11 May 2001 | BrianDanaCamp
All-star Hong Kong spoof of POLICE ACADEMY films
The title character of LITTLE COP (1989) is a rotund little man from a family of crooks who is allowed to join the Hong Kong Police Department when they let in `handicaps.' There follows a series of comic vignettes as young Li (Eric Tsang) gets shunted from division to division, e.g. from the anti-prostitute squad, where he falls for a prostitute, to the Severe Cases section where he is assigned to track down the master disguise artist, Multi-Face. The best gag involves Multi-Face's attempt to hijack a plane to Hong Kong, only to find that the plane is already going there. His nerdy seatmate derides him for breaking the law and tells him cops will arrest him when he gets off the plane, so Multi-Face switches faces with the nerd, pulling his own face off and revealing the other guy's face underneath and putting his own face on the nerd who then has to explain to the cops what happened. (This was eight years before John Woo's FACE/OFF!)
There are lots of other gag scenes, but it's strictly hit-and-miss when it comes to laughs, with many gags being too broad and obvious. A lot of stuff seems to have been made up on the spot or culled from ideas for other films (or TV shows) that were just stuck in here. There are lots of HK pop culture references, some of which I get (e.g. a cop thinking of Anita Mui when he's told of `Multi-Face'), and some of which I don't (e.g. all the pop acts appearing at a funeral and a soap opera spoof in a cop's flashback to the arrest of a beautiful leather-clad gun-toting suspect (played by Cheung Man).
Eric Tsang is one of HK's funniest comic actors--to me, he looks and sounds like a Chinese Lou Costello (of the 1940s comedy team, Abbott and Costello). He's made dozens of HK films, although few have made it to the U.S., so it's hard to identify his best work. (He's very good in a supporting role in Sammo Hung's all-star MILLIONAIRES' EXPRESS.) LITTLE COP offers many top HK stars and character actors in cameos, including Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, Jacky Cheung, Richard Ng, Wu Ma, Shing Fui On, Bill Tung, Phillip Chan, Alan Tam and Sandra Ng.