By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
The hottest talents from Hong Kong are the highlight in Undercover Punch and Gun (潜行者), and the eye-candy this film offers is very pleasing, even for the martial arts enthusiast. This movie originally came out in 2019 as Undercover vs Undercover. I doubt the producers were intending to make a play on Mad Magazine’s Spy vs Spy even though the concept is almost similiar.
As for which title is better, I’m glad the rename is used. This bare bones release is appropriate. The standard trailers and English dub (I watched in Mandarin myself) make up this home video edition.
This martial arts crime drama sees rival police agencies forced to team up to deal with a drug ring. Real-life pals, Philip Ng Wan-Jung, Andy On Chi-kit and Van Ness Wu from Star Runner reunite in this film and deliver some terrific Jackie Chan style fight sequences.
When Wu (Ng) sees his mob boss die and the role is passed on to him, things get more than a little hairy for who to trust. His superiors want him to go deeper, and everyone he’s supposed to command–including Ha (On) to whom he has to deal with, Tiger (Wu) the informant who eventually has to get his feet wet and a handful of minions, it’s tough to find someone to rely on. The love interest is expected, as Wu is dating his former boss’ daughter and she helps move the plot along.
Anyone not knowing the history of this film (it was made in 2015) might have wondered why some gangsters were wearing face masks–it wasn’t to keep them safe from toxins, but it’s the norm in smoggy Hong Kong.
The throwback to the 90s Hong Kong style action films is good. Although the directorial approach is a touch messy, and the story wavered at times, I was invested in wondering how the tale would wrap itself up. It began by showing Wu in a precarious situation, trapped in a crate, and he manages to escape before the bomb he thought he was trapped in would explode. As he looks back at all that’s transpired, I had to laugh that he managed to get away.
As with other movies made during the time, you want to stick around to watch the behind-the-scenes reels as the credits roll, hence why no other features are really needed.