BADGE OF FURY (2013)
Directed by Tsz Ming Wong
After a series of mysterious deaths known as the ‘smile murders’, police officers Wang Bu’er and Huang Feihong attempt to discover the motive behind the killings which will ultimately point to the killer. Finding a common theme in the murders, Wang Bu’er uses himself as bait in order to trap the killer but will he get out alive?
BADGE OF FURY is the latest movie starring martial arts actor Jet Li, who’s turn as an experienced, disgruntled but effective police officer Huang Feihong plays well off his younger, immature colleague Wang Bu’er, who’s played by another talented martial artist, Zhang Wen. After messing up a drugs bust, complete with Wang Bu’er wearing a skirt instead of a kilt at a Scottish themed party, Wang Bu’er, Huang Feihong and their supervising officer Angela, are put onto the case of the ‘smile murders’ and their prime suspect is the movie star ex-girlfriend of all the victims. The officers try to uncover why and how the victims were murdered as well as who’s to blame but things seem to get in their way, including their suspect’s busty sister who makes a habbit of walking around with her cleavage hanging out. Yes, don’t expect a sensible or a straight forward movie, as this film is all sorts of silly that it can begin to grate fairly quickly. Even without these elements, the film is a hard one to follow at times due to the speed of the subtitles on-screen. Sometimes they’d change that fast, I had only had enough time to read the first two words of dialogue. Either way, crime action drama this ain’t. Merge it with a slapstick comedy sketch, and you have Badge of Fury.
The story, for what it’s worth, does have a key plot thread in the ‘smile murders’. Whilst all the victims died in quite humourous ways, the reason and person behind the deaths and the way in which they were killed keeps the viewer watching throughout all the madness that ensues. The police officers’ investigation even finds them fighting against others, which is what the viewer ultimately wants to see in this movie, aside from a solution to murder the investigation. Jet Li and Zhang Wen do not disappoint, though they seem overshadowed by the poor script and painfully unfunny comedy moments.
Badge of Fury could have been a decent film if the filmmakers had made up their mind in what genre to film it as. If they wanted to do it as straight but with a comedic tone, then Jackie Chan films are a prime example of how to do it successfully. Instead, with Badge of Fury, we get crazy faces and sounds and noises that sound as though they’ve been lifted straight from a Looney Tunes cartoon. Beeps, boings and awful CGI people flying like a paper bag around the room make for awkward viewing and the only reason I’m smiling is cos I can’t believe how terrible it is. This is so disappointing as the film has some really decent martial arts choreography, but is let down by these noises and the over exaggerated floaty wire-assisted movement. I was itching for realism but unfortunately, the filmmakers take liberties and delve more into fantasy than fact.