Note: This review contains spoilers, so it's probably best to read this after you've seen the movie.
I stumbled upon Gen-X Cops (1999) while I was watching television on satellite. I read the plot summary, and it sounded interesting. But, unfortunately, after I had finished watching the movie, I was left disappointed. This is a weak and overlong action flick, that is filled with clichés, and it's a movie that seems to be set on autopilot. The movie also seems to take its ridiculous plot seriously, as if we cared.
The movie starts out well: The Hong Kong Police are looking for 10 pounds of nuclear bombs, which has been stolen by an Asian street gang led by Akatora (Tôru Nakamura). At the same time a deal is going down, the Hong Kong police station is bombed.
Inspector Chan (Eric Tsang) is a timid cop who is assigned to hire three teenage recruits, Jack (Nicholas Tse), Match (Stephen Fung) and Alien (Sam Lee), to go undercover and find out who has bombed the police station. The trio agree to go undercover under one condition: Chan must go parachuting.
Gen-X cops starts out well and interesting, but then the movie goes on autopilot- -it turns into a mindless action picture. Central villains are killed off for unexplained reasons, and then, another bad guy enters the picture.
The film is also very weak on character development. Jack, Match, and Alien make an odd resemblance to the Ninja Turtles. They fight together, they make jokes together, and it's amazing the H.K. police managed to choose three recruits, who act like a bunch of kids. At the start of the film, we're meant to believe that the heroes hate the police, yet it is never explained why they've bothered to become recruits. But other than focusing on the three heroes, the film focuses on Inspector Chan, who trades insults with the Inspector To (Moses Chan), who believes he can do better than him.
Chan is a likable character, but even likable characters can face unfortunate demises. It would have been best if Chan were still alive and be able to serve as the comic relief. But Gen-X Cops is so mean spirited, that one wonders why such a lovable character would be killed off in the first place.
Another death scene doesn't make any sense. Consider the scene where the villain faces the three young heroes in a final showdown. I was expecting a big death sequence here and there, but wait- -the fight stops, and the villain allows the heroes to make it out of the building if they can, while the villain stays to die in an explosion.
The action sequences are nothing special or exciting, but confusing. It's difficult at times to know who's doing what to whom, or even why. There's even a final action sequence where the trio unconvincingly try to outrun a nuclear explosion.
Gen-X Cops has an interesting premise, but a very weak execution. We're forced to watch clichés, such as the bad guys realizing that the teens are actually "cops" and the inspector being pulled off the case, and going it alone. Jackie Chan, who produced the film, appears by the near end of the film and steals his scene. Gen-X Cops is such a retread that it's a movie where I realized that I should have fallen asleep through it.