Also with: Tasuya Nakadai, Yuen Woo-ping, Roy Cheung, Carmen Lee, Lisa Jane Burnett, Reiko Hayawa, Sophia Crawford.

Also with: Tasuya Nakadai, Yuen Woo-ping, Roy Cheung, Carmen Lee, Lisa Jane Burnett, Reiko Hayawa, Sophia Crawford.

(Cantonese dialogue)

Political allegory runs riot in “The Wicked City,” a roller-coaster blend of Nipponese

manga, H.K. actioners and choice cuts from “Blade Runner” that has everything except a sense of pacing. However, pic has the makings of a robust performer as a dubbed homevideo, and could do limited theatrical biz offshore as a cleverly marketed culter.

In a nod to its adaptation from a popular Japanese comic strip, film opens in Tokyo, where cop Ken (Jacky Cheung) has just saved his colleague Taki (Leon Lai) from being gobbled by one of the “raptors,” sexy women who are monsters in disguise and bent on taking over the East.

Back in H.K., the Anti-Raptor Bureau is busy defending the city from takeover , especially as “1997 will be a good time for raptors to invade.” A Japanese corporation has been lulling the population with a drug called Happiness, and the boss’ son, Shudo (Roy Cheung), is in cahoots with the raptors.

Just to complicate matters, Ken reveals he’s only half-human, Taki falls for a beautiful, kindhearted raptor (Michelle Li), and the baddies have a spy in the bureau. Delirious finale has the good guys battling Shudo atop I.M. Pei’s Bank of China building, where he’s having fun turning back time and playing King Kong with jumbo jets.

Helmer Peter Mak, whose earlier non-action credits include the sharp Taiwan satire “The Hero, the Loser” and inventive “All Night Long,” changes career gear with a vengeance. No time is wasted on backgrounding or explanations: The ride’s the thing. But with no pause for breath or characterization, the film squanders its invention in the long run.

Technically, the Tsui Hark (Film Workshop) production is good but not outstanding. Playing by the star cast is reliable, with Jacky Cheung stealing the personality honors. Pic performed pleasantly on H.K. release in late 1992.

Turin Fest

Production

A Film Workshop production, with participation of Edko Films. (International sales: Film Workshop, Hong Kong.) Produced by Raymond Lee, Mak Chi-sin. Executive producer, Tsui Hark. Directed by Peter Mak. Screenplay, Tsui, Roy Szeto, from the comic strip by Hideyuki Kikuchi.

Crew

Camera (color), Andrew Lau, Joe Chan; editor, Mak Chi-sin; music, Richard Yuen; art direction, Eddie Ma; costume design, Chris Wong; sound, Mak Chi-sin; action directors, Lee Kin-sang, Cheung Yiu-sing. Reviewed at BFI screening room, London, Oct. 22, 1993. (In London, Vancouver festivals.) Running time:88 MIN.

With

Ken ... Jacky Cheung Taki ... Leon Lai Windy ... Michelle Li

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