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機動部隊─警例 (2008)
Tactical Unit - The Code

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 11/16/2012
Summary: Dull and predictable

In “Tactical Unit: The Code”, the Hong Kong police are depicted as brutal, stupid and corrupt. Willing to beat up a suspect when they can’t get evidence to arrest him, unable to track down one of their comrades who has had a breakdown and is running around police headquarters armed and ready to kill a superior officer and apparently unable to operate in units smaller than four. This last is a real problem—it makes them easy to find when an anti-corruption officer is looking for them and makes trailing a suspect difficult since four uniformed police officers trying to look inconspicuous on the seeming deserted nighttime streets of Hong Kong means the object of their attention is always aware of them.

There are two story lines. In the first Sergeant Lee Wing Sam and of his subordinates are caught on a surveillance camera roughing up a suspect in an alley. The guy they are pushing around is Chan Kam Shing, a mid-level drug dealer, unbalanced enough to stab a high profile fellow criminal in front of a nightclub full of witnesses. He is played by Cheung Wing-Cheung, an actor who has carved out a respectable career playing demented villains that the audience finds it easy to hate. His character here is such a lowlife that we agree he should be beaten up by the cops.

There are problems within the unit as well. PC Eight has made a debt declaration, a list of outstanding legal indebtedness which he thinks will allow him to get help from a police benevolent fund in paying it off. It turns out declaration is a two edged sword—while it might qualify him for help, it can also be used to remove him from active duty by the anti-corruption squad since it shows he would be a target for loan sharks. The command officers dealing with PC Eight’s debt difficulties and the brutality case against Sergeant Sam are incompetent, fearful of the public and always willing to put expediency before justice. So the naturally make all the wrong decisions in both cases leading to the final showdown in which Chan is arrested and escapes from custody at police headquarters at the same time that Eight shows up for the end of his last shift committed to shooting a police bureaucrat and himself. The HQ has lots of balconies, open walkways and outside stairs so we can see the pursuing Tactical Unit cops almost catch both Chan and Eight so many times that it is monotonous.

The ending is dull and completely predictable.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 03/25/2009

The first of five made-for-TV movies based on PTU, Tactical Unit: The Code reunites most of the cast and crew from the original film, but is sadly missing the touch of Johnnie To. This picture is serviceable enough, but without To's trademark style, it comes off as feeling a bit average, especially in the crowded world of Hong Kong cops-and-robbers movies.

Like the first movie, Tactical Unit: The Code centers on a cop named Bill (Simon Yam), a hard-nosed man who regularly crosses between both sides of the thin blue line to get justice. His rough methods to deter a criminal named Shing (Cheung Wing-Cheung) are caught on a surveillance camera, so CAPO (the anti-corruption unit) begins an investigation. While trying to find Shing so that Bill can "convince" him not to testify, things become more complicated as one of Bill's men, Eight (Wong Sze-Yan) starts losing it after finding out he is being busted down to a desk job.

There's nothing particularly wrong with Tactical Unit: The Code, but then again, there's nothing really outstanding about it, either. Unlike a lot of Johnnie To's films, which add a lot of quirky characters, outstanding style, and great uses of dark humor to turn your average cop thriller into the cinematic equivalent of filet mignon, Law Wing-Cheong's process comes up with something more like a McDonald's hamburger. It's cheap and gets the job done, but it's nothing really all that exciting, and probably nothing you're really not going to have any sort of deep discussions about afterwards.

Overall, though, Tactical Unit: The Code is competent enough that it should still satisfy fans of the genre, and this reviewer is interested in seeing the other films in the series. But one would hope things improve a bit as time goes on and we get to learn about the characters more. Perhaps that's what the film-makers had set out to do here. Not create the ultimate cop drama per se, but make a solid foundation for a series of films. If that was indeed their intention, then they have succeeded, at least to an extent. The next entries are going to have to be more exciting, though, if they expect viewers to stick with it.

Reviewer Score: 6