Protege (Tung-Shing Yee) 2007

Protege is about an undercover cop who has been undercover for 7 years in the biggest drug operation in Hong Kong.  He has just been selected by the head of the operation to be his protege to one day take over.  I have read a few customer reviews that kind of liken this movie to Traffic and I can see why.  It tries to be both a serious look at the drug trade while at the same time show the impact of the drug war in the characters lives.  Sadly the movie really can’t pull it all off.  Part of the reason (well most of the reason IMO) this movie doesn’t work is with the romance subplot.  There obviously has to be a contrived romance shoved in the middle of this movie and have you already guessed there has to be an ironic twist like having the undercover cop falling for a woman who is addicted to heroin?  Its as subtle as an anvil falling on your toe.  Whenever we switch to the romance the tone swings to that of an after school special.  I understand what they were trying to do but it is so cliche and predictable and preachy it grinds the movie to a halt every time.

Now I did enjoy the main story where the cop is undercover in the operation.  There are some suspenseful scenes like when our protagonist is caught by another drug squad that want to blow his whole cover for a quick bust that will net them some quick brownie points with their superiors.  There is also some interesting bits we learn about the drug trade that isn’t out of place because it is about a master teaching his protege.  The movie on the whole is just average though.  We have done so many movies about undercover cops, about drugs and about their effect on society that it is hard to make a movie that really stands out.  I came to the attention to this because of the Dragon Dynasty line of DVDs that release many of the greats of Hong Kong cinema like Hard Boiled, Supercop, and 36 Chamber of Shaolin.  This one I think you can skip though.

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