Supercop is this great movie where Michelle Yeoh plays an amazing Chinese police officer who infiltrates a drug czar’s organization to bring him down. She’s clever, quick, completely in charge of the situation, and she kicks major butt. Michelle Yeoh has always been one of my favorite action heroines (p.s. Netflix, it would be awesome if you’d actually get Wing Chun on DVD). She’s in top form here.
Oh yeah, Jackie Chan is in it too. He starts his first meeting with Yeoh’s character by engaging in sexual harassment, which he excuses by saying that he’s just being friendly.
For those of you who have seen it, three questions occurred to me:
- Does anyone watching this scene think his behavior is ok? The joke is that he thinks she’s just a hottie, but she’s actually his match and he ends up with egg on his face.
- Am I right that part of the joke is that since Jackie Chan is a nice guy, all the guys are thinking “well of course he’s about to get his metaphorical clock cleaned, I can see the setup from a mile away, but honestly who wouldn’t be a little hubba hubba in that situation?”
- If so, are these guys thinking “But at least I know not to say anything, because you get in trouble.” or are they thinking “But at least I know not to say anything, because it’s wrong.”?
In this film, the Chinese police include a good number of women. In addition to female cops at the training facility where Chan makes a fool of himself, an entire company of uniformed women marches by after he and Yeoh leave the building. Later there’s an undercover agent who has a mean way with a taser. There are also women on the bad guys’ side, and while they look like arm decorations for the drug dealers, they aren’t exactly afraid to mess you up. Yeoh isn’t The Only Woman, and she isn’t given some flimsy backstory about why she became a cop. She just is, and she’s damn good at it. They don’t give her the chick fights, either.
Chan’s character continues to seem out of place to me, although he does prove himself to be more capable than he appeared at the beginning of the film. The Chinese police he encounters are all so competent and serious, whereas he’s a bit of a goofball who needs saving. I spent the whole film thinking that Yeoh was the real Supercop, even though Chan did come in useful from time to time. He also never seems to fully accept Yeoh’s character as a fellow professional. She doesn’t accept him either, but it’s based on his lack of professionalism in their first meeting. His resentment towards her seems to come from being humiliated by a girl.
The other sour note in the portrayal of women is Chan’s girlfriend, May, played by poor, poor Maggie Cheung. What did she do to deserve this role? The Heroic Trio may have had skimpy clothes, but at least Cheung’s character Mercy had a brain! As Chan’s girlfriend in this film, she’s a danger to herself and everyone nearby. He doesn’t take her seriously at all, and compared to Yeoh’s character she’s insufferable. I think it was meant to be comedy.
Given that, I give Supercop three stars. Since Yeoh and Chan star equally, though he was the one given top billing, it could have easily been a four star film. The ditzy girlfriend thing, though, combined with Chan’s attitude problem towards Yeoh, did take a bit of the enjoyment out of it for me.
This post was originally published on Heroine Content, a feminist and anti-racist movie blog that ran from July 2006 to May 2012.