Directed by Parkman Wong
Produced by Danny Lee
Written by James Fung and Chung Hon-chiu
Cast: Danny Lee, Stephen Chow, Shing Fui-On, William Ho Ka-Kui, Tommy Wong, Victor Hon Kwan, Ricky Yi Fan-Wai, Ken Lo, Chiu Jun-Chiu, Wong Aau, Debbie Chui, and Stephen Chang Gwong-Chin
A feisty cop that prefers to do things his own way must team up with a car thief to take down a gang of deadly gangsters.
Final Justice is Stephen Chow’s cinematic debut. It would earn him a nomination at the 1988 Hong Kong Film Awards and, but also, nab him a Golden Horse Award for Best Supporting Actor. Not a bad start, for any upcoming actor. His first role is a far cry from the type of roles that are usually associated with Chow. In Final Justice, Chows plays more to his dramatic side. Stephen Chow’s comedic chops might be not too apparent but Chow displays a raw acting talent in the more dramatic moments of the story.
Conversely, Danny Lee plays to type. He plays an officer of the law. A skilled cop that works best when he isn’t being held back by red tape or bickering superiors. Danny Lee has probably mastered the in and outs of playing a cop better than most actors living on Earth. In Final Justice, Danny Lee, that talent is no less apparent. Danny Lee’s character could be called one-note but if you scratch beyond the surface. There is a hint that Danny Lee’s character being not the most educated or book smart yet that doesn’t make him any less of a skilled cop. Cheung sees the world in a different light from his bougie higher-ups. It is a slight suggestion of a social tension that many viewers could fail to appreciate.
The relationship that sparks between the heroic cop and Stephen Chow’s car thief is Final Justice’s highlight. It grows from a pragmatic alliance based on self-interest that transforms into a partnership build on trust and respect. It is doesn’t measure up to the type of brotherly love that John Woo portrays but it is more than adequate. One must deal with an overbearing superior that looks down on him while the other must deal with the justice system punishing him for a crime that he didn’t commit.
The antagonists are just too generic to be even worthy of even listing their names and to describe their traits. But, it is intriguing though how one of the villain are named ”judge” and Stephen Chow’s character doesn’t want to deal with a literal judge in court. Perhaps, it is an attempt to mirror both types of ”judges” to make some sort of comment about ”justice”. Or, just a mere coincidence. The nature of justice is a constant topic of conversation. Also, the word, ”justice”, itself is in the title, after all.
Final Justice’s biggest sin that sticks too closely to cliches so falls too much of the generic side. The story is too predictable. So, lacks the necessary intrigue to keep the viewer too invested. It is paced reasonably well but just desperately needs a more interesting story.
Final Justice is a slightly above average at its best buddy cop drama that has two talented leading men but held back by a dull plot.