WO HU (2006) HK
review by Neo

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1000 too much undercover cops…
Eric Tsang is fast becoming the next Danny Lee, but just a direct switch of the same role. The later is probably the most well-known cop in the HK cinema history as Lee Sir. So much so, that some jokes that Lee Sir probably thinks he is a cop in real life. Such is the case for Eric Tsang, who after the success of Infernal Affairs has appeared in endless films as the triad boss. Sooner or later, he too will think he is a real triad when he goes down the street, then discovering he is a head too short to be recognised. Still, when thinking about Eric Tsang, one can not help but come up with the image of the moment he pushed all the food of the police desk. It was a moment of cinema classic and likewise a moment to remember. So why the hell is Neo going on about Eric, well you probably guessed, he is playing a triad boss once again. With Wong Jing in the production line and his usual collaborator Marco Mak as the letterhead, together they produced something interesting to watch, even if the ending is a bit too flat. Like Colour of Truth, it comes to prove that when the maniac Wong Jing is serious, he can work wonders, and when it comes to comedy, let’s talk about something else.

Undercover cop infiltrating the triad society sounds a lot like a little movie called Infernal Affairs. Luckily or unfortunately, Wong Jing attempts to be somewhat original within a load of clichés, by emphasising on not one undercover, but 1000. Yes, you heard me right, 1000 freaken undercover cops. How the hell did the police force manage to force that many young aspiring cops to become Tony Leung Chiu Wai-s are really beyond our imagination? Perhaps, the only reason is that they all aspire to be as cool as Chiu Wai. Actually, I should really care less about how this idea came about and rather concentrate on the quality of the movie.

The movie started off extremely promising, and the idea of 1000 undercover is absolutely intriguing to watch. However, my initial fears was coming to life as the movie drag on and on, the focus becomes not on any one of the 1000 undercover, but rather Eric Tsang. Sure, Eric is an interesting face, and probably can make most people laugh when picturing him as a triad boss in real life. Nonetheless, he is really a great supporting actor, and when thrust upon the leading role, this is where the most went down the wrong hill. Luckily he is ably and terrifically supported by someone with the name of Francis Ng.

Ng scene stealing cameo in Herman Yau’s On the Edge was memorably breathtaking, and here he plays a similar role, if only a little more comical. As usual Ng’s overacting is immensely fun to watch, including a hilarious scene when Ng and Jordan Chan gather a bunch of wanna-be gangster. With that being said, Jordan Chan is the weak link of the trio, and despite a somewhat funny performance, which include the funny scene of his girlfriend’s ring tone – is the chick in a sexy voice – “lo gung lo gung, continue la”. Chan isn’t choosing the right roles, a more than capable dramatic actor, deserve far better than this nonsense role.

One thing that Infernal Affairs lacked is any sort of romance. Here, Wong Jing shows a typical modern-day romance in a cynical yet true way. As Neo love to proclaim in a WKW manner, love is all about timing, its no good meeting the right person at the right place, but at the wrong time. In other words, it’s no good meeting someone too early or too late. Sure, it sounds very pessimistic, but from time to time, there are exceptions. It was by pure chance that Eric met Sonja Kwok. From there they started a relationship that seems more realistic to a couple of young adults. Still, despite the obvious age difference, the chemistry is still there. The romance is random, yet there is this feeling within the audience, which almost reminds them of their own past and the manner of how most of their relationships started. Then all of a sudden you realise that Eric is not 30, 40, but 50. Then again, this is a Wong Jing’s flick.

All in all, this is really a flick that shows more about the triad bosses trying to offset each other, rather than a flick that stresses upon the glorified genre – undercover. It is shocking to realise that director Mak didn’t follow in what Neo acclaimed it as – “an original idea from a well worn cliché.” The lack of development of any real characters and some unnecessary overacting, are really the downside of Wu Ho. Sometimes, you wonder, when will HK make a great movie again, and in a scale of probability, it is already pretty low, let alone a movie by Wong Jing. Seriously, maybe I was expecting too much, but it can’t be my entire fault, when the main attraction of the film is the 1000 undercover cops. To be honest, this isn’t exactly as bad as I am sounding, as once again, it is still slightly above being wholly average. This isn’t necessary a bad thing, as most Wong Jing movies are a par below average, but still, I expected more. Call me a realist, or whatever, no matter what this flick is still a missed opportunity…

I rate it 7/10.

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Directed by: Marco MAK and WANG Guangli
Starring: Eric TSANG, Francis NG, Jordan CHAN, Shawn YUE, Sonijia KWOK, QIN Hailu, Michael MIU, Chilam Cheung, Nie Yuan, Na Wei.
Genre: Triads, Undercover
Reviewed by Andrew (Neo), February 2007