Paul Rudd’s Forgotten Hong Kong Action Movie
The release of Ant-Man 3: Ant-Man and the Wasp 2: Quantumania 1 is a reminder of how profoundly weird it is that Paul Rudd, an actor best known for rom-coms and dick-joke-heavy comedies, is now playing a superhero in a $200 million action/sci-fi movie. Look at him, out there in his superhero suit. Who would have thought? It’s slightly less weird, however, when you consider that Rudd was already an action/sci-fi star 23 years ago... in Hong Kong. With his hair bleached.
That’s the trailer for Gen-Y Cops, also known as Gen-X Cops 2, also known as Jackie Chan Presents: Metal Mayhem — twist: Jackie Chan has absolutely nothing to do with it. If you somehow failed to grasp the plot from that random collection of two-second clips masquerading as a trailer, it’s about a group of loose-cannon Hong Kong cops who butt heads with the FBI over a government robot that gets hacked and starts trying to kill innocent people. That’s what government tanks are for.
You might understandably assume that Rudd only appears for like a minute due to the fact that the “trailer” reuses the same shot of him turning his head four times, but no, he’s a central character. Rudd plays Ian Curtis, a troubled English musician who leads an influential post-punk band and— wait, wrong Ian Curtis. This one’s an FBI agent/trained martial artist (thanks to the magic of stunt doubles) who initially battles the protagonists but eventually joins forces with them when he realizes he hates killer robots even more.
The movie ends with Rudd helping throw the robot into a river, then telling his rivals there’s one more thing to settle: Finding the best bar in Hong Kong so they can celebrate. Or at least that’s what the subtitles claim he says; we have no idea, as he’s speaking Cantonese (skip to 2:14 below).
According to Rudd, he was the only English speaker on set, so they’d ask him for help with his dialogue, and he’d use that opportunity to say things that would amuse his friends at home. In one classic scene, he tells some characters who have been arrested, “Roseanne Barr Arnold will be President of the United States of America before you two punks see the light of day,” which makes a perfect setup for a sequel called Zoomer Cops once that inevitably happens.
Gen-Y Cops may not have made a big splash (or any splash) in the U.S., but it did affect Rudd’s life in a big way: It made him realize he’s allergic to MSG when he had soup during the flight to Hong Kong and then passed out in the bathroom and woke up with his arm inside the toilet.