Site Features
- Asian Film Awards
- Site Recommendations

- Reader Poll Results

- The Sponsor Page
- The FAQ Page
 
support this site by shopping at
Click to visit YesAsia.com
Asian Blu-ray discs at YesAsia.com
 
 
 
 
 
Love Undercover 2: Love Mission
"Another step and we'll make another sequel!"

Miriam Yeung, Chow Chung and Daniel Wu in Love Undercover 2: Love Mission.
Chinese: 新紮師妹2 - 美麗任務  
Year: 2003  
Director: Joe Ma Wai-Ho  
Cast: Miriam Yeung Chin-Wah, Daniel Wu, Hui Siu-Hung, Guo Xiao-Dong, Lam Suet, Raymond Wong Ho-Yin, Sammy, Chow Chung, Wu Fung, Cheung Ying-Choi, Chan Man-Lui, Iris Wong Yat-Tung, Coco Chiang Yi, Hiro Hayama, Eileen Cha Siu-Yan, Fire Lee, Chow Ka-Sing, Emotion Cheung Kam-Ching (voice only)
The Skinny: Sometimes amusing sequel to the surprise hit Love Undercover gives us more Miriam Yeung, more Daniel Wu, and even more wackiness. What the film doesn't do is give us more reasons to care. Joe Ma: you're slipping.
 
Review
by Kozo:

Last year's Love Undercover heralded the arrival of a new box office star: Miriam Yeung Chin-Wah. The story of a mouthy female cop who falls in love with a suspected triad member on assignment, Love Undercover managed to feel funny and inspired among the usual romantic comedy copycats and tired popstar retreads. Yeung's fresh-scrubbed charm and nonsensical "just trying to get by" antics gave her an irresistible screen presence, and audiences responded with their hard-earned HK dollars. Given the film's popularity—and Miriam Yeung's skyrocketing box-office ability—a sequel was expected. Well...here it is.

When we last left Fong Lai-Kuen (Yeung), she had just solved the big case and won the love of her dashing would-be triad boyfriend Au Hoi-Man (Daniel Wu). Her supposedly superior law-enforcing skills earn her a ticket to bigger and better jobs, i.e. police negotiator and bomb squad member. Sadly, she fails at all the above jobs and is soon suspended from the force for her crappy policework, and probably her continuing whiny attitude. This makes Man exceptionally happy, because now he can have Kuen's silly, borderline annoying presence to himself 24-7.

But the lure of law enforcement draws Kuen back. At the behest of Chung Sir (Hui Siu-Hung), Kuen helps with the protection of the visiting Princess of Puerto Risi, Tasha (model Coco Chiang). Chung was originally supposed to put her up in a fancy hotel, but he lost the expense money when he fell asleep on the MTR, thus requiring some sort of quick fix to the problem. The solution: use Kuen's house as the hotel, and Kuen's colleagues as employees, a tactic that creates about fifty jokes, but probably only ten funny ones. A low percentage of actual laughs should be expected when you steal plots from reruns of The Cosby Show.

But the wackiness doesn't end there. Tasha has her eye on Man, which incenses Kuen. One thing leads to another, Kuen botches the assignment, and before you know it she's impersonating Tasha on an Interpol mission, which is led by Tasha's partner Lam Suet. Everyone goes to Shanghai, the evil criminal mastermind (Guo Xiao-Dang) makes himself known, studly officer Hung (Raymond Wong Ho-Yin) makes a return, and Kuen attends a Russian cultural event, where she dances up a storm in a massive green hat. Meanwhile, Man is mad at her for returning to work, but really wants to marry Kuen and chain her to his side. And since Kuen is played by Miriam Yeung, what right-minded male wouldn't?

Oddly enough, it's not Miriam Yeung that comes off looking the best in this film. She's trademark cute and wacky, but her silliness is nothing new. Instead, Daniel Wu wins all the sympathy points. Despite being an ultra-sculpted hunk of manflesh, Wu has a winning nice guy persona, and gets to play probably the most likable character in the film. Guys like Man are a rarity, and indeed most people who find Daniel Wu attractive will likely swoon at his earnest love for Kuen. After a while, it starts to seem strange that Man is constantly trying to rope Kuen in. Sure, she's adorable and funny, but Man is an uber-great guy that would actually ignore the smoking hot Coco Chiang in favor of the pretty, but still enormously weird and nutty Miriam Yeung. Shouldn't she be the one trying to keep him?

Still, asking that queston would require Love Undercover 2 to make sense, which it pretty much doesn't. Unlike the first film—which featured some wacky characters and some straight-laced ones—this sequel has an entire cast of totally off-the-wall and completely unfathomable characters. Nobody in this film seems to be operating on eight cylinders, from Kuen to Man to bad guy Guo Xiao-Dang. If the film's print advertising featured the phrase, "From the makers of Airplane and The Naked Gun," it might almost be appropriate. Situations and scenes come and go, and no tension or even conflict is created. The first film milked its laughs from the nonsensical Kuen and her winning ways in the face of possible conflict or danger. There was a genuine charm to Miriam Yeung's off-beat goofiness and mouthy antics. Here she's just weird, and so is everybody else.

Eventually everything gets resolved in completely unrelated ways. The main plotline of Kuen's brush with high-art thievery (the bad guys are a wacky support group of thieves who steal for kicks) collides with the secondary plot, involving Man's father (Chow Chung) and his old gang buddies (Wu Feng, Cheung Ying-Choi and Chan Man-Lui). How this happens is due to the magic of contrived happenstance and substandard editing. Director Joe Ma seems to be pulling ideas out of nowhere, and the constant weirdness is only sometimes amusing. There's fun to be had in some of the minor performances (Lam Suet and Hui Siu-Hung overdo the hijinks quite well) and there's eye candy for both the male and female-inclined. There's also gross missteps (totally uninteresting bad guys, nonexistent romantic tension) and odd performances (Sammy Leung's Daniel Wu impression needs work), and the whole thing is so bizarre and ridiculous that it could induce long stretches of silence. Yes, Love Undercover 1 is a better film.

If you have to blame someone, blame Joe Ma. In the past, his works have had a charming looseness that seemed appropriate for his young stars and Gen-X subject matter. But most of his recent features have been inconsistent, possessing of occasional charm, but also bizarre randomness and unintentional tedium. Love Undercover 2: Love Mission follows suit, but the trend isn't a welcome one. He may not be as crass, but if Joe Ma keeps this up, he could end up being the new Wong Jing. Simply taking an idea and running with it is not always the best course of action. Sometimes you need to plan, find a narrative thread, and actually create something worth caring about. True, rabid fans of Miriam Yeung and/or Daniel Wu will probably find much to enjoy in the couple's brief exchanges of affection, but that isn't going to satisfy everyone. Those who expect to love everything Miriam Yeung does will probably not be disappointed. But let's face it, not everyone is is going to love everything Miriam Yeung does. (Kozo 2003)

 
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Entertainment
2-Disc Set
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
Trailer, Making Of, Behind-the-scenes Footage, Deleted Scenes

image courtesy of Mei Ah Laserdisc Co., Ltd.

back to top
 
 
LoveHKFilm.com Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen