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臥虎 (2006)
Wo Hu

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 04/03/2008
Summary: slick, solid.

This is a slick and solid entertainment. Director Marco Mak and writer/producer Wong Jing deliver another tawdry melodrama about criminal enterprise in the post-Handover era. Solid, interesting cast does a great job bringing the script to life. This project is ever so slightly marred by a somewhat implausible romance between Eric Tsang and Sonia Kwok that only begins to resonate after the film is over. It resonates enough to warrant a second viewing because Wong Jing's writing is getting better and better. Any fan of Francis Ng Chun-Yu will want to see this film.

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Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 09/09/2007
Summary: Good-bye Jiang Hu?

I agree with the other reviewers; this is a good, but not great, movie. Great technique and acting, but a little hollow.

This one has a more realistic feel to it than the standard triad movies, though I have no way of knowing whether it actually is. The movie presents a triad world in flux, the old guard is on the way out and being replaced with a new generation, one that doesn't value honor and unity as much as the older one did. This isn't the first HK movie to show this transition, but the transition is much more pronounced in Wo Hu.

Maybe that's why the movie left me feeling a little low. I felt I was witnessing the end of the triad world as I've come to know it. If this trend continues there'll be no more Young & Dangerous, no One Nite in Mongkok, no Mission, no more Infernal Affairs. Instead, we'll have movies about brainless, vicious killers; glorified street hoods. Scarface descending from The Godfather and Good Fellas. Say it ain't so!

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 06/17/2007
Summary: 6.5/10 - shameless, but enjoyable

That old thief Wong Jing is still trying to milk the Infernal Affairs gravy train with undercover cop themed films, but decides to split his odds by lifting big pieces from Johnnie To's ELECTION too for WO HU (Crouching Tiger) - even inserting a deliberate reference to To's film from one of the characters in case we didn't notice. Shamelessness elevated to an art form!

The result is thankfully a pretty strong film that doesn't actually feel as plagiaristic as it should, and which I probably enjoyed more than ELECTION. Wong wisely recruits some good actors and keeps the script focused, whilst Marco Mak adds a veneer of slickness and polish.

No masterpiece, but pretty enjoyable.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 02/04/2007
Summary: agree with mrblue

There is not much more to add to mrblues review, which i totally agree with!!

But my critisms for me is this feel liks a pro triad movie? WHY?
SPOILER : the ending says dont let distrust effect your group otherwise see what happens, you fall apart. UNITY is the best. Also if your a undercover, the police force will keep you forever and manipulate you so you can't trust them. Well thats the message i get anyway

There is a little bit of black comedy added to this movie, which actually doesnt disrupt the flow of the movie or change the fact that this is mainly a serious crime movie

Its good to see Miu Kiu-Wai in a movie also

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 02/01/2007

In what some might consider a sad commentary on the state of Hong Kong movies, not only is Wong Jing the most prolific of the current crop of HK film-makers, he's become one of the most reliable. Sure, Wong's name is still attached to junk like Kung Fu Mahjong 2, but over the past few years, he (as a director, writer and/or producer) has been attached to some of HK's better output. Even though it is derivative of Infernal Affairs, Wo Hu (aka Operation Undercover) is a good Triad picture that shows that there is still a bit of life yet in the Hong Kong movie industry.

Written and produced by Wong Jing, and helmed by his long-time partner in crime Marco Mak, Wo Hu is a story of the cops attempting to flood the Triads with enough undercover officers to try and bring all of the major gangs down at once. Unlike most films of this type, it does not focus on the police and undercover officers -- rather, it is about the power struggle that happens in one particular group. The influx of undercovers highlights the division between the "old guard" (led by Eric Tsang and Francis Ng) and the "new school" (led by Jordan Chan and Julian Cheung).

Wo Hu operates with more than a little debt to Infernal Affairs, even going as far as to making specific references to the movie. And certainly most veteran Hong Kong film viewers will be able to guess most of the plot twists before they materialize. But Wong Jing's script is solid, only losing a bit of steam when it tends to focus on side stories that ultimately end up going nowhere (which thankfully doesn't occupy too much of the movie's running time). The actors, particularly Eric Tsang and Francis Ng, do a great job in fleshing out their characters and make them into believeable people, rather than the two-dimensional cardboard cutouts all too usually present in the Triad genre.

Sure, there are some problems present here. The romance subplot between the paunchy Eric Tsang and the former Miss Hong Kong Sonja Kwok -- probably some wishful thinking on Wong Jing's part -- is a stretch to say the least. And, like in many of his films, Marco Mak tends to go a bit overboard with fancy camera techniques and flashy editing. But overall, Wo Hu was one of the better movies to come out of Hong Kong over the past year and is definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of Triad pictures.

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Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: steve_cole1
Date: 01/07/2007
Summary: Good Film not much more

Just Watched it and as all other films in this area does live up to it Francis Ng and Eric Tsang are on their usual form . Not much different from any of the other infernal affairs wannabe films but the actors mentioned make it worthwile and a good watch

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 01/04/2007
Summary: return of the mak...

a couple of years ago, the hong kong police decided to implement a new strategy of flooding the triads with, a rumoured one thousand, undercover cops; their aim was to polarize the gangs, create paranoia, distrust and bring them down from the inside.

superintendent wai (wiu kiu-wai) has his focus on one particular group; jimmy (eric tsang), fei (jordan chan), tommy (julian cheung) and chiu (francis ng). as the police's plan begins to start working, we begin to see the strain on the relationships between these men...

well, i really enjoyed 'cop on a mission', the first marco mak film i saw, but the second, which like 'wo hu' was a collaboration with wong jing, 'slim till dead' was bloody dreadful. thankfully, 'wo hu' is much closer to the former in style and tone.

i'm pretty sure that this film will benefit from a second viewing as there were several points, in the first thirty minutes, when i felt i was getting a little lost. although, i managed to make sense of the multitude of characters and their complex relationships and enjoy the film. after the slick opening credits, the film lapses into a pretty stark and grim portrait of both the police and triads; both parties suffer as a result of their chosen path, it's imact on them and those around them.

there's been a recent glut of triad films, particularly those with a focus on the trails of undercover cops and 'wo hu' is a welcome addition to them. the film, filled with solid performances from all of the above named actors, particularly tsang and ng, moves at a good pace, has an engaging narrative, good characterisation and is executed with aplomb.

good stuff.