Foreign Film Friday: Even more Jet Li in The Enforcer
I’m a huge fan of Jet Li. I actually posted a review of his film The Defender a couple of weeks ago and I just couldn’t help myself when I saw this similarly simplistic title on Netflix. I just had to watch it. Once upon a time I owned this film on VHS but due to a house fire a little over a decade ago, my collection of kung fu and action movies of the 80’s and 90’s was destroyed and I was left with a magnificent void in my life. Luckily for me, that void has been filled by the ever increasing amount of kung fu movies on Netflix, Youtube, and other sites like Crackle or PopcornFlix. What that means for you is that I’ll continue to watch and review these glorious gems from yesteryear.
The Gist: Kung Wei goes undercover to catch a criminal in the city of Hong Kong but he can’t stop worrying about his sick wife and his young son back in China. Things are made all the more difficult as the crime boss Kung Wei has infiltrated has found out about his true identity and kidnapped his young son Johnny. Now Wei will have to stop the villainous Po Kwong from blowing up a cargo ship full of innocent people along with little Johnny.
The Cast: Normally with any of Jet Li’s early films he is the main event and the rest of the card isn’t worth much. The Enforcer flips the script a bit as the young G that plays Jet’s son is equally as awesome as Li himself. One could even say that he kicks more ass than his father as he beats up a bunch of bullies at his school, stomps a mud hole in some guys trying to kill him and his lady-detective friend, and also assists his dear old dad in putting a tag team beat down on mega heel Po Kwong. Anita Mui plays Inspector Fong, who is unbelievably thorough when it comes to finding out who the masked man who held her at gunpoint was. Mui is totally dead now (RIP) but if she were still alive I would say she deserves a solid high five and a shout-out for being one of the least worthless women in an early Jet Li film.
Jet smokes non-stop during the film. The tobacco was a better villain than Po Kwong actually.
The Villain: Rongguang Yu plays our flat-topped bad guy named Po Kwong and if you don’t think he’s really that bad, just wait till he puts on his white mime gloves and beats you up using his killer black trench coat. Cause If you’re gonna do something, do it with flair. Po takes this saying to heart going so far as to have his barber give him a lame ass haircut that I would definitely make fun of him for. Kwong doesn’t always have the best laid plans when it comes to him stealing money or stealing artifacts (or whatever he was trying to do at the end) but his Plan B is always much cooler; Plan B being him kicking the crap out of everyone and taking the loot for himself.
Never trust a grown man wearing white gloves…
The Action: Compared to some of Li’s other early work like in Born to Defense and The Defender, The Enforcer is miles ahead in the action department. Li is definitely in top form and putting him against another awesome martial artist like Yu is an easy way to have a killer finale. As I said before, the little Johnny Kung played by Mo Tse is the true MVP of the film as he matches Li kick for kick. I sure hope my son can kick ass like this! There are some unique and dangerously inefficient attacks by the Li/Tse combo at the end and I dare you to try that with your own child. *DO NOT TRY THESE ATTACKS, YOU WILL HURT YOUR CHILD.
Instead of celebrating him, someone should have called Children’s Services on Jet Li’s character.
Take it Home:
- Iron Monkey: Po Kwong is played by actor Rongguang Yu, who also played the hero in the film Iron Monkey. In that film, Yu mentors a young boy named Wong Fei Hung. Jet Li played an adult Wong Fei Hung in the Once Upon a Time in China
- Favorite quote: “I’m so explosive, no one can stop me!”
- Screw physics: The inspector lady hangs from a moving helicopter and somehow drops down in the cargo ship. That must be the accurate-flying pilot in history.