Reviewed by: mrblue
After being absent from Hong Kong movies for over three years -- an eternity in the HK film world -- the "Queen of the Box Office" Sammi Cheng makes her comeback with Lady Cop & Papa Crook, a drama/comedy hybrid that holds some promise, but ultimately falls short because it concentrates too much on the comedy portion of the equation.
Reviewer Score: 6
In the film, Sammi plays Maureen Szeto, a cop trying to deal with the fact that she's pregnant by her slacker boyfriend when she is brought in to deal with the kidnapping of John Fok's (Eason Chan) son. John is a high-level Triad involved in gasoline smuggling from the Mainland, and so the case also attracts attention from Chinese cops. Stuck together in John's mansion, the cops and Triads must learn to trust and work with each other in order to save John's son.
The plot presented here is fairly standard stuff, and the film feels like it might have worked better if the beginning half didn't depend so much on dopey comedy, specifically via Sammi Cheng's performance. She goes so over the top that winces will be induced as she raises her voice to caterwaul yet another lame punchline. Perhaps this English-speaking reviewer was missing out on the nuances presented here, but for the most part, the so-called comedy doled out during the running time is the sort of stuff that gives the genre a bad name with westerners.
Another blow to the proceedings is the fact that the film had to be heavily censored for the Mainland market, which seems to be an unfortunate necessity for modern Hong Kong film-makers. Even though they do not have a formal ratings system, the Chinese government's mandates about the content of films screened in their country undoubtedly have a factor on the Hong Kong productions that now very often have Mainland investors participating. Namely here, the Mainland impetus that gangsters cannot be shown in a good light causes Eason Chan's character to become terribly one-dimensional, and the film as a whole suffers as a result.
Despite these flaws, Lady Cop & Papa Crook ends up being a fairly decent bit of fluff that does provide some entertainment, especially for Sammi Cheng fans who have been patiently awaiting her return to the jade screen. Like many recent Hong Kong productions, it does feel like there was a good deal of wasted potential here, but overall, relatively speaking, this picture isn't half-bad. And, as sad as it might seem to say, perhaps that is all we fans of Hong Kong cinema can expect from new productions.