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Review City Cops a.k.a. Beyond the Law a.k.a. Free Fighter a.k.a. Fight to Win a.k.a. Miao tan shuang long (1989): These many titles for a single movie usually is trouble!

genre: martial arts, action, crime





Whenever a title comes along that has so many titles usually that is a real bad sign. Especially in this case since there actually is a Cynthia Rothrock title named Fight to Win. To make matters worse even the cover of the DVD is called Fight to Win but features photo's of City Cops. I swear that is solely down to confuse and trick the buyer. I get it you want to sell your movie. But to stoop this low? Anyway so what of City Cops? Is it any good? 

For starters if you were hoping for Cynthia to have the lead you will be disappointed. She is a prominent but secondary character. Unfortunately that means you will have to put up with other actors as main characters. In this case they are quite decent. But deserving to be the leads? Nope. As much as I like Michael Miu, Kent Tong and Shing Fui-On they just don't have what it takes to steal the show. Fortunately for us even as a secondary character Cynthia owns every scene she is in. It also looks like they tried to make her seem like she is a fool. But Cynthia is clever enough to play along and be even more charming. Her scenes with Shing Fui-On are very funny.

The biggest problem City Cops has is the fact that it tries so hard to mimic similar but better action flicks without knowing what actually made those good. Which in any of these kind should be the action. And while the action that is present is exactly the type I enjoy there simply is not enough of it to be enjoyed. On the whole there are like three major action sequences. One in the intro, one in the middle and the final battle. The first two are over before you know it. The final action sequence is the first real scene where you actually can marvel at the good combat that is displayed. Fights and gun play are intertwined. Most prominent as the villains are Michiko Nishiwaki and Mark Houghton. Houghton even more since he almost is in every scene. You would think that they would get the most of these and Cynthia by having them battle it out to to their deaths. But I guess the film crew had a bus to catch or something. Since their fight is over in a heart beat.

Another the problem is the lack of real story and direction. It's too minimal even for martial arts flicks. Not uncommon for Hong Kong action flicks to make up stories as they go and I wouldn't be surprised if this is the case for this also. All the more astonishing why then they actually bothered with the story. Had they just shown one major action sequence after another it would have increased the fun factor tenfold. 

As it is now it's just too lacking to say it's worth your time. A real shame if you ask me. Overall it's entertaining enough while it lasts. But nothing else.





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