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The best way to describe GEN-X COPS ($25) is if someone took the youth market elements from 21 JUMP STREET and the movie remake of THE MOD SQUAD and combined them with Hong Kong action cinema. Sure, this is an oversimplification of the concept, but it is an accurate description of what is up on the screen. This isnít to say that GEN-X COPS is a bad movie; itís just a surprisingly entertaining marketing concept. The plot of GEN-X COPS concerns three wiseass young cadets that are flunking out of the police academy, who find themselves being recruited for a special undercover assignment because they donít look or act like cops. Under the direction of a stressed out commander, the three infiltrate the Hong Kong underworld trying to get closer to a high profile Japanese criminal with a secret agenda and a stockpile of military grade explosives.

GEN-X COPS it a little light on the martial arts, but features a whole lot of solid action sequences that will appeal to genre fans. Additionally, the movie is very well directed by Benny Chan and features the kind of high quality production values that are a whole lot big budget American action movies. Of course, the dubbed English dialogue leaves a lot to be desired, but thatís pretty much describes every Hong Kong import. The cast of GEN-X COPS features Nicholas Tse, Stephen Fung, Sam Lee, Jaymee Ong, Eric Tsang, Daniel Wu, Grace Yip and Jackie Chan (in an amusing little cameo).

Columbia TriStar Home Video has done a very good job with their DVD release of GEN-X COPS. GEN-X COPS is presented in proper 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio and the DVD features the anamorphic enhancement for playback on 16:9 displays. GEN-X COPS definitely looks better than some of the older Hong Kong productions that are only now making their American debuts. The image on the DVD is clean, crisp and delivers a solid level of detail. Colors are very strong, with all the well-saturated hues being reproduced without any signs of distortion or smearing. Blacks are right on the money, with the image offering very good shadow detail and even contrast. Evidence of digital compression artifacts is negligible on this well authored DVD that takes advantage of dual layering to increase the data rate.

The English dubbed Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is reasonably good, but sounds as if it were created in a studio instead of having a more natural sound quality. Channel separation is very good across the forward soundstage, however the rear channels are not nearly as well implemented. There are occasional split effects, but it isnít anything too showy. In fact, the level of activity in the surrounds isnít particularly aggressive. English dubbed dialogue is always intelligible, which had me wishing that is was written or translated better. For some reason, Japanese dialogue remains in Japanese, without subtitling. The bass channel is a bit shallow and could have been a bit punchier, especially for gunfire and explosions. Other soundtrack options include English stereo, Cantonese 5.1 and Cantonese stereo. Subtitles are encoded onto the DVD in English and French.

The interactive menus are basic and provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the DVDís extras. Extras include a number of deleted scenes and longer versions of existing scenes, a Making Of documentary that runs approximately 40 minutes, a theatrical trailer and a talent file for Jackie Chan.

GEN-X COPS will appeal to Hong Kong action fans as well as fans of the action genre in general. Columbia TriStar does their usual great job, delivering a DVD worthy of the material.




DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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