I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Gen-X Cops 2: Metal Mayhem

tn_gycANT-MAN comes out today, with Paul Rudd (HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS) playing a Marvel super hero. He’s not a traditional square-jawed action guy, but a handsome dude who got his start playing pretty boy boyfriends (ROMEO + JULIET) isn’t a completely outside-the-box choice for such a character. Sure, he’s turned out to be best at comedy, but ANT-MAN seems to be a super hero story with a few more laffs than usual, so it makes sense. I’ve read that Rudd had to get in shape for the movie, but they didn’t make him turn into He-Man like Chrises Pratt, Evans and Hemsworth.

And I think I know why he got away with that. Paul Rudd happens to hold an Action Movie Legitimacy Card that none of those other Avengers do – one he shares with Chuck Norris, Scott Adkins, Steven Seagal, Darren Shahlavi, UFC’s Don “The Predator” Frye and Nathan “Rictus Erectus” Jones – he was the white dude in an Asian action picture. The film in question is the year 2000 sequel GEN-X COPS 2: METAL MAYHEM, which is the version I watched, though it’s available in a different cut with the Cantonese parts dubbed into English, under the title JACKIE CHAN PRESENTS GEN-Y COPS.

(Note: Jackie actually had nothing to do with the movie, it’s sort of like a QUENTIN TARANTINO PRESENTS HERO type situation. Man, I wish I could present movies. VERN PRESENTS BEST OF THE BEST 2, etc.)

I haven’t seen part 1 (from 1999), but it must be about these two somewhat comical undercover cops Match (Stephen Fung, THE AVENGING FIST, TAI CHI HERO) and Alien (Sam Lee, MAN OF TAI CHI), who are introduced driving a Ferrari that Match bought with money from founding a successful websight. They are supposed to be very modern and computer savvy, so Alien keeps talking about ICQ.

mp_gycThey’re on a mission to retrieve another undercover cop who they don’t know, Edison (Edison Chen, INFERNAL AFFAIRS, THE DARK KNIGHT), who blew his cover or something and is in trouble. The rescue involves hijinks, bickering, wire fu, guns, and accidentally blowing up the Ferrari. Us web guys can never catch a break.

The bad guy of the movie turns out to be Edison’s childhood friend, Kurt Lee (Richard Sun), an obnoxious, hyperactive dude who wears flashy/tacky clothes and loves to speak in American-English slang. He’s also a computer genius who designed a combat robot that American scientists have somehow stolen to use as a RoboCop. So he gets revenge by hacking into it during testing and making it shoot missiles at everybody.

Kurt is the kind of buddy who will ask you to meet up at a bar, then ambush you there with a paint gun. He’s also the kind of villain who wears an obtrusive headset to remind you he’s a hacker. Sun gives what can only be described as a Dante Basco-esque performance.

The robot is pretty cool. His look is pretty boxy and retro, which I like. His features include various guns, missiles and a projectile fist with an attached cable to draw it back in, like a toy robot might have. He limits his movements and seems very heavy and immovable. At one point he steps on Alien’s dick. His non-expressive face and glowing eyes make him intimidating because he can just stand there and you don’t know if he’s working properly or he’s about to go ED-209 on that ass.

Speaking of ED-209, yes, this movie deals with issues very similar to ROBOCOP (especially the remake) and CHAPPIE. I thought CHAPPIE had a good point that one danger of drones is that hackers could potentially learn how to break in and control them. But of course the story was more about the character of CHAPPIE and his consciousness. I think this one is accidentally more on target about the issues of this type of technology, even though at that time they saw it as a total fantasy and not an extrapolation of current trends. The question about drones is “what if some asshole controls them?” before “Do they have a soul?”

Anyway, there’s a deadly robot, and there’s other wacky robots competing with it in the expo, mostly used as comic relief. Anthony Wong guest stars as one of the inventors.

I’m not sure if this is supposed to be slightly in the future or what, but there’s a little bit more sci-fi than just robots. I guess it can’t be that far into the future, considering this cultural reference:

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Kurt also gives Edison some kind of mind control drug that causes him to do bad things, causing him to get set up as a traitor and having to go on the run to clear his name. Fortunately he has blurry memories of those lost hours, and is smart enough to figure out that the part where he seems to be attacked by a monster is actually a dude in a lobster costume. I wouldn’t have gotten that one.

Rudd plays Agent Curtis, part of an FBI team sent for security since the robot is being shown at an expo in Hong Kong and they know it’s vulnerable to hackers and will inevitably go on a cool rampage that they’ll have to stop. His boss is played by Mark Hicks, a stuntman who directed and starred in a movie I vaguely remember watching called AFRO NINJA: DESTINY. I guess there was a humiliating video of Hicks messing up a backflip at an audition for a Nike commercial with Jim Kelly that somebody thought was funny and put online and it turned him into one of those famous internet targets. I never know about these viral videos, I am more a bloopers, blunders and foul-ups as well as TV’s practical jokes type of guy. I never heard of it until I saw his movie about it. Anyway, I guess it was a big problem for him and soured the greatness of him being a guy that was in a Hong Kong movie with Paul Rudd, but today he can hold his head high again because he was in FAST FIVE.

Also with the FBI is Maggie Q (LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3, PRIEST) as Agent Quigley, the only one who believes Edison is innocent. As always, Q makes the movie more fun to watch. She’s just such an intersection of everything you want in a larger-than-life action character. She’s beautiful, she has a strong physical presence, she does some martial arts, but she’s completely capable of doing straight acting roles too. It’s kinda ridiculous that she hasn’t been snatched up for one of the super hero characters (I looked it up and the closest she’s come is doing Wonder Woman’s voice for a cartoon).

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Curtis is supposed to be kind of the hard ass of the FBI. He’s always pissed off about the Hong Kong cops, the titleistical Gen-X Cops, fucking everything up. Their facilities are not good enough to deal with the robot, they’re getting in the way, they’re fucking up. But of course as the shit goes down they’re fighting on the same side so they start to gel and have respect for each other.

Especially looking back 15 years later it’s funny to see Rudd doing this serious role, with wavy blond-streaked hair, no less. But I give him total respect for being into doing this between a TV version of THE GREAT GATSBY and WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER. He got to do all kinds of cool action shit that every actor (or civilian, for that matter) should want to do if ever afforded the opportunity. Let me give you some examples:

1. Get briefed by another agency.

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2. Call out a “code red” to all units. (His scowl kinda breaks into a smile here, so he probly knew how cool it was that he got to do this one.)

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3. Take charge during a tense hostage/standoff situation and try to reason with the guy.

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4. Take cover behind a corner during a shootout. The reason he looks like Luke Perry in this still is because he always closes his eyes when he shoots.

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5. Call a guy a son of a bitch.

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6. Righteous indignation about the death of a colleague.

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7. Ride on the front of a go-fast boat.

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8. Underwater (with gun)!

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9. Surface from water

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10. Confront somebody with evidence.

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11. Shame a traitor for his greed and betrayal.

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12. Fight a guy on/around shipping containers.

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13. Drive a motor vehicle inside a shopping mall.

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and obviously

14. Jump away from the vehicle just before it explodes.

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I could be wrong, but I believe this is really Rudd in this shot. But then there were some shots on the speedboat that tricked me until I looked at them closely. His stunt double, Ron Smoorenburg, does alot of Thai movies now. Apparently he fights Kham in THE PROTECTOR/TOM YUM GOONG, and he doubled Ted Dibiase Jr. in THE MARINE 2. You hear that, Paul Rudd? Either of those roles coulda been yours. But you had to go back to Hollywood. You blew it, bud.

This is a silly movie, not a very good one, but director Benny Chan (WHO AM I?, ROBIN-B-HOOD, INVISIBLE TARGET) keeps it energetic and fun. The action scenes are fairly simple compared to what I hope for in Hong Kong action, but they have the right flavor. The robot sends people flying and smashing into walls, people do flips, even Rudd seems to do some choreographed moves. And they all treat this robot very seriously. Kurt calls it his “iron brother.” You gotta appreciate that.

But you know what, the fact that it’s just middle of the road and not a classic almost makes it a more legit credit. If it was INFERNAL AFFAIRS or something you would think “what a great honor for Rudd to be considered for that role,” but with this you can think “Paul Rudd’s been in the trenches. He even did a Hong Kong action movie one time.”


VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Friday, July 17th, 2015 at 11:39 am and is filed under Action, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

24 Responses to “Gen-X Cops 2: Metal Mayhem”

  1. Okay I say it. There needs to be a small, but good DVD label, releasing a VERN PRESENTS series. Or…I don’t know. At least something like that on Hulu or whatever, with intros where you talk about the movies. (Or have Kris Kristofferson read intros that you wrote.)

  2. I’m pretty sure I saw a dubbed version of the original Gen-X Cops on cable about ten years ago. I remember enjoying its ridiculousness, but I remember less about the actual movie.

  3. I think you got the titles mixed up. The film was originally called Gen X Cops 2: Gen Y Cops and the US version was Jackie Chan Presents: Metal Mayhem. I know because I have both.
    Also, Ron Smoorenburg played in Chan’s Who Am I, the kicking maniac from the final fight on top of the building. In the outtakes you can see Jackie really losing his patience with him, and having the only white guy from his stunt team (whos name escapes me, he went on to choreograph the fights in Scott Pilgrim) double him, even thought Smoorenburg is probably a foot taller than him.

  4. Also, Jackie Chan Presents: Metal Mayhem was originally promoted as a Sci-Fi Channel original movie

  5. Saw ANT-MAN last night. Decent. Probably weakest of the solo non-team origin stories non-sequels-working-as-reboots ala INCREDIBLE HULK movies Marvel Studios has done so far, plotting is a little more basic than the first Cap/Thor/Iron Man films and in fact when you think about it, ANT-MAN does alot of rehashing of first IRON MAN movie’s plot. But still, enjoyable. Takes page from DREDD/THE WOLVERINE school of trying to scale down the jeopardy, even though Gordon Gecko keeps saying the world’s safety is at stake. Also of adding a well used movie formula (the heist film) and make it sorta fresh by going through the superhero movie filter.

    Michael Pena’s character was probably my favorite from the movie. I mean he does something that you almost never see in heist films. And I’m sure that moment will cause nerds to recycle that certain meme they love to use to bash MOS.

    CJ – Agree!

  6. But what about black dudes in Asian action pictures, like Michael Jai White, Billy Blanks, and Coolio? Where are their Marvel movies? Fucking racism is what that is.

  7. About ten years ago, I saw Rudd on The Daily Show spending a good 80% of his time making fun of himself for being in this movie. While all of his cracks were of the “a stunt-double who had no resemblance to me at all did everything for me” variety, it still rubbed me the wrong way because his overall tone wasn’t “hey, I was in a HK action movie and got to do all this cool shit” but more “I was in a HK action movie because I’m a whore and any actor that does the same should be ashamed of themselves.”

    Way to piss on an entire industry, Paul. I’m sure all the men and women who work really hard on these movies were just charmed by your really fucking smug attitude, and appreciate your insinuations that they’re whores who should be ashamed of themselves. I had actually had a personal interaction with him about a year before, and I found him to be a pretty smart, funny, and down-to-earth guy (especially for an actor). Now, if I see him again, I’ll have to resist the urge to punch him in the dick.

  8. Er, make that
    I actually had a personal interaction with him

  9. One Guy From Andromeda

    July 17th, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Jesus, jojo, being on a talkshow is a performance like any other this guy is doing, stop thinking about his dick, even if it is to punch it. But nevermind. What touched me even more than the rest of this marvelous review is how Vern called it a Go-Fast Boat like they call speedboats in the awesome Miami Vice movie.

  10. Majestyk – Believe me, I was torn about whether to make it “Americans in Asian movies” so I could include MJW’s role in SILVERHAWK on the list. But Fury Fever got the best of me and I had to include Australian Nathan Jones, who has been a giant white dude fighting both Jackie Chan and Tony Jaa. Also, I think there’s a certain cheesy quality of white dudes in Asian movies (especially when they speak English) that makes them a unique phenomenon separate from what MJW has accomplished.

    Jojo – I think I saw that too (I was thinking it was Conan) but I don’t remember being offended by it. He was just being self-deprecating. In retrospect though I have to disagree with him saying the stunt double looked nothing like him. If I had found a funny stunt double shot I would’ve included it, but the only ones I caught were on the speed boat and they were convincingly Rudd-like.

    Andromeda – Thank you for catching that. I’m sure it comes from real jargon that Mann researched, but I’ve only ever heard it in MIAMI VICE so yes, if I ever say “go-fast boats” it’s a MIAMI VICE reference. (Also, mojitos.)

  11. Somebody brought up in the MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE review comments about how somebody in an interview with Frank Langella was trying to be jokey about him playing Skeletor, and Langella refused to play that game. After learning that, my respect for Langella grew.

  12. Yeah, this is a fun film from the dark days of the post-HK handover, when a lot of it’s best filmmakers had either moved into TV or gone to the US.

    We also got a lot of “teen idol” types coming thru then, too, and Gen X Cops was a hugely hyped vehicle for some of those cats. Not a good film, IMHO, but this second one is OK – more wilfully silly and eager to entertain – better than the first but not exactly great either.

    Regarding Rudd’s part in this, I’ve heard it said that whilst he seemed a very happy presence on the set of Gen Y Cops he often made it clear he didn’t really want to be there.

    And I’d like to offer to kickstart specially filmed intro’s by Vern for some of his fave films, a la Dudikoff’s seminal “Action-Adventure Theater”/Sho Kosugi’s “Ninja Theater”, only instead of an empty cinema or temple they should be from the back of the car Seagal throws the pimp thru at the start of OUT FOR JUSTICE. Preferably with the broken glass still in it.

  13. Super Nintendo Ad

    A Super Nintendo Advertisement from Winter 1991 (Featuring Paul Rudd) More Zelda videos and information available at http://zeldapower.com

  14. I found a mention of GEN-Y COPS in this interview with Rudd which gives some additional context. Again, he seems to be poking fun at himself for being woefully inadequate to the role of action star and claims to have had “a great time” while making it. I recall reading elsewhere that writer Bey Logan named Rudd’s character after the lead singer of Joy Division. Some tribute that is.

    http://www.nj.com/entertainment/tv/index.ssf/2009/03/behind_paul_rudd_theres_a_seri.html

  15. Two different props from two different Paul Rudd projects were fixtures in my life for years. The first was a rug from a movie he did called DIGGERS. It was a legit 70s relic, with browns and oranges in blobby psychedelic not-patterns. Great rug. Totally hideous. Really tied the room together. It came into my life because my former roommate was a PA on DIGGERS. She has a great story about driving Rudd and some cast and crew to the set and having to scream on him because he wouldn’t stop singing along to gospel radio while she was trying to navigate unfamiliar backroads. He was sufficiently cowed and did not throw a diva fit over being sonned by a lowly PA. They eventually made up over their shared affinity for the song “One Night In Bangkok” which is exactly the sort of thing you’d expect Rudd to be into.

    The second prop was a giant TV that was used in a commercial he did with some football player. The roommate was now an art coordinator, so when the TV got some minor scratches on it and could not be returned to the rental company, she appropriated it for the apartment.

    So thank you, Paul Rudd, for really improving my living room.

  16. Like I said, his specific cracks were just kind of corny and non-offensive (and as pointed out, not even true. His double looks fine). But his overall tone was like “You know how cheap and shitty those HK action movies are. I’m supposed to be throwing a punch, and then it cuts to a 5′ 1″ Chinese guy that’s supposed to be me! What amateurs! Are they even trying?” And basically making it sound like being in a HK action flick was the equivalent of being in Sharknado 5. For whatever reason, it bugged me enough to still carry a sour taste in my mouth 10 years later.

  17. The Original Paul

    July 18th, 2015 at 4:16 am

    So… Paul Rudd, eh? That outspoken, controversial, unforgettable personality that we all know and have an opinion about. Ah-hum. Yep.

    (Seriously, who the heck is Paul Rudd and why should I care?)

    Anyway… I’ll keep an eye out for this one. Sounds like my sort of thing. Maggie Q is always a draw. I mean, she made even DIE HARD 4 a much better experience while she was in it. I mean, if a film managed to waste Maggie Q entirely, it would have to be one of the worst things ever, right?

    BRB… going to look up Paul Rudd on IMDB.

  18. Have you seen a comedy in the last 15 years? You’ve seen Paul Rudd.

  19. Or even 20 years.

    (Am I the only one that remembers CLUELESS anymore?)

  20. He’s that unknown they plucked out of an obscure Hong Kong action sequel to star in the Marvel movie that came out this weekend. Because it was such an iconic character they knew they didn’t need anybody familiar.

  21. The Original Paul

    July 18th, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    I IMDB’d him. You can imagine my surprise when I found out that not only was he in a comedy I really like (ANCHORMAN), but he was also in two comedies I really disliked (ROLE MODELS and FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL). Although I might have purposefully blotted him from my brain after seeing that last one.

    If he was in CLUELESS as well, that means he’s probably the least memorable man on the planet, because I don’t remember a thing about his performances in any of those movies.

  22. The Original Paul

    July 18th, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Also the reason I couldn’t post the above any earlier was that I keep getting this when loading any page on outlawvern.com right now:

    “Error 503 Service Unavailable

    Service Unavailable
    Guru Meditation:

    XID: 370238136”

    It’s taking literally a minute and a half to load a page when it DOES load. And it’s not my ‘web ’cause everything else is working just fine. Might be something to look into?

  23. Man, Paul Rudd really is sporting a very circa 2000 hair style there.

  24. Paul he’s Cher’s step brother that she hooks up with in Clueless.

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