Reviewer Score: 2
I don't know how many times I've yawned during this film's presentation. My very first yawn took place right after the 4 minutes of wordless gang fights, followed by a minute of police drill in the police academy, in the opening of the film. Speaking of the police drill, I'm in great doubt whether this story is set in HK or in Taiwan. Given that this film is made in Taiwan, the setting should be in Taiwan, but the English flag and the police uniform at the police academy have hinted that the story is set in HK. Oh well, I'll just assume the director used the wrong footage to tell the story.
Anyways, the real story begins with the 3 young and outstanding students from the police academy being asked to participate in a undercover mission to take down a criminal organization. At first, the 3 of them express hesitation to whether they should accept the mission or not, but Bill (played by Lee Law), who appears to be the leader out the group, immediately accepts the job and influences the other 2 to do the same. Now, learning they've accepted the undercover mission without much consideration, the audiences weren't given a general idea of what the 3 of them will have to do to achieve their mission, and neither did the audiences know how they've quickly gained trusts from the gang to do their first mission as thugs. It looks like those parts are skipped. However, what we do know is the 3 of them get into their character (as cocky thugs) quite fast, judging from their appearance and attitude, while they strive to take down every enemy during their gang missions. And of course, their commitment in murders eventually becomes an issue given that they're supposed to play a righteous role, but the 3 of them act like they don't give a shit about the issue and continue with their "crazy" mission. From that point on, the 3 of them still appear to act like real thugs since they hardly interact with their superior to take down the criminal organization, and the audiences still have no clue what the instruction was for their undercover mission. Also, after Bill's girlfriend and mother are killed, the 3 of them tend to kill the mob bosses through their own (illegitimate) means. As a result, before the 3 of them get arrested for their criminal acts under some cheery background music, they finally accomplish their mission by eliminating the whole organization, even though they've only done it for the revenge.
Lastly, despite how the story has made a poor depiction that this film is about being undercover (and it's also not entertaining as a gangster film), the ending could have been more thrilling if the final battle between the 3 protagonists and the criminal organization didn't result to be a cock-up! Because it's funny seeing how both sides think they've prepared a trap for their opponent, but what really happened was they didn't even get a chance to properly implement their plan.
I guess you can call this film a joint production since there's a mix of HK and Taiwanese actors starring in here.
Frankly, I watched this film because Kara Hui's name is listed under "the leading roles", but then it turns out she and Billy Chow are only cameos who get to show a bit of kung-fu moves before their character get killed. Very deceiving!
On the other hand, the 3 actors who played the protagonists couldn't express much emotions, as well as proper reactions, for the most parts. They appear to be like emotionless robots (like the Terminator) who express no fear or remorse for their criminal acts. Especially during their character's first kill, it is very strange they calmly killed their prey, given that they're fresh grads from the police academy and they haven't killed anyone before their undercover mission.
[The Production Crew:]
Everything appears to be extremely retrospective in general, making it hard (and thrilling) to believe this film is made in the late-90s. So it feels like as if the audiences are watching an action film that's made in the 70s. And what makes this film look retrospective is the way how the director depicts the cheesy plot with the corny sound effects, background music, choreography and shots, as well as the use of movie stars who are popular in the film industry during the 70s and 80s. Furthermore, for the Cantonese-dubbed version I watched, the way how characters spit their words out and how their conversations are full of dead air (even during an argument) truly make the film looks like the 70s.
Just like how some films from the 60s and 70s have their lack-of-common-sense moments, this film has some too. One dumb scene I've seen in this film is when the 3 protagonists are fighting against a mob boss (played by Billy Chow) during their first gang mission. One of the protagonists operates the arm of an excavating cart in hope to crush the mob boss, but surprisingly, instead of taking the chance to run further away from the cart to avoid getting crushed, the mob boss chooses to stay in one spot and tries to dodge the attack. And of course, it's pointless to dodge the attack when he's just standing in one spot, so that's why it's no doubt that he's a goner.
[Worth Watching A Second Time?]
Everything is really poorly scripted and produced in this film that's made in the late 90s. For those who enjoy watching retrospective films, I recommend going for a real action film from the 70s instead cuz this one is just terrible and not appealing.