Crime Lords (1991): Breakdown by Rutledal
Two cops specializing in auto theft cases go to Hong Kong to arrest a crime lord and save their careers.
Before I even start talking/writing about the movie I have to devote some time to the dvd cover, and its designer who most certainly never saw the film.
That right there might be the most misleading DVD cover ever made. See the car? Not in the movie. Neither is the Kurgan from Highlander. The picture of Wayne Crawford? Probably taken some 5-10 years prior to the movie. By the time this movie came out, he had gone gray, and the moustache is also “cover exclusive”.
That take cares of the front, on the back it continues. “When Williams and his cocky partner…”, I’ll stop right there. There is not a single character in the movie named Williams. There isn’t even a character with a nickname that it could be short for it. But enough about the cover, let’s look at the movie.
The movie is a Wayne Crawford action vehicle of the purest kind. It’s directed by its star, Crawford, and it’s obvious, almost painfully, that he cast himself out of some sort of misplaced egomania. His character gets the best lines, the most screen time, and unlike his partner, he is actually a likable character. The story goes as follows, two cops, neither named Williams, follow a lead in an auto theft case. It leads them to a warehouse filled with Asian criminal scum. They then somehow manage to blow up the warehouse and let the crooks get away. Since their jobs are on the line, they decide to go to Hong Kong, get the criminals and save what’s left of their reputations. Shortly after arrival in Hong Kong, they find out the name and address of the crook was false, and then they get robbed.
Luckily for them the police chief in Hong Kong is apparently American, and not only that, but also close friends with the crime lord they came to apprehend. Russo wants to dig into it, while Lagrange seems uneager to find out if they’ve really found their guy. Oh, and the main characters are named Russo and Lagrange, but I’ll get back to that later. They end up doing the aforementioned anyway. This results in Lagrange unconscious in an ally while Russo gets kidnapped by the bad guys and agrees to change sides. Russo then spends most of his time boning two chicks at once, before getting properly kidnapped by the same bad guys. Lagrange on the other hand ends up buying a 14 year old girl named Barbie, by mistake, who tags along while he tries to find Russo.
Crime Lords is no masterpiece. It’s poorly written, not too well acted, and let’s just say it would be easier to mention the things done well. Because that is basically two things: James Hong, the old character actor is great as (one of) the movies villain(s). Unfortunately his screen time is limited, probably because he was off playing in an episode of MacGyver. The other thing is the running time. The movie is at the perfect length, telling the story without dragging the whole thing out, and clocks in at 90 minutes. ALike I said, a perfect length.
The film ends up being pretty high quality for a direct-to-video movie. If you like action movies with extra cheese you should check it out, but it’s no must in any collection. Unless it’s a Wayne Crawford collection. In that case, go for it, because this is easily the best Crawford movie I have seen.
[HOW BAD-ASS ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS?]
Wayne Crawford is Elmo Lagrange
Lagrange is a veteran at the auto theft department, a miserable divorcee who lives in a scruffy looking RV, a racist who thinks all Asian people look alike, even using the word “chink” on live television. But he’s still pretty much a bad ass. Of the two main characters he is easily the baddest. He never quits until the case is closed and lets nothing get in his way.
Martin Hewitt is Peter Russo
Russo is a cocky womanizer. In the movie’s opening scene he is boning the police chief’s wife. He tries to bone just about every woman who appears in the movie, and even orders a massage with a “happy ending”. He’s a real asshole who’s been forced into the auto theft division because he boned the chief’s wife, but wants to work vice and doesn’t bother trying to hide it. Bad-ass or not? I’d say not.
[THE BODY COUNT: 09]
The fact that it has a modest body count is not improved by the fact that only two kills belongs to the main characters (well actually just Lagrange, because Russo doesn’t kill anyone). The villain kills the most when she wipes out the five other villainous characters in the movie to take top rank herself.
[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING & DEATH]
Lagrange vs. Razor Knife Man
After a failed attempt at his life, Lagrange’s “would be assassin” catches up with him and a fight ensues. Lagrange and the silent henchman throw fists at each other while Barbie throws bricks at the henchman. In the end, it becomes a close quarters battle with the weapons of choice being a razor knife and a broken beer bottle.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
For an action buddy comedy it’s surprisingly non-queer, with virtually no gay undertones in Lagrange and Russo’s friendship (aside from those profile shots I have above). There is, however, a scene where Russo gets a massage and his, junk, is covered with what must be the tiniest washcloth available to man. Not only that, Russo also shows off his ass (and balls). Oh yeah!
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
It’s hard to determine where the movie stands on this point. On the one hand, the main villain(ess) is a woman who has everyone fooled through feminine trickery to get events moving in her favor; a very clever lady. On the other hand, there is only one female character in the movie that doesn’t show her tits, and the villain(ess) ain’t one of them.
Also, when Lagrange finds out who the real is villain he punches her straight in face, and not with a flat hand either. Equality.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
[flashvideo filename=videos/CrimeLords.wmv.FLV /]
The one-liner: “Hey, asshole, this is a gun.”
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
The police wouldn’t mind if you went to another country out of your jurisdiction and killed a bunch of people. In fact, it might get you promoted.
[THE CHECKLIST: 10 outta 25]
[ ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[ ] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[ ] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[ ] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[ ] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[ ] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[ ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[ ] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[ ] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[ ] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[ ] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[X] Unnecessary Sequel [Amerikanskiy Blyuz]
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice
I’m sorry, but Mr. Hong won’t be able to appear on MacGyver this week.
Crime Lords (1991) © Gibraltar Entertainment and Heatherwood Film Productions