVD would be a much better choice, if it only had English subtitles. The image is
bright and colorful but this disc does fall short in one area: the entire final heist (which is supposed to be unfolding under emergency lights) has been brightened far too much by the telecine operator and is more correctly rendered on the American version. The digital compression is also not quite as good as the Dimension disc, with some instability occasionally present.


Copyright © John Charles 2000. All Rights Reserved.

Hong Kong Digital is presented in association with Hong Kong Entertainment News In Review