The Red Wolf (Review)

The Red Wolf

aka Hu meng wei long

Christy Chung (!!) as Lai
Kenny Ho as Alan
Elaine Lui as Elaine
Directed by Yuen Woo Ping !!

Die Hard on a boat done Hong Kong style. Done better with Under Siege, but at least this film has Yuen Woo Ping directing, one of the best action choreographers to ever live. So the fight scenes are well-choreographed crap. And it’s got some nice eye candy with Christy Chung playing a waitress/pickpocket. That more than makes up for the rest of this mess. Yes, it’s a mess. If you’re gonna go Die Hard on a boat, you gotta have the Segal. The plot is pretty straightforward, terrorists, hijackings, we’ve all seen it a thousand times before.

Dragon is a cop, and his brother is the chief of security on an ocean liner. The brother is also on a belated honeymoon with his wife. Very belated, as they have a ten year old daughter named Sisi! Dragon is along for the ride, either filling in or slumming as a security guard at nights or something. It’s not very clear. Also, Mr. and Mrs. Wu are celebrating their silver wedding anniversary. Exciting stuff. Posed as a waitress, Christy Chung steals a ring from them, but later gives it back when Mr. Wu almost has a heart attack. Dragon is suspicions of Chung, but soon pickpockets will be the least of his troubles. Meanwhile, Dragon flashes back to the time he accidentally got his girlfriend shot dead during a fight with a bad guy. This is forshadowing, as this will repeat itself with dozens of innocent people for the rest of this movie! Everyone at the party dances to some bad live music, while the white Captain of the boat lusts after the singer. The singer turns out to be a terrorist and steals a key card from the Captain, then beats him savagely. Take that, lusty white Captain! Terrorists take over the boat, and use the Captain’s key card to gain access to some uranium he stole previously, as he’s also a thief. Uranium, lots of money, it’s pretty much the same thing: a heist. The Captain is then killed, but Dragon sees it go down and starts killing terrorists. Within seconds the Die Hard firehose scene is copied, except with a rope and no explosion. Way to scale it down! Dragon kills some more guys but Christy Chung sees him killing people and turns him into what she thinks is the boat’s crew, but they are really more terrorists as they’ve turned. They’ve also offed Dragon’s brother, either now or in a bit, I wasn’t paying attention.

She overhears them discussing their plans and realizes the truth, and busts Dragon out of captivity. These terrorists forgot rule number one: Kill the Hero. Instead, they let him stay alive while captive and now they are doomed. The film fails to give the terrorists interesting personalities like the Eurotrash in Die Hard, so you don’t have interesting villains, which makes the film less interesting as a whole. Always get good villains. Even if your hero is a dude, a good villain makes or breaks your movie, and The Red Wolf is broken.

Dragon goes to use the radio to call for help, but Chung is suddenly in love with him and all worried. This is the second most inexplicable attraction to a hero in movie history behind Padme’s affection for Anikan after he kills women and children. Dragon manages to get several innocent people killed before he kills some more terrorists. Bruce Willis he is not. The action then moves to the dance hall which is full of innocent people who have been mowed down by machine gun fire. Finally Dragon decides that the radio is too much trouble to get to thanks to the dozens of innocent deaths, and runs away. He can’t even do that right as some machine gun toting Thug is following him. But the Thug is dispatched and Dragon manages to accomplish something. Too bad everyone is probably dead by now.

Oddly enough, there are still innocent people who haven’t been killed left on the ocean liner, and they become hostages while the uranium is now located behind a series of locks. Much like the money in Nakatomi Towers in Die Hard. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence. Dragon uses some Dumbbell Fu on some baddies but gets locked in a freezer by the Mr. T thug and has to burn his clothes to stay warm. Back at the hostages Mr. Wu has a for real heart attack, and the Singer Terrorist kills him. Sisi throws her stuffed animal at the Singer terrorist, who tells Sisi that her dad is dead. That’s also how the wife finds out. Another goon tries to shoot Sisi but her mom takes the bullets, and other people end up getting shot, including Mrs. Wu. Other Hostages escape and the terrorists shoot most of them except Chung and the Sisi. Dragon does a good job of letting them die by being ineffective. No wonder this is called The Red Wolf, the ship is red from all the blood of the slain hostages.

Dragon finally gets his lazy butt out of the freezer thanks to either a frozen sheep or a frozen cat. Use your imagination. A thug who thinks he’s Asian Mr. T goes looking for Dragon but is defeated thanks to a soapy floor. I pity the fool who don’t have better foot traction! Somehow there are still hostages not dead (where did they come from?), and Christy Chung fights the Singer Terrorist to protect the Little Girl, doing so in the comedy fighting style of Jackie Chan, despite Singer Terrorist fighting for keeps. Singer Terrorist is soon burnt to a crisp. Oddly placed Stooge Fu does not a good movie make, especially in the middle of a serious scene. Dragon then shows up, useless as always. But because he is a man and Chung is a woman, she falls apart and panics while he is all “We gotta do what we gotta do” while ignoring the fact he has done NOTHING useful in this movie at all. Christy Chung has done more to stymie the terrorists’ plans than you, Dragon! As they don’t know what to do next, they decide to just steal the “talking to the bad guy via walkie-talkies” scene in case you forgot they were ripping of Die Hard. It would have worked had the villain not been boring and the hero useless (and if it was Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman instead, but I am sure this is only a coincidence again.) Some more generic things happen including gun battles and some other gun battles.

FINAL BATTLE TIME! This final battle involves the Little Girl being dangled over fire while the Villain plays the drums. Hey, good drum solo, but Nick Cannon would kick your butt back to Terror Town! Dragon is an ineffective joke of a hero who hides behind supermodels, Christy Chung must try to save the girl from dangling, while we also discover Sisi has a bomb strapped to her that has the trigger on the bottom of her foot. Therefore, if she is let down, she blows up. Dragon does some fighting, this fight lasts a long while and is pretty well choreographed, which is what we expect from Master Yuen. It can’t last forever, and soon the villain is hiding behind Sisi, until Dragon throws a knife at him and leaps forward to catch the girl in the same stroke, thus saving the day and killing the villain. Well, saving the day as in Sisi and Christy Chung aren’t dead. The rest of you? Well, buy stock in coffin companies, I say. When Dragon is on the case, their production hits overtime.

You suck, Dragon. Worst. Hero. EVER. What are you doing? Seriously, if you see Dragon coming, run away! Run far away! This man will get you killed! RUN!!!! Dragon is so frustratingly terrible. What were they thinking? I will never understand some of the turns this movie took. I can imagine they were writing the script as they went along, working around the various stunt shots Yuen Woo Ping planned, but it still jumps around, logic is leaped like Superman over tall buildings, and lots and lots of people die thanks to the actions of the hero, who we are supposed to be sympathetic to. In real life, the second Dragon stepped off that boat he would have been charged with multiple counts of murder, and given the chair. Besides some redeeming action sequences and Christy Chung, there is nothing much for this film to offer us except a lesson in never taking imitations when we should just rent the real thing, Die Hard.

Rated 4/10 (Scream, Bunny, Girl Bomb, RIP OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

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