Dragon Loaded 2003 (2003)

Directed by
OK bit of HK comedy
Reviewed by Simon on 2006-06-28

Three spoilt rich kids are threatened with inheritance cut-off unless they can prove their worth to their dads by becoming "good cops". They reluctantly join the police academy but devote their energies entirely to getting dismissed... until one of them (Ronald Cheng) falls for a pretty young recruit of the opposite gender (Stephy Tang). Of course he wants to impress her by excelling as a policeman, but can a leopard change its spots?

The film is basically a vehicle for Ronald Cheng to make his bid for the "New Stephen Chiau" title (which several contenders have failed to claim over the years). His mannerisms and persona seem to be quite wilfully modeled on Sing Jai's, although he exaggerates too much - clearly trying to be wacky, where Chow makes even the most absurd things he does seem perfectly natural. He does have at least a shred of the charisma and charm that make the goofiness work though, even when playing a fundamentally quite unlikeable character... who we of course all know will redeem himself by the time the credits roll. The character arc is as cliched as the romantic conflict that drives it, but having a deep or original story is hardly the point of this sort of film - it's just something to hang the jokes together.

The humour ranges from the crude to the really crude, with an awful lot of literal toilet humour amidst general slapstick and buffoonery. As long as you don't try taking any of it seriously (e.g. expecting people to really act), there's some funny moments. The best of those are when scene-stealer Law Kar-Ying turns up, as usual. Jacky Cheung has a great cameo as well.

Although the film offers little that is surprising or new, and can't help inspiring thoughts of "Ah, if that had been Stephen Chiau it would have been so much better/funnier", it's an easy and entertaining enough watch. Ronald Cheng doesn't have the star quality to truly claim the "New Stephen Chiau" crown, but he's probably the best contender we've seen for it so far. Hidden Heroes (2005) was a more persuasive arguer of that case though.