Review: Love Undercover (2002)

Directed by:
Cast: , , , , ,

Not available in Australia on DVD (to our knowledge)

I caught this 2002 Miriam Yeung vehicle early this year, then her third collaboration with Joe Ma, and was pleasantly surprised by how charming it was. Since then the duo has teamed up to make Sound of Colours, and a sequel to this one, Love Undercover 2. Joe Ma is now planning on a third installment to the adventures of bumbling police officer Fong Lai Kuen — in animated form!

The first installment details the (mis)adventures of Fong Lai Kuen — a police officer fresh out of the academy without a single law-enforcing bone in her body. Not that the girl doesn’t try but she only just managed to scrape through her training and in practice, will probably hand-cuff herself rather than the criminal. She’s not exactly a sharp shooter, is prone to be whiny and her physical endurance is limited to flicking mahjong tiles. So, no, Fong Lai Kuen is by no means an inspiring character, more underachiever than undercover. However she still has redeemable features — mainly because she’s played by Miriam Yeung who proves to be rather charming in this film. Miriam is at her goofy best and at least managing to speak her lines coherently without ruining her shot.

Deemed only good enough to be stationed at the Lost Property Dept., Lai Kuen thus starts her illustrious career in the HK Police Force, fondling pencils and watching mosquitoes fly to their deaths in the insect zapper.

Thankfully for Lai Kuen, Lost Property just happens to be opposite the criminal investigation unit and she’s picked to go undercover. Why? Well, these are one of those things you’d just have to suspend disbelief in a romcom. Including the one where a spunk like Daniel Wu would fall for such an obvious hapless undercover agent such as Kuen but anything to do with Daniel Wu is much easier to buy, I suppose.

All the old romantic comedy tricks are here and Joe Ma has given it a good polish with a good ensemble cast and tight editing:

  • We have winsome lass and lad as the star couple, Miriam and Daniel both do a respectable job here with plenty of spark.
  • Miriam goes undercover to spy on suspected triad bigshot Daniel Wu. They fall for each other [of course] but not before the HK police force, underworld figures and jealous ex-girlfriends all have a crack at breaking them up.
  • Have plenty of humour or in this case, just hire Hui Siu Hung — always the fall guy but also the funniest [See his work in Running Out of Time, Needing You, Wu Yen]. The rest of the supporting cast are very admirable too including such dependable old school alumnis such as Wyman Wong, Chow Chung, Cha Siu Yan.

All this manages to give the film the light-heartedness and gloss it requires which rubs off on the audience. The jokes flow rapidly and the hit all the right notes. No wonder the HK public voted with their pockets. If you’re wondering why Miriam Yeung became such a bankable star, this is the film to check out.

7 tomato sauce bottles out of 10.
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