Tactical Unit: Human Nature 機動部隊 ─ 人性 (2009) – Hong Kong

Lam Suet single-handedly lifts the film above expectations…

Review by Neo: After the uplifting and emotional success in No Way Out, it left the latest instalment in the Tactical Unit series, a pretty hard act to follow. While, it falls short of matching the heights that the previous film reached, Human Nature does not embarrass and thanks to leading star Lam Suet, the film is better than it should be. One of the most underrated actors in the HK industry comes in the form of a fat man, who seems to be enjoying the food more than actual acting. Still, it is little wonder why Lam Suet needs to do so little and yet still able to produce memorable and funny characters as the banana peel cop in PTU, the coward personality in Mad Detective and as a gunman in The Mission. It is about fitting time that Lam gets rewarded for 13 years of supporting roles and luckily, Lam nails the opportunity and performs admirably.

The movie is basically about Lam Suet running into debts after debts and ended up being forced to choose between his moralities of being a policeman and the choice of crossing the line to be free of his debt troubles.

Once again, the plotline does not intrigue a bell or light, but it is an adequate enough starting point that allows some real acting from Lam Suet. It seems as though, all this review is talking about is Lam Suet, one must be questioning whether or not this is a PTU movie. The answer is yes and no, like No Way Out, director Ng Yiu Kuen smartly uses PTU as a backdrop and diverge the attention to real human emotions about the struggles that a policeman face when he is being led to the point of questioning his own morality between right and wrong.

Lam Suet have done himself and the producer Johnnie To’s proud. Johnnie To, have been Lam Suet’s Number one supporter ever since casting him in The Mission and Lam have been ever present in nearly everyone of his productions, no matter how small the role maybe. While I wouldn’t say this is Lam’s best performance, but there are moments when Lam is looking at the money that really shows that cops are ultimately human. Real humans meaning they all share the same problems that everyone around the world is facing. It is easy in today’s society to criticise cops for focusing on parking tickets, rather than actually attempting to catch a crook.

I remember reading in the newspaper the other day, about the bikie gang bashing at the airport. The media was quick to condemn the airport security, as a bikie gang member is bashed up almost to the point of death, yet there was no police to be seen. This is in direct contradiction and contrast to an old lady getting off a car in the airport and getting fine in the process by cops within seconds in a no parking zone. It does seem to suggest something, but taking the view of a cop ranting his feelings, saying it is not that the cops does not want to catch the big fish or crooks, but rather most of their superior are more focused on meeting budgets, statistics, minimising trouble, which in turn created a police force that is more focus on data entry than actually making the city of Sydney a better place.

So what does that have to do with this film, technically, it doesn’t, but in reality, it kind of reminded me of that recent incidence and rather than ranting it on the diary, I felt like writing it here. Back to the movie, the usual stable cast of Simon Yam and Maggie Siu is once again playing the same role, but as mentioned before, Lam Suet is the real star attraction on show here. Other supporting actors like Gordon Lam as the overacting shark loan gangster is entertaining and fun to watch.

All in all, Tactical Unit: Human Nature is an entertaining film, rather than an engaging one, but nonetheless it is interesting enough to sustain the audience attention. While the film’s story is rather basic, some credit must be given to director Andy Ng for trying to create a film than just simply plotting along with it. The focus on aspects of human nature, decision making, and choices and ultimately the issue of crossing the line and the manipulation of the truth are all evident issues that comprises within most of producer Johnnie To’s films. If there is one person that To would love to thank it would be Lam Suet. Lam created a character within himself that the audience have already gotten used to and the result is that the audience is easily able to relate to his deeds and the troubles that he is facing. Lam is a realist and an actor that rarely needs to overact and while an award may seem a bit farfetched, he should be proud of what he has been able to achieve. Human Nature is certainly a film that easily walks above our expectations and like human nature, the series live to fight another day … (Neo 2009)

I rate it 7/10

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