Sunday, April 01, 2007

[HKIFF] Undercover (危險人物) (World Premiere)

Payback Time!

Something's wrong when you feel deep inside you that for the first 10 minutes, you might be watching a rehash of Infernal Affairs. Produced by Andrew Lau, Undercover stars Shawn Yue as Feng, in what might look as essential a reprisal of the role he played as the younger Tony Leung in Infernal Affairs, sent undercover to infiltrate gangsters, and looking for the way out and back to normalcy.

In fact, Undercover ventures closely to Herman Yau's post-undercover cop routine in On The Edge, as we look at how Feng assimilates himself with much difficulty, back to the force and society, while most of the time feeling great remorse for betraying the brotherhood he once was a part of, especially towards Brother Wah Ying (Ken Tong).

And he's unable to sever links to his alter ego, having his best friend, the drug dealer Fai (Sam Lee, from Dog Bite Dog), meet frequently for drug consumption. We look into Feng's duality, of different loyalties, until a crime is committed which puts the strain on his friendship with Fai.

Undercover plays out rather blandly, even with its twist ending which you can guess halfway through the movie. It tries to be sophisticated both storywise and with its technical qualities, but end up missing the mark on both counts - somehow it has this tele-movie quality and feel to it. It could have been potentially superior if it went further into exploring how a friend can become your worst enemy, since he knows so much about you, and can use intimate knowledge to destroy. It showed glimpses of it, but decided to branch off into another narrative track altogether, with much coincidences and road blocks marring the storyline.

The Chinese title is translated into "Dangerous Man", but this movie is anything but "dangerous" nor cutting edge. In its message of crime begetting retribution and of karma coming into play, it could have had come up with something more inspiring, so that the cast need not sleepwalk through familiar roles.

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