Undercover Punch and Gun (2019)

undercoverpunchandgun

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Shot four years ago, this homage to 80-90s era Hong Kong action cinema is finally released and while it suffers from a typical plot, the action makes up for it.

King Wu is an undercover cop. However, he has fallen deep undercover and he has fallen for his boss’ daughter, Dawnie, a tattoo artist. When Bob, King’s boss, thinks local rascal Tiger is the mole within the group before a drug deal, the deal goes awry, and Bob is killed in the melee. King breaks the news to Dawnie. To make matters worse, Bob’s boss, Madame Tung convinces King to become Bob’s successor, which he reluctantly accepts.

King meets the head of the drug smuggling operation, Ha, a mysterious figure who plans to earn King’s trust by giving him one task. Ha wants King to find Bob’s drug cook and bring her to him. King soon discovers that Tiger is in fact an informant for the police and soon finds himself with Eva, a Special Forces operative who reveals Ha’s past as a rogue operative and has a personal agenda of vengeance against him. When Ha discovers the truth about King, he kidnaps Dawn and now King, Tiger, and Eva must work together to stop the insane Ha once and for all.

Shot in 2015, writers and directors Lui Koon-Nam and Frankie Tam attempted to pay homage to the glory days of 1980s and early 1990s Hong Kong action cinema. They succeed on one part but could have improved on another. However, that doesn’t stop this from being a popcorn movie for the fans. There have been far worse movie gems than this. So, the filmmaking duo get an A for effort in terms of its execution.

The film’s flaw seems to be in the story, but much worse, some of the dialogue. The story is a run-by-the-numbers book plot of an undercover cop who must stop a drug smuggling king. There is the nice little twist in the fact that a gangster he had befriended is actually an informant, unaware of his new buddy’s real job. While the plot is just run of the mill, the seriousness of the dialogue is, especially from Andy On’s villain Ha, on the border of total ridiculousness. When you hear a line that says, “And I was on a follower on your Weibo? [click] Not anymore!”, then you know there are some serious issues that is borderline laughable.

However, the film’s saving grace is in its action sequences. Paying homage to the late 80s-early 90s style of kickboxing-style action and little wirework, lead star Philip Ng, who had time and time again worked as an action director on films and TV, really gets to show what he can do in the action department here. He is blessed to have real-life friends Van Ness Wu (as the gangster/informant Tiger) and Andy On, who because of their friendship, are able to showcase some great action in the film. While Ng and On get to show their kickboxing skills, Wu gets to not only do some crazy stunt work, including jumping onto a moving car, but his knife fight against Aaron Aziz is a short, sweet, and frenetic fight scene.

Undercover Punch and Gun is a total popcorn action film whose fight scenes are the saving grace, with the dialogue, notably from the villain, being really laughable. Nevertheless, Hong Kong action fans may want to give this a chance to view even just once.

WFG RATING: C+

A Pineapple Movie Limited production. Directors: Lui Koon-Nam and Frankie Tam. Producers: Gordon Chan and Charlie Wong. Writers: Lui Koon-Nam, Frankie Tam, Yang Zhi, Huang Huihui, Li Yinsheng, Link Ling-San, and Ham Chun-Yu. Cinematography: Cheung Man-Po. Editing: Azrael Chung.

Cast: Philip Ng, Van Ness Wu, Andy On, Joyce Feng, Aka Chio, Chi Shuai, Aaron Aziz, Jiang Luxia, A Wei, Lam Suet, Carrie Ng, Ada Wong, James Chan, Peter Chan, Sean Tierney, Scarlett Lam, Nicholas Tse.

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