Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Spiritually a Cop

Director: Shum Wai
Starring: Fung Sui Fan, Lui Fong, Mong Hoi, Yukari Oshima

"Get the fuck out!" growls Yukari Oshima (in English, yet!). Sadly, this should have been her sentiments when shown the script of this otherwise lousy (and somewhat offensive) action ghost comedy. 

The bizarre storyline tells of a male chauvenist vigilante (Lui Fong) who impersonates a cop and is killed while attempting to stop a gang of transvestite jewel thieves whom he mistakes for being women. His spirit returns to Earth ('How can I be killed by women? I am a man!") seemingly for the sole purpose of persuading the senior officer (Fung Sui Feng) into replacing Lin Lin, the female officer overseeing the case (Yukari Oshima) with a man. He goes so far as to persuade the superior (who also just happen's to be Lin Lin's lover) that her undercover meeting with diamond criminals is actually a secret affair.

'Spiritually a Cop' joins the ranks of tasteless Hong Kong comedies of the era and is probably one of the genre's worst offenders. The anti female stance that our 'hero' takes is so forced and so unfunny that it's completely overbearing. So why am I giving this turgid little flick as high a rating as I am? Two words; Yukari Oshima. Her snarling turn as the hot headed officer is breathtaking and far, far better than the movie deserves. There were times where I wished Lin Lin would just lose it and take out every member of the cast. Sadly this didn't happen but when the fights finally do kick in, they are actually very crisp and exciting  (courtesy of fight choreographer, Mong Hoi who also co-stars as a monk who communicates with the dead vigilante). Among the diamond thieves is a familiar face, Elaine Liu and her final smackdown with Yukari actually ranks as one of the best in either's career (she certainly holds up better against Osh than she had in 'Angel')

Ordinarily, a film with a couple of excellent fights and the awesome Osh would be enough to recommend it. Here however, there is a bit too much loathsome nonsense on display for me to fully do so. That said, Yukari's scenes are strong enough to warrant multiple viewings... just as long as I fast forward everything else.

Rating: 5/10


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