Future Cops (Review)
aka Chao ji xue xiao ba wang
Directed by Wong Jing
They’re cops from the future, FUTURE COPS! Actually, these future cops look a lot like characters from Street Fighter 2, because they are! This is a film loosely based on the manga adaptation of Street Fighter, and great liberties were taken with some of the characters and the story. Granted, this is a Wong Jing film (writer of Naked Weapon, director of My Kung Fu Sweetheart) so it will be pretty silly regardless. Street Fighter characters would return again in Wong Jing’s City Hunter, based on a different manga and starring Jackie Chan, who becomes Chun Li at one point there. For this encounter, I went to help from others to organize just who is who in the movie, as I was not a big player of Street Fighter games. Mortal Kombat, yes. So besides a vague knowledge that some creepy guys are obsessed with Chun Li and her high kicks in skirts, I knew little to nothing about the characters before beginning. Thanks to my girlfriend and Wikipedia, I was able to piece together most of the characters. Wong Jing took many liberties, including changing most of the names, flipping people from hero to villain and vice versa, and throwing in a few random things just because he’s Wong Jing. There is also a parade of famous Hong Kong celebrities, too many to list in this paragraph, we will deal with them in the lengthy Roll Call section. This would be like taking the Oceans 11 casts and putting them in a Super Smash Brothers movie. Future Cops is full of wild action, crazy stunts, and zany antics. And it is a whole lot of fun! So sit right back and prepare, this video game don’t need extra quarters or furious button smashing, it is on autopilot!
The Future Cops:
The villains (Future Rascals):
The People of 1993:
It is 2043. Steve Chow is still making movies, as a poster on the wall shows us (Fight Back to School 90.) The evil General has been captured; he is the leader of a terrorist group. Respected Judge Yu Ti Hung will be presiding over the case. Meanwhile, a jeep is fleeing from some uniformed men on flying scooters that fire laser beams. Lots of laser beams that hit everything in the area except the jeep, causing lots of explosions. The jeep stops and the driver emerges, he is Future Rascal Thai King. Thai King uses his machine gun (which fires bullets instead of the lasers the others are using) and shoots down many of his pursuers. The flying scooters must be made out of compressed napalm and detonator caps, as they all explode in huge fireballs. Thai King continues driving, and rams some more scooters, which also explode in massive fireballs. The jeep is finally flipped, and Thai King flees, as the jeep also is involved in a ginormous explosion. Thai King hides in a shack where fellow Future Rascals Kent and Toyoda are waiting. Thai King tells them that Yu Ti Hung will be the judge, so Kent schemes to go back in time to 1993 when the judge will be 20 years old, and hypnotize him to let General go. You know, this plan is pretty crazy. Why not just bust General out of jail?
LOOK OUT, THE FUTURE COPS ARE COMING!!! The Future Cops arrive on their own flying scooters, which don’t explode when the breeze kicks up. We have Lung, Broom Man, Ah Song, and Ti Man all arriving. Lung and Kent both whirlwind kick each other and go flying in random directions. Kent blasts Lung with some special moves, but is then blasted himself by Broom Man. Kent and Broom Man have a big kickoff where Kent is kicked into a pile of debris. The flying around and ridiculous moves does wonders to capture the feel of the video game. All we need is to be forced to put in quarters periodically. Ah Song stretches his arm many feet and punches Toyoda in the face from far away. Ah Song follows it up with long leg kicking and flame breath. Thai King warns Kent that the time machine is about to be activated, but is then attacked by Ti Man. In the future, time machines will be found in random shacks in the city. The villains all run to the shack and set the machine, which causes the shack to explode in the biggest explosion so far. Does everything in the future explode? I blame iPods. “See you, Future Cops!” the villains sneer despite already having traveled back in time. Laws of physics need not apply in Future Cops.
Wait, they are in the future, why are they Future Cops? They’re just cops then, they don’t become Future Cops until they go to the past!
Speaking of going into the past, that is the plan for the Future Cops. The Captain Future Cop will send Ah Song, Ti Man, and Broom Man back to 1993, but not Lung, because Lung is Captain Future Cop’s wife’s brother, so he gets to stay home. Also, everyone in 2043 has chips in their brains that will shock them if they tell lies, but they need to be careful because everyone in 1993 lies all the time. The Future Cops say they will never lie, and all get shocked in the cheap joke we all knew was coming but laugh at anyway. Also, they predict all the Future Cops will probably die, so they take a photo before they go.
Meanwhile in 1993… Location: St. Yuk Keung Secondary School. Tai Hung is a student at the school, who is an expert at finding big fish balls and is in love with a girl named Choi Ney, but they are currently just friends. Tai Hung finds some money on the ground, but it is just a trick to position him for water balloons dropped on his head, and the money is counterfeit to boot! Is dropping things on student’s heads the tradition for pranks in Asia? Because this has happened in several films I’ve seen from both China and Japan. In America, we’d just shoot them. The bullies are lead by Kei-on, the bully with the biggest hair in the universe. He’s also rich, and brings his Filipino maid to school so she can clean up after him. Kei-On and his gang rule the school, and pick on Tai Hung for sport. In class, Tai Hung sits just in front of Kei-On, who punches Tai Hung in the back of the head. Kei-On then tries it again, but Tai Hung pulls out a club with spikes on it, which hurts Kei-On’s hand. Kei-On strikes again, but this time with a book that causes the spiked club to be pushed into the back of Tai Hung’s head. Tai Hung challenges Kei-On to a duel, swings his club but accidentally hits the school’s Headmaster. Tai Hung is punished by being forced to wear a sign and scrub the sidewalk areas. Tai Hung yells at students who pass by staring at him, telling them he’d rape them. What a charming guy! Our hero, ladies and gentlemen.
Tai Hung is visited by pretty girl Siu Wah, nicknamed Crab Angel. That’s one of those translations that don’t quite work. He’s in love with her at first sight, and she has pity on him, telling him to meet her in the biology room after school. In the biology room, she’s hot (as in sweaty-hot, not beautiful-hot, but she is beautiful-hot, thus Tai Hung is all googly-eyed), and she tells him she didn’t understand the last class, where they went over the structure of man. Have you picked up the sexual subtext yet? She needs to see his structure to get a good idea how it works, and he starts undressing. But it’s all a trick, as Kei-On and his gang comes barging in with a video camera! Kei-On tells Tai Hung that Crab Angel is his girl, and that Tai Hung shouldn’t come to school anymore. In America, the film would be on YouTube within the hour.
Tai Hung heads home, where we find out his sister is Chun Li. Yes, that Chun Li, but she’s not that Chun Li just yet. Currently she’s just a model and has many boys chasing after her. So many she punishes them for doing anything even slightly wrong. One guy is currently waiting outside by the garage as punishment as Tai Hung walks by. Inside, Tai Hung’s Mom has what looks like a vibrator but might be a massager and says it is for fending off wolves (I’m guessing she means boyfriends) and is waving it in front of her daughter. This is confusing, and possibly very disturbing. Chun Li is ignoring her mother, and is sassing another guy on the phone. Mom tells Tai Hung to take deep breaths and be happy (as some campy pop tune plays) because he had a rough day. Tai Hung and his sister get started fighting, as most siblings do, only they a really beating the tar out of each other as Mom wanders off to do other things. Tai Hung ends up getting stuffed in a garbage can as Mom answers the door. It is not a land shark, but there is a plumber there, to fix the leaky faucet. The leaky faucet that is not operating 100% correct, except for when this Plumber looks at it. Mom gets sprayed with water, but the Plumber thinks she’s trying to seduce him and spurs her advances in advance.
Outside, Tai Hung prepares to kill himself by jumping off his house, and is starting to fall when he sees Choy Nei coming, so he grabs on with his toes. A cartoon bee flies by and insults him (I don’t think this movie is entirely in the realm of reality…) and Tai Hung falls to a big crash. Inside, Mom is torturing the Plumber with the vibrator thing (I guess he was right!) and Choy Nei talks to Tai Hung for a bit. After she leaves, Chun Li warns Tai Hung to not touch her turtle in the toilet, which isn’t as gross as it sounds in first glance.
Tai Hung goes back outside to rant to God for a while, and throws a beer can into the sky. A giant beer can falls back down. Okay, I got nothing. Some Hong Kong commercial? I guess a reference that I’ll never get. Right afterwards, the Future Cops arrive in a fury of cartoon lightning. They instantly introduce themselves to Tai Hung as Future Cops, I guess there are no rules about being undercover. The Future Cops see that Tai Hung goes to the same school that Judge Yu Ti Hung goes to now. The Future Cops explain that they don’t know which horse will win horseraces or any other stupid trivia like that, also telling Tai Hung that history cannot be changed (which is why Kent has to hypnotize the judge instead of killing him.) The Future Cops say they will help Tai Hung at school if he helps them find Judge Yu Ti Hung, and he agrees. Mom the returns home from her date with Uncle Richard Yu (Richard Ng!!) who has also returned to her home. She sends Tai Hung to bed so they can be alone, and becomes driven crazy when Richard speaks in English. Unfortunately for the mood, Mom sees the Future Cops wandering around the house, and becomes scared, despite Richard not seeing anyone. Why the Future Cops are wandering around the house just now is not explained, either. Mom keeps seeing them, becoming frantic and Richard becomes creeped out by her behavior, and leaves to escape her. Future Cops are the ultimate mood spoilers. The Future Cops tell Tai Hung they have to leave in the same spot on Tai Hung’s roof in 14 days, so we know why they will be hanging out there.
Tai Hung brings Ah Song with him to school the next day as his “maid” to annoy Kei-On. What I want to know is why the maids get allowed into the school. Kei-On challenges him to a fight in the bathroom (Tai Hung is peeing three streams of urine at the time–don’t ask!) Ah Song beats up Kei-On and his gang in the bathroom, and the Headmaster doesn’t believe their stories about Tai Hung’s monster servant. Kei-On tries bashing Ah Song with a spiked club, but Ah Song pushes the Headmaster in the way, causing him to get hit and Kei-On to be punished by wearing a sign and scrubbing the pavement. It is like rain, on your wedding day, except ironic. Tai Hung furthers his revenge by dumping water balloons on Kei-On. At least I hope they were water balloons. Or maybe not, as Kei-On is a jerk. Back at home, Ti Man and Broom Man are hungry. They can’t leave Tai Hung’s room until Chun Li also leaves the house. Finally, Chun Li slams the door while looking for a wayward pet turtle, and the two head to the kitchen, thinking she’s gone. They eat the refrigerator (but leave the food.) Chun Li comes back inside, so Ti Man pretends to be a new servant of Tai Hung’s, and Broom Man pretends to be the broom that Ti Man is sweeping the kitchen with. Chun Li is upset that Tai Hung is exploiting the poor student Ti Man for small pay, and offers him more money to be her servant instead. She doesn’t offer the broom any money.
The next day at school, it is time for the next infiltration. Broom Man wins rock-paper-scissors and becomes the new undercover teacher, while Ti-Man is the new undercover student. Broom Man easily gets an interview for a teacher, because Tai Hung identifies him as his cousin. How are China’s schools ahead of the US? Broom Man proves his prowess at teaching by building a working nuclear bomb from scratch, which qualifies him for teaching music. I’d hate to see what the math teachers have to do. Meanwhile, Ti-Man is said to be 17, but is “so poor he has a sickness which makes him get old quickly.” Kei-On’s goons try to put a snake in Ti-Man’s bag, but Ti-Man just eats the snake’s liver (and it looks like they cut open a real snake!) and makes the snake into his belt. Ti-Man’s starting to freak me out a little. Ti-Man also has the power to dodge projectiles thrown by the teacher at him while he is dozing, and can scare water balloons to fly back up and strike their throwers. This draws the ire of Old Bag, a student older than Ti-Man and Tai Hung, and who is a bigger bully than Kei On. Ti-Man easily beats him up, and then forces him and his gang to search for Yu Ti Hung.
Elsewhere, Broom Man is ready to teach music. He teaches by music video, and Siu Wah falls for him. The video is Jacky Cheung’s There’ll Be a Day When I Have You (Jung Yau Yut Teen Dang Doe Nay), and features parodies of The Lover, something where the girl wears a traditional red Chinese dress, Ghost, and some movie where a couple has a lot of kids. This last parody gives us a nice shot of poopy diapers from one of the babies, always a winning choice. I only identified half of them, I am a failure. The rest of the class falls asleep during the song, but Siu Wah is far too much in love to sleep. She loves poopy diapers. Back at home, Chun Li returns, sees some soup being cooked, believes it to be for her brother, and puts lots of hot sauce in it. Ti-Man sees her, but can’t lie when Chun Li presses him, because he gets the electric shocks. Ignore that he could lie and say he was a student while undercover, please, because the film does as well. Instead, just know that this is probably what the Southpark Movie ripped off. Tai Hung returns home, sees the soup cooking, assumes it’s for Chun Li, and adds a bunch of spices. Chun Li threatens Ti-Man with exposure as a Future Cop unless she gets lots of gifts. Ti-Man figures he should kill her, but Tai Hung tells him to court her instead, as then she’ll be under his control. Tai Hung has obviously not dated before. Downstairs, Tai Hung’s Mom tastes the soup and her lips become huge and red! Isn’t it great that we are in a Looney Toon? Next Bugs Bunny will be munching carrots and dropping anvils. Ain’t he a stinker?
Ti-Man takes Chun Li to the amusement park and she starts complaining. They wander by some video games, and Ti-Man says that in the future, they enter games to play. She doesn’t believe him so he shows her, and suddenly they are transported inside one of the video games. They’ve become…Super Mario Brothers! Not officially, as that would cost money. Chun Li realizes she has a mustache, and quickly checks to see if she’s retained her breasts, sighing in relief. Those fabulous breasts… The two shed their mustaches, and then leap over a turtle. Ti-Man says that in the future, no one dates, as it is illegal to have sex because of AIDS. Might I add that the future sucks, no wonder so many people are evil! The Future Rascals seem to be freedom fighters if this is the case. They make babies by going to the lab. All this, suspiciously like Demolition Man, which came out the same year. But that had three seashells, something Future Cops is lacking. Something fun to note is the random other guy dressed as Mario running around in the background. This is the often ignored third Mario Brother, Linguini! Ti-Man still has no clue how to court women, so he asks Chun Li how her boyfriends court her. She mentions flowers, so Ti-Man gets a Fire Flower from a nearby “star”-block. Chun Li smells the flower and grows gigantic. See if you can spot the dolls they used in this scene. She kicks a turtle aside as Ti-Man smells the flower so he can grow big as well. Ti-Man then gives her a happy pill, which is what people do instead of sex. Basically, it is like ecstasy, and she begins to go loopy. In the future, we won the war on sex but lost the war on drugs, it seems. They are bit by a turtle and shrink to normal size, while Chun Li is still going loopy, and a crowd has noticed the hot girl flipping around in the video machine, and has gathered, getting oddly excited. Video game nerds. Time runs out, so the pair are ejected from the game, and Chun Li notices the crowd and gets upset at Ti-Man, smacking him and storming off.
At home, Chun Li hides in her room, then stabs Ti-Man in the back after he breaks down her door (after giving him prior warning.) Because he’s a Future cop, he isn’t in pain, and the whole next sequence continues with the knife sticking out of his back. They get serious, and Ti-Man then demonstrates how they have sex without having sex in the future (off-screen.) Chun Li also demonstrates how we have sex with having sex (also off-screen.)
Back at school, it’s track and field day, and the bullies plot to take down Tai Hung. Choi Ney gives Tai Hung a good luck sweater, which is oversized, ill-fitting, and terribly stitched in random colors. She made it herself, so he is happy to take it. It’s race time, and our two announcers pick their favorites. One says that if Tai Hung wins the 100m dash, he will eat the microphone. Bully Kei On’s toady who is competing puts glue on the starting marks for Tai Hung, leaving him immobile as the race starts. Ah Sang comes to the rescue by shooting flames out of his mouth at Tai Hung’s butt, which causes him to run fast enough to not only break free, but win the race in a come from behind victory. Flaming bottoms, more powerful than our strongest steroids!
After eating the microphone, the announcer then says he’ll eat the table if Tai Hung beats the bully at the high jump. Ah Sang then gives Tai Hung computer chips that have the powers of each of the three Future Cops, but they will only last for five minutes. Ti-Man’s chip gives Tai Hung’s hair a long ponytail queue, and allows him to fly up in the air, winning the event. The poor announcer then makes the unsettling discovery that the table is made of solid marble, and gets to work eating it. The next event is the shot put, and the sick announcer threatens a drug test on Tai Hung if he wins that event. Tai Hung takes Ah Sang’s chip, and after developing a red stripe and nose ring, he stretches his arm out with the shot to drop it off one meter beyond the furthest one. Siu Wah tries to get Tai Hung to notice her now that he’s a winner, but he walks on by and heads for Choi Ney. This is totally a rip-off of the ending of Teen Wolf!
Back at the arcade, Kei On is approached by the villains, who refer to themselves as Future Rascals. Kei On decides he will help them, because it will stop the Future Cops who have been humiliating him. The next day at school, Thai King and Toyoda threaten to steal Siu Wah, but are stopped by the school’s newest teacher: Kent! I guess this school is constantly hiring new teachers and starting new classes in the middle of the semester or something. Perhaps they have a lot of turnover, not surprising since the student body is full of bullies, thugs, and morons. Kent is also the new teacher of undercover Ti-Man, and hits him with syringes full of a drug (rejuvenate needles) that will drain his energy, and turn him into a mental 8 year old, then a mental baby. After class, Ti-Man has already regressed to being like a little kid, and he and Tai Hung get beaten up by bullies. Broom Man saves them, but Kent has already left, taking Siu Wah on a date. The date is to the parking lot of a convenience store (8-12 is the store name, I bet you can’t guess what it’s named after!) The 8-12 is “the most popular location for lovers,” says Siu Wah, which speaks volumes about Hong Kong youth. Want a slurpee? Broom Man arrives as Kent takes her inside; hurting her and demanding knowledge of Yu Ti Hung from Broom Man.
Broom Man and Kent fight in the 8-12, using their special moves. Kent shooting fireballs (Swaying Fist) and Broom Man retaliating with his own energy blasts (Crescent Knife) back and forth. Merchandise explodes and the building is ruined. The two fly above the store and out into the parking lot, Kent throws a car at Broom Man, knocking him back inside the ruined convenience store, which then promptly explodes. Siu Wah runs inside the ruins, finding Broom Man trapped inside burnt out car wreckage. She kisses him, and his power meter reaches 100% again. Broom Man breaks free and goes to fight. Four cars are squashed between them, but Broom Man gets the upper hand on Kent. Kent refuses to surrender the antidote to save Ti-Man, and Broom Man then begs him to. Kent kicks Broom Man into a car and escapes. Back at the carnival/arcade, Chun Li takes care of the degenerating Ti-Man, and Broom Man arrives to admit he failed. But Kent is there, and attacks Ti-Man with more syringes, except they are the antidote. Kent tells Broom Man he owed him a favor, and now they are even. Kent then leaves.
In the future of 2043: Two guys on hoverboards laser blast their way into General’s electric prison cell, and blast the four guards inside. General is set free, and he turns into Flaming Bison and kills some approaching reserve guards. The guards didn’t notice all the noise of General escaping. General will also go back in time to help hypnotized the judge, which makes even less sense now as he is free and shouldn’t have to go to court!
Back in the present of 1993, Choi Ney is upset at Tai Hung for cheating at track and field, telling him “I don’t want to make friends with a Jack of Straw!” Yeah, you Jack of Straw! What is a Jack of Straw? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? After that, it’s time for Tai Hung’s birthday party. Chun Li even lets in Kei On (why??) and Tai Hung’s Mom and Uncle Richard also arrive. They have an announcement, they’ve just gotten engaged. Tai Hung will then change his family name to Yu, and tradition says his middle name will be Ti. Yu Ti Hung. That name sounds familiar somehow….WHAAA???? Just kidding on the suspense, this was forecasted from frame one. Tai Hung becomes super nervous after hearing that news. Kei On runs off to Kent to go tattle, but as General is now back in time as well, and Kei On tells him instead. General never moves his mouth when he talks, but his voice comes out in booming speaker mode. Maybe he thinks loudly. The gang will take over the school, and kidnap Choi Ney because Tai Hung likes her. The next day at school, the principal notices everyone acting odd, as General has taken over. General puts a chip in the principal’s brain, turning him evil. Choi Ney is captured, and all the students are thrown in the gym, even Kei On, who General dismisses with “It is the result of being a dog! Flush him away from the toilet.” So you can see why General is such a charismatic leader.
The Future Cops are hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned, but they have some spare Future Cop Chips, and will give them to their friends for backup help. Chun Li becomes….Chun Li! Tai Hung also gets a ball ship shoved up his nose (a rip-off from Total Recall!!) The Future Cops have two chips left, and who comes home but Tai Hung’s Mom and Uncle Richard… Oddly, Tai Hung is having none of this, and is packing to run away. However, he sees Choi Ney’s sweater, and realizes he must fight. The Future Cops Chips can only activate if the subject is brave. Winners never quit, don’t use drugs. (Unless they are future sex drugs!)
Back at the school, General beats up Kent for suggesting they let the innocents go, then sends the two faceless goons on flying laser sleds to blast up the police outside. Tai Hung interrupts on his own flying sleds, blowing the two goons up, and then Tai Hung crashes through the wall of the school. On the school grounds, Thai King is confronted by Chun Li. Chun Li attacks, and Thai King is slightly outmatching her when Chun Li II joins in. It’s Tai Hung’s Mom, who announces her name as Chun Tai. The two team up with their whirlwind kicks and defeat Thai King. The three main Future Cops are fighting General, who smacks them all down, but a ball of green fury flies in. It’s not the Incredible Hulk, or the Madball Slobulus, but instead is Green Wolf, aka Uncle Richard, in full Blanka mode. Uncle Richard is kicked around like a soccer ball until he slams into General, and electrifies him, injuring the General. General then uses Kent as a shield, and Uncle Richard is kicked away.
Toyoda finds Tai Hung, who has transformed into his Future Cop self. Toyoda calls him Ng Hung, but Tai Hung says he is Ng Kwan Yu! Yeah. Okay. That joke is so over my head it slammed into the moon and killed three astronauts! Anyway, he beats Toyoda in one shot. Then all the heroes team up against General, who still is laughing and throwing them all around. Kent reveals that General is a robot and helps the Future Cops. A robot? What? I guess that explains the speaker voice. So robots can go on trial in 2043? Ah Sang and Chun Li hold General while Ti-Man drills through him with his claw, then Broom Man builds an atomic bomb and puts it into the hole. A very small atomic bomb, I guess, as a very small explosion happens, but it is big enough to kill General. This is the only film I’ve seen where a character is killed in a kung fu battle by a nuclear explosion. The day is saved.
Later, the group is preparing to leave, and the couples must say goodbye. But…Lung transports from the future. There is new news: a Super Sa Ah Man has arrived in Japan of 1993, and they must kill it. Thus, they all agree to go for fun, and pose for the camera while saying “Yeah!” The end.
Well…that certainly was…wild! It was a lot of insanity, and if there wasn’t a long period of goofing off as the Future Cops first get to Earth is would be a perfect non-stop fun film. Still, the parts that are crazy are things that you can’t get anywhere else. They are appreciated, but we shouldn’t have been forced to sit through the other sections to get to them. The manga it is taken from could have been modified more to create more action, but it is not worth complaining about it 14 years later. Instead, this film will have to live with being the best adaptation of Street Fighter to date, which is only a bad mark when you watch the competition.
Rated 8/10 (Judge, explosion, Madball, Steve Chow 2043, Snake Bladder, Doll, Total Recall, Masked Goon)
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