The Tracker (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Any successful Grade A movie will immediately spur on the grade-b filmmakers to produce clones. Given a Memento, there must be a Time Lapse.

The Tracker is, more or less, a grade-b version of the successful Rush Hour movies, strongly flavored with the spice of Romeo Must Die. The smart-alecky ex-supercop teams up with the martial arts master to battle some heavy-duty baddies. In this case they are looking for a kidnapped woman who was sister to one of them, lover to the other, and they get caught in a turf war between the Russian Mob and the Chinese Mob.  


Lexa Doig shows her breasts in a hot tub scene. There is a fleeting upper body shot and a long shot from the side. It is not lingering, but it is clear.

There is also a brief, motion-blurry look at Doig's Southern Hemisphere as she exits a tub.

I don't know. If I was trying to fight crime with only one partner, I think I'd be more modest in my aspirations. Maybe I'd take on the Tyrolean mob and the ever-dangerous Lichtenstein mob, if for no other reason than I figure I can kick the ass of any guy wearing lederhosen and a feather in his tiny cap. I mean, if you take away their Alpenhorns, how can they even communicate to their fellow mobsters? They gonna tie a message to a goat and send him out to the next valley for reinforcements, like Lassie? "Run, boy! Run, oh my boy!" 

Anyway, despite the fact that China and Russia are very large countries, these two guys are undaunted, and they raise some hell in New York, and blow some stuff up good.

An NYPD captain of detectives then remembers when the supercop was on his team, and was always in trouble, so the detective tells them to stay out of his turf or he'll have them doing K.P. at Attica, and other such stuff from the Big Book of Cop Movie Cliches. Luckily, the cop's former partner is still there, and helps our beleaguered heroes. Together with the wheelchair-bound ex-partner and a really tough female cabbie, they manage to defeat both Russia and China and rescue the kidnapped girl.

You'd think that would have been a good enough day's work to save the day, but there are additional plot twists to deal with.

If you read down to here, you realize that there is nothing innovative about this movie. It contains all the usual cop movie cliches, and the martial arts scenes are below average, but - you know what - it isn't a bad movie. Here are some plusses:

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen letterboxed, 1.85:1

  • no major features

  • The four main characters who end up as a team have well-defined personalities, and the banter between them is amusing. 
  • Hey, good characterization and some good laughs, that's better than you get in most straight-to-vid cop movies, but this one also has a good plot twist at the end that took me by surprise. 
  • It also has some moments that are supposed to be chilling which, because of good cutting and use of music, are actually chilling. 
  • And there is a prologue that I found to be very entertaining, which shows the ex-supercop (the "tracker" of the title) bringing a fugitive bride to justice during her wedding reception.
  • The guy who directed this had never directed anything before, and he doesn't do anything very fancy with the camera, but I was impressed by the fact that it is crisply edited and the scene transitions are smooth.
  • The set decoration is extraordinary in some ways. 
  • Russell Wong has become a better actor than pretty much any other martial arts dude, even if his fighting isn't at the top level.

Sure it ain't Lethal Weapon, but it ain't so bad, either. 


Amazingly, I found myself entertained by a martial arts cops film starring Casper Van Dien! Reasons include a reasonably coherent and involved plot, decent dialogue, some characterization, interesting supporting characters and decent photography, not to mention Lexa Doig's breasts. Even more amazingly, when I read Scoopy's review, he also found it surprisingly watchable!

Van Dien is a private investigator in LA working for insurance companies, former NYPD, former best friend of Russell Wong, and former main squeeze of Long's sister, Lexa Doig. Seems Wong and Van Dien studied martial arts together under his father, which supposedly forms a sacred bond. The two parted when Doig left Van Dien, and Van Dien blamed Wong. Van Dien left the NYPD when he blamed himself for his partner being shot.

When Doig's husband is killed and she is kidnapped, Wong recruits a reluctant Van Dien to go back to New York and help him find his sister. They meet up with a feisty woman cabby at the airport, then acquire Van Dien's wheelchair-bound ex-partner, and the four Musketeers are off to the crusades against the Chinese and Russian mobs and the NYPD. There are several plot curves and twists along the way, but there are clues from the beginning which could have been used to predict the ending.

While this is not a memorable film, or one I would go out of my way to suggest, it is solid entertainment. C.

The Critics Vote

  • no major reviews

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 5.4 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C (both reviewers). Surprisingly watchable for a straight-to-vid with Van Dien. Although it is a better movie than most straight-to-vid efforts, it doesn't have much nudity. It tries too hard, in fact, to be a worthwhile movie, and doesn't try hard enough to please the straight-to-vid audience.

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