Paper Bullets (and I'm not sure how they got the title) is your generic cop action flick and looks like James Russo got stuck with a script that I'm sure Mel Gibson and Russell Crowe must have taken a pass on. Which why they are the stars they are.
A couple of Chinese drug gangs are at war, but one of them has a real unfair advantage because they've got inside help from the cops. That doesn't sit well with the other gangs so when word gets out that there will be a conference of narcotics detectives at a hotel in San Francisco, an Oriental gentleman gets into the hotel and starts blasting away with an Uzi at every Occidental with a badge.
He kills a few and then is executed by Lieutenant William McNamara, but that's covered up. McNamara then assigns James Russo and partner Jeff Wincott to investigate what's behind all this and then throws a lot of sand in the gears of the investigation. But Russo is an alcoholic stubborn cop.
Russo is one singularly unattractive character. Other than being honest and loving his son, he's really not a guy you can rely on. That's all used against him in the film.
James Russo was so much better in films like China Girl and My Own Private Idaho. But it's not his fault, the story is really an impossible one. However violence junkies will like it.