Fox Hunter: ”You have guts to do something that you can never achieve. Should we call this courage?”

Year:1995
Directed by Stephen Tung Wai
Produced by Joe Cheung Tung Cho and Benz Kong To Hoi
Written by Benz Kong To Hoi,San Ying Cheung , Jimmy Sin Chi Wai and Stephen Tung Wei
Cast: Jade Leung, Jordan Chan , Yu Rong-Guang, Guy Lai, and Ng Kit-Keung

After a failed sting operation goes awry, a female cop vows with the help of a rambunctious ex-criminal to track down the killer that escaped.

Perhaps the most shocking thing about Fox Hunter is how shockingly entertaining it is. Superficially, it looks little better than any low brow action movie. Fox Hunter still packs a lot of heart and action scenes of great caliber. The formula here is little different from a typical buddy cop film. While it is basically a giant wild goose chase spread across Mainland China, yet within all of this chasing, there is a shocking amount of character development.

Jenny Yeung breaks the typical mold that plagues heroines in Hong Kong action movies. She isn’t a total damsel in distress or a stoic vixen human killing machine but a vulnerable and capable woman. These two traits in Jenny aren’t odd paradoxes instead both traits co-exist well in her due to a strong performance. Jenny not only tackles life-threatening situations and her own emotional insecurities but nagging sexist attitudes as well. Society wants her to conform to the role of a simple housewife, not a high flying policewoman. Jenny’s sporadic clumsiness serve to make the heated moments of action all the more natural and break up the illusion of choreography a bit. The use of any possible stunt double is well hidden enough that there is no jarring realization that you aren’t watching the actual actors. The camera doesn’t shy away from the actors’ faces during the more extreme circumstances.

Not to mention, she does become naturally more competent and confident. The clear-cut sense of character progression is what proves Fox Hunter is cut from a different cloth than most of the other similar productions. Yam Tung is hardly a great example of a good villain since most of his plans are more of the result of crazy contrivances than any good planning. The poor writing around explaining Yam Tung’s plans is probably Fox Hunter’s weakest aspect. Yam Tung is still serviceable for being a good antithesis to Jenny and his personal rivalry with her makes Jenny chasing him a well-earned endeavor. Chan Hong comes off as a little more than a pesky sidekick and his inclusion is puzzling. But, not if you realize he’s pretty much the only source of levity. Chan Hong’s relationship with Jenny is an odd one. It fizzles all over the place. It has the promise to blossom into a possible romance even if that would be totally odd or it just stays the course of a pure platonic friendship.

The two do discover that both are kindred spirits in the fact both live to please their fathers and keep their fathers’ legacies. Chan Hong’s family reunion is like something out of a tearjerker and amazingly poignant despite the utterly bizzare difference in tone. Captain Yu could have been written easily to be a thorn on the heroes’s side. Instead, Captain Yu is a tolerant cop willing to look pass bureaucratic procedures in the name of justice. He’s so likable to the point that you begin to wonder if he was there to paint a rosy picture of mainland cops in honor of the upcoming handover back then. Anyway, Fox Hunter culminates in a nail-biting setpiece that’s more than worthy of your time.

Fox Hunter is an idiosyncratic adventure. It’s mishmash of an action comedy and action thriller blended into one with a graceful heroine while being deviously poignant.

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