|I don't know. If I
was trying to fight crime with only one partner, I think I'd be more
modest in my aspirations. Maybe I'd take on the Tyrolean mob and the
ever-dangerous Lichtenstein mob, if for no other reason than I figure
I can kick the ass of any guy wearing lederhosen and a feather in his
tiny cap. I mean, if you take away their Alpenhorns, how can they even
communicate to their fellow mobsters? They gonna tie a message to a
goat and send him out to the next valley for reinforcements, like
Lassie? "Run, boy! Run, oh my boy!"
Anyway, despite the fact that China
and Russia are very large countries, these two guys are undaunted, and
they raise some hell in New York, and blow some stuff up good.
An NYPD captain of detectives then
remembers when the supercop was on his team, and was always in
trouble, so the detective tells them to stay out of his turf or he'll
have them doing K.P. at Attica, and other such stuff from the Big Book
of Cop Movie Cliches. Luckily, the cop's former partner is still
there, and helps our beleaguered heroes. Together with the
wheelchair-bound ex-partner and a really tough female cabbie, they
manage to defeat both Russia and China and rescue the kidnapped girl.
You'd think that would have been a
good enough day's work to save the day, but there are additional plot
twists to deal with.
If you read down to here, you realize
that there is nothing innovative about this movie. It contains all the
usual cop movie cliches, and the martial arts scenes are below
average, but - you know what - it isn't a bad movie. Here are some
- The four main characters who end
up as a team have well-defined personalities, and the banter
between them is amusing.
- Hey, good characterization and
some good laughs, that's better than you get in most
straight-to-vid cop movies, but this one also has a good plot
twist at the end that took me by surprise.
- It also has some moments that are
supposed to be chilling which, because of good cutting and use of
music, are actually chilling.
- And there is a prologue that I
found to be very entertaining, which shows the ex-supercop (the
"tracker" of the title) bringing a fugitive bride to
justice during her wedding reception.
- The guy who directed this had
never directed anything before, and he doesn't do anything very
fancy with the camera, but I was impressed by the fact that it is
crisply edited and the scene transitions are smooth.
- The set decoration is
extraordinary in some ways.
- Russell Wong has become a better
actor than pretty much any other martial arts dude, even if his
fighting isn't at the top level.
Sure it ain't Lethal Weapon, but it
ain't so bad, either.
found myself entertained by a martial arts cops film starring
Casper Van Dien! Reasons include a reasonably coherent and
involved plot, decent dialogue, some characterization,
interesting supporting characters and decent photography, not to
mention Lexa Doig's breasts. Even more amazingly, when I read
Scoopy's review, he also found it surprisingly watchable!
Van Dien is a private investigator in LA working for insurance
companies, former NYPD, former best friend of Russell Wong, and
former main squeeze of Long's sister, Lexa Doig. Seems Wong and
Van Dien studied martial arts together under his father, which
supposedly forms a sacred bond. The two parted when Doig left
Van Dien, and Van Dien blamed Wong. Van Dien left the NYPD when
he blamed himself for his partner being shot.
When Doig's husband is killed and she is kidnapped, Wong
recruits a reluctant Van Dien to go back to New York and help
him find his sister. They meet up with a feisty woman cabby at
the airport, then acquire Van Dien's wheelchair-bound
ex-partner, and the four Musketeers are off to the crusades
against the Chinese and Russian mobs and the NYPD. There are
several plot curves and twists along the way, but there are
clues from the beginning which could have been used to predict
While this is not a memorable film, or one I would go out of my
way to suggest, it is solid entertainment. C.
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this
description, this film is a C (both reviewers). Surprisingly watchable for a
straight-to-vid with Van Dien. Although it is a better movie
than most straight-to-vid efforts, it doesn't have much
nudity. It tries too hard, in fact, to be a worthwhile movie,
and doesn't try hard enough to please the straight-to-vid