LOBSTER COP (2018) review

114225.61103277_1000X1000

The directing debut of actress Li Xinyun, Lobster Cop follows Yufei (Wang Qianyuan), Hua Jie (Yuan Shanshan), Neng (Liu Hua) and Chen (Zhou Yu), a squad of down-on-their-luck police detectives trying to bring to justice a dangerous trafficker known as The General. While staking out what they suspect to be an operating base for the General’s accomplices, they realize that a neighboring, decrepit lobster restaurant, owned by a nutcase (Shen Teng), would be a perfect vantage point to keep an eye on the activities of the suspects’ house. They gather enough money to buy the restaurant, clean it up and pretend to be a family, but Neng’s delicious spicy crayfish recipe unexpectedly turns what should have been just a front into an instant success, and the targets of their surveillance become regular customers. And soon, the four cops uncover a wider conspiracy.

Lobster Cop is an unassuming, consistently amusing little comedy that benefits from a engaging and complementary quartet of leads: the ever-excellent Wang Qianyuan on top comedic form, providing depth and emotion under a layer of buffoonery, Yuan Shanshan channelling Kate McKinnon as his weird but sexy love/hate partner, Liu Hua bringing salty warmth as the “too old for this shit” father figure, and Zhou Yu mixing insolence and frailty as the team’s rookie. The film doesn’t do much with its central concept of a front becoming more successful than the investigation it covers, but it does show unexpected heart, as the inner wounds of the four detectives come to light (well, three of them at least: Yuan Shanshan gets a bit shortchanged), and there’s some solid tension as things take a more serious and brutal turn in the last third. Still, it never takes itself seriously, ending in the rather hilarious cross-cutting of three final fights full of inspired physical comedy. Though prominently featured in the film’s marketing, comedy star Shen Teng only makes an extended cameo at the beginning.

Long Story Short: A consistently amusing little comedy with unexpected heart and some solid tension, Lobster Cop doesn’t do much with its central concept but benefits from a engaging quartet of leads. ***

Advertisements
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: