Tactical Unit - Partners (2008)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2012-10-28
The only remarkable part of “Tactical Unit: Partners”—or, to be more accurate the only part of it that is not conventional, clichéd and commonplace—is the fierce ethnic politics among Chinese cops, Filipina domestics and South Asian criminals. Much of the movie and most its action take place in the Indian underworld of the SAR where everyone is hyper-aware of his place in the racial pecking order which seems to be on the level of the American South in the 1950s.

Hornet, the nephew of a powerful superintendent, is newly assigned to the tactical unit and is given a chilly reception by the street-hardened veterans although welcomed by Sam and Madam May, the ramrod and moral backbone, respectively, of the squad. Hornet holds back from physical confrontation more from confusion than cowardice. This is anathema to the rest of the squad—their response to most provocations is to swing their hard rubber truncheons, including at suspects who have already been subdued and handcuffed.

South Asians, particularly Nepalese, are the main bad guys. They run drugs, stockpile weapons, prey upon vulnerable Filipina maids and have really atrocious haircuts. They also serve as the racial “other”—they are described in the subtitles as black as opposed to the Chinese who are white. Only the Chinese are allowed to reach across the racial divide to their inferior brethren but any sense of human equality is temporary and conditional, so we get one scene of Lam Suet as Sarge, a typical Lam Suet sweaty, sloppy mess, telling Velu that even though Velu is black and Sarge is white both still have red blood in their veins. A few minutes later Sarge strong-arms Velu and an Indian confederate, slapping them around and insisting that they speak Cantonese and not Hindi. Which they do.

Hornet is able to show he belongs among the tough guys by shooting a suspect who had kidnapped a young boy and who keeping everyone away by holding a chopper against the child’s throat. Velu, his brother and his uncle decide they have made enough money in Hong Kong and head back to India and a few score Nepalese are arrested, beaten and sent to enjoy the criminal justice system of the PRC.

The movie ends with uber-tough guy Sam telling Hornet that if he gets through his posting in the PTU he will be a real policeman—which is strange since Sam is still in the tactical unit after years on the force.

There are the usual drawbacks that occur in police movies made for the small screen—cramped sets, truncated action scenes, chases that cover only a few feet—but since they are typical of the genre are merely noticeable and not really annoying.