The Enforcer

Jet Li

The Enforcer (給爸爸的信) aka My Father is a Hero
Made in: Hong Kong
Languages: Mandarin, Cantonese
Director: Corey Yuen
Starring: Jet Li, Anita Mui, Tse Miu, Yu Rong Guang, Sau Leung Ko
Year: 1995

Synopsis: Beijing cop Kung Wei (Jet Li) is known to be an expert martial artist and undercover agent, with a reputation for having infiltrated and busted a number of triad groups. His son Ku (Tse Miu) is also a martial arts prodigy, and worships his old man. Kung Wei's wife (Fu Yuk-Ching), however, is not a kung fu expert. Instead, she has a bad respiratory problem and is dying.

Since Kung Wei's work is ultra-secret, he's forbidden from discussing his work with his family and gets away with it by telling them that he's a traveling businessman.

Things get hairy when Kung Wei is assigned to bust a group of triads who are smuggling explosives into Hong Kong. While spending time near his home, police officers nab him right in front of his shocked son.

This is, of course, all staged so that Kung can meet Darkie (Sau Leung Ko), an imprisoned member of the same triad group that's behind the smuggling operation.

Kung breaks Darkie out of prison, and out of gratitude, Darkie introduces him to his triad boss Po (Yu Rong Guang), a sadistic maniac who never takes off his sunglasses. Accepting Kung as part of the gang, they go off to meet a group of Eastern European gangsters from whom they're going to be buying the explosives. But the deal goes bad and a three-way shootout between police and gangsters take place.

Getting caught in the mix is a brilliant Hong Kong police inspector named Fong (Anita Mui), who's also a martial arts expert. Piecing clues together, she discovers who Kung really is and meets up with his son, Ku.

Without giving anything more away, all the characters converge for an entertaining, high-energy slugfest that's as ridiculous as it is fun.

The Good: As with other Jet Li martial arts movies, the action sequences in The Enforcer are really fun to watch and very creatively choreographed. Jet Li and the young Tse Miu have great chemistry, and have appeared as onscreen father and son in other Hong Kong action films.

The plot of The Enforcer is a little more in-depth in terms of character development, and has more emotional impact than many comparable martial arts movies. And while taking time for the slow moments, the movie never forgets that, ultimately, it's the ridiculous fight scenes that audiences want to see.

The Bad: Some of the stuntwork is just too ridiculous to the point where it's almost cartoonish. And Yu Rong Guan as the villain often behaves too cheesily (if that's even a word) for a menacing baddie.

And what's with his sunglasses never coming off? He gets pounded and thrown about a number of times, and those shades and hairdo never budge. Come on! Even Indiana Jones' hat came off a few times.

Who would like this movie: The Enforcer is a must-see for Jet Li fans and those who love martial arts movies. Although cheesy in parts, this is a movie made with a boldness and creativity that rivals anything coming out of Hollywood.

(3 out of 4 stars, based on the final action sequence alone)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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