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Undercover Duet

Ronald Cheng and Mark Wu are the Undercover Duet.
Chinese: 至尊無賴  
Year: 2015
Director: Mark Wu Yiu-Fai
Producer: James Tu, Albert Lee, Tin Kai-Man
Writer: Mark Wu Yiu-Fai, Lam Fung
Action: Lee Tat-Chiu
Cast: Ronald Cheng Chung-Kei, Mark Wu Yiu-Fai, Ava Yu Kiu, Yang Jiangping, Zhang Chi, Peter So Man-Fung, Eric Wang Chuan-Jun, Terry Zou Wen-Zheng, Louis Cheung Kai-Chung, Wen Chao, Lau Kong, Tony Ho Wah-Chiu, Wan Kwong, Chrissie Chau Sau-Na, Cheng Tse-Sing, Angelina Zhang, Sammy Sum Chun-Hin, Phat Chan, Fung Hak-On, Jacqueline Chong Si-Man, Gregory Wong Chung-Yiu, Justin Cheung Kin-Seng, Mak Ling-Ling, Jessica C, Tin Kai-Man, Leung Ga-Kei, Winston Yeh
  The Skinny: Overlong and occasionally tiresome buddy cop comedy that still has entertainment value thanks to decent action sequences and a fine starring turn from Ronald Cheng. While not a good film, Undercover Duet is better than expected – which counts as an achievement given the quality of current Hong Kong Cinema.
by Kozo:
3D Sex and Zen studio China 3D brings us Undercover Duet, a sporadically entertaining buddy film that’s as irritating as it is enjoyable. Ronald Cheng stars as Dream Dragon Lau (or D-Dragon), a wacky cop who works undercover in the triads. D-Dragon wants out of the risky Infernal Affairs life, and is asked by his superior officer (celebrity feng shui expert Peter So) to shadow James Man (Mark Wu, who also wrote and directed), an annoying professional extra and wannabe celebrity who witnesses a hit-and-run accident. The suspect is Roger Li (Terry Zou), the son of a wealthy tycoon (Lau Kong), but Roger’s assistant Ho Wing-Yat (Eric Wang) takes the blame instead, setting off a media furor and plenty of white collar teeth gnashing. D-Dragon is childhood friends with James, giving him the perfect avenue to investigate. However, when James participates in a male beauty pageant called “The Man of China”, a couple of kung-fu bad guys (Zhang Chi and Yang Jiangping) pursue him with violence and/or chicanery in mind. Can D-Dragon save his pal and also get him to testify?

Undercover Duet deserves credit for offering a decent commercial premise, as generic as it may be. However, the filmmakers nuke that goodwill by overdoing the plot twists and talky snarking, resulting in a wheezing 110-minute mediocrity that seems longer than that. The comedy is fine at points, with a few gross-out bits and some witty surprises. However, some scenes take forever, and the plot twists are undone by their droning explanations and the general lack of tension. The attempted drama, having to do with friendship and justice and not lying to your friend about being an undercover cop, is perfunctory and pretty bad. Also, subplots aren’t integrated well into the film. D-Dragon’s romantic interest is James’ sister Kwan (Ava Yu), who’s going blind and needs expensive treatment that James can only afford by winning the Man of China contest. James supposedly has to choose between helping his family or seeking justice, but rather than being a running plot thread, these ideas only appear for overdone emotional grandstanding. The action scenes are diverting, however, with solid choreography and parkour that are a step above what you might find in current HK action-comedies.

The film also reinforces Ronald Cheng’s rep as one of Hong Kong’s best comic actors. D-Dragon is a cloying character with street sass and cartoony fighting skills – he was partially raised in Harlem, and possesses an unbeatable technique called “The Dragon Punch” that takes three minutes to fully charge – but Cheng makes him wickedly enjoyable. His English dialogue, in particular, is funny thanks to wall-to-wall profanity and Cheng’s natural delivery, which puts Michael Wong and his trademark shtick to shame. However, even Cheng and his F-bombs get tiring since director Mark Wu lets him run wild until he largely wears out his welcome. Wu also gives himself too much room; his performance is OK, and he’s gamely the butt of many jokes, but Wu participates in most of the film’s embarrassing emotional moments. On the plus side, some gags satirize current Hong Kong topics, and a parade of cameos by lower-tier stars helps pass the time. As the Hong Kong approximation of a C-grade Hollywood action-comedy, Undercover Duet has sufficient charm. It’s not a lot but given the factors involved (Mark Wu and China 3D), getting this much is surprising enough. (Kozo, 10/2015)



DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Panorama (HK)
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language
Dolby Digital EX / DTS EX
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

*Also available on Blu-ray Disc
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