Follow TV Tropes


Film / Undercover Brother

Go To

Undercover Brother is a 2002 American action comedy film, based on a Web Animation series of the same name. It was directed by Malcolm D. Lee and stars Eddie Griffin, Chris Kattan, Denise Richards, Aunjanue Ellis, Dave Chappelle, Chi McBride, and Neil Patrick Harris.

We start with a black U.S. Army general named Warren Boutwell (Billy Dee Williams) who, in the beginning, looks like a good, respectable possibility for a black president. No scandals in his past at all.

But a white Chessmaster known only as "The Man" (Robert Trumbull) and his evil organization get to the general and leave him brainwashed. Right when he's supposed to be announcing his candidacy, he gives up his dream of politics to run a chain of fried chicken restaurants. It's evil fried chicken, too, but we don't learn that immediately.

The good secret organization, The BROTHERHOOD, needs to stop this before it goes any farther. But to do that, they must call the great Blaxploitation hero Undercover Brother (Griffin). Undercover Brother is stuck in The '70s, but he knows kung fu.

Undercover Brother is asked to infiltrate the evil Organization undercover. He is given a watch that sprays hot sauce to fight off the potential evil of mayonnaise on white bread. But, once on assignment, he meets an incredibly beautiful blonde (Richards) who appears to be trying to befriend him, and things go bad...


  • The Ace: Undercover Brother himself: Master of Disguise and expert at martial arts and infiltration.
  • Action Girl: Sistah Girl, and White She Devil after she reveals herself as The Mole.
  • Adorkable: Anton Jackson, Smart Brother, and Lance.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of '70s Blaxploitation films.
  • Afro Asskicker: Undercover Brother
  • All According to Plan: An alarm goes off at Multinational Inc. and reveals that the BROTHERHOOD agent Undercover Brother has infiltrated the building. Instead of being dismayed, The Dragon Mr. Feather says "The Brotherhood is making their move. Just as I expected."
  • An Aesop: Undercover Brother's preaching about teamwork.
  • Anonymous Ringer: Warren Boutwell, a former general and Secretary of Defense who was thought to be considering a Presidential run. AKA General Colin Powell.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Smart Brother's interrogation of White She-Devil and Conspiracy Brother's listing of black people not given proper credit.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: After Undercover Brother grabs a shotgun away from Conspiracy Brother, he carelessly swings it around, pointing it at Sista Girl, Conspiracy Brother and the Chief. As an expert and experienced combatant he should have known better.
  • As Himself: James Brown, actually Undercover Brother in disguise.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Undercover Brother must be a huge fan of Bruce Lee, such as his screaming Goomba Stomp.
  • Aside Comment
    • While Undercover Brother is talking to Sista Girl in his apartment:
      Undercover Brother: Nothing relaxes a brother after a hard day of going undercover like a little piece of the cookie.
      Sistah Girl: My cookie would break you in half.
      Undercover Brother: Maybe, but that would be some long division. [looks at the camera] Long.
    • While Undercover Brother is at a golf course
      Sistah Girl: This is strictly an observational mission. We are not authorized to take action.
      Undercover Brother: Well, observe this. [looks at the camera] Action is what Undercover Brother's all about.
    • After White She Devil's first Heel–Face Turn:
      White She Devil: Oh, Undercover Brother, you're too much man for me.
      Undercover Brother: Baby... [looks at the camera] sometimes I'm too much man for my own damn self.
  • Aside Glance:
    • While the title character is flying through the air toward some enemy Mooks, he briefly turns his head and looks at the camera.
    • In the end credits. After Undercover Brother takes his car through a car wash and several female attendants are flirting with him he turns his head and broadly winks at the camera.
  • Ass Shove: Undercover Brother sticks his foot inside an opponent's ass, complete with X-ray camera shot.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Sistah Girl and White She-Devil late in the film.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: White She Devil shoots two enemy Mooks after the motorcycle chase.
  • Battle Trophy: Mr. Feather feels this way about Undercover Brother's medallion.
  • Becoming the Mask: Undercover Brother becomes his mild-mannered secret identity: Anton Jackson.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Conspiracy Brother - Words and phrases he thinks are racist, like "Hi" and "Good morning".
    • Mr. Feather, when he realizes that he's being subconsciously influenced by black culture.
    • Lance - "I. Am not. A SISSY!"
    • Undercover Brother - "You mess with the 'fro, you got to go."
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Lance is a Nice Guy, but when called a sissy he tears a man's heart out with his bare hands.
  • Big Bad: Mr. Feather.
  • Big "NO!": A mook does this as Undercover Brother is about to stamp down on him. He lives, but his potato chips weren't as lucky.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Mr. Feather during the final battle with Undercover Brother.
  • Bland-Name Product: GFC/General's Fried Chicken (KFC/Kentucky Fried Chicken) and Khaki Republic (Banana Republic)
  • Blaxploitation: With a modern twist. Somewhat reconstructed. It's all in good fun, though, as the target demographic this time was white people.
  • Book Ends: Undercover Brother does a parachute jump at the beginning and end of the movie.
  • Brick Joke: When Undercover Brother is first revealed, Conspiracy Brother shouts "It's Macy Gray with porkchop sideburns!" After the bank job, a news report mentions that singer Macy Gray was arrested in connection with the job, but released due to lack of evidence.
  • Bring It
    • Lance gestures to a guard and says "Come on!" to a guard before killing him.
    • Also spoofed during the pre-fight posturing between Undercover Brother and Mr. Feather. They both resort to increasingly elaborate gestures, trying to one-up the other. Undercover Brother wins. And all to the sound of "Beat It".
  • Calling Shotgun: Conspiracy Brother, as the group runs to the hovercraft.
  • Catchphrase: Undercover Brother has one, "Solid."
  • Cat Fight: White She Devil vs. Sistah Girl. In slo mo. In a shower. Causing the men to stop fighting and grab a bag of popcorn. And condoms. Can't say the movie didn't advocate safe sex. Can you really blame them? Some things transcend one's affiliation.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: The title character changes his clothes while jumping through a window. At other times he, Sistah Girl and Penelope Snow change their outfits by having their outer tearaway clothing ripped off of them (or ripping it off themselves).
  • Chekhov's Gun: James Brown in the introduction, the rear-view mirror balls, and "Don't touch the 'fro".
  • The Chessmaster: The Man
  • Chewing the Scenery: Chris Kattan as Mr. Feather. And how. He ends up having better moves than even Undercover Brother.
  • Code Name: Undercover Brother, Smart Brother, Conspiracy Brother, Sistah Girl, The Man. Mr. Feather might be one.
  • Combat Haircomb: Combat Afro Picks!
  • Compensating for Something: Sistah Girl accuses Undercover Brother of this, citing the afro, car and medallion.
  • Conspiracy Kitchen Sink: All conspiracies relating to blacks are true, except the one that OJ is innocent.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Conspiracy Brother, to the point that, even though there actually is a secret conspiracy to undermine black people, he still comes across as a paranoid lunatic.
  • Cool Car: The title character's 1970s Cadillac DeVille Convertible (mistakenly called a Coupe deVille).
    • With Cadillacs, the 2 door models were Coupe while the 4 door were Sedan. The convertibles were two door but didn't use the Coupe part of the name, so the mistake is understandable.
  • Cowboy Cop: Undercover Brother, after joining the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Undercover Brother (undercover as "Anton Jackson") and Penelope Snow AKA White She Devil
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: A villainous version. Despite his goofiness, Mr. Feather is a very effective Dragon to The Man and can handle himself very well in a fight.
  • Da Chief: The leader of the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D.
  • Designated Girl Fight: When Undercover Brother and Sista Girl square off against White She Devil and two male mooks, Sista Girl fights White She Devil and Undercover Brother deals with the mooks.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Parodied. Undercover Brother is fighting with two mooks while White She-Devil and Sistah Girl are duking it out. When the cat fight turns into clothes-tearing and ends up in the shower, not only do the three men stop fighting, they set up seats and popcorn.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: "The Fatty". Actually causes one businesswoman to have an Immodest Orgasm.
  • Doomed Defeatist: Lance wigs out while he's in The Man's headquarters.
  • Dope Slap: Conspiracy Brother to Lance after he makes a racist comment.
  • The Dragon: Mr. Feather to The Man.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Mr. Feather is the primary threat in the film despite being subservient to The Man.
  • Dramatic Landfall Shot: when we see The Man's island fortress for the first time.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: Undercover Brother's medallion.
  • Dreadlock Rasta: Undercover Brother disguises himself as this at one point, even quipping "Ja Mon. Rasta!"
  • Dressed in Layers: Undercover Brother when masquerading as a janitor, and White She Devil before her reveal.
  • Easily Forgiven: White She Devil, much to Conspiracy Brother's chagrin - especially when she's made an official Agent.
    Conspiracy Brother: What the fuck? Chief! I ain't never seen this bitch in my secret agent classes! I'm still paying the loans off, man! I sleep on a pissy mattress! I ain't got good food to eat! I borrow money for my weed! I quit! That's it. Y'all ain't got Conspiracy Brother Jones to kick around no more! Give me a pillow case... I'm joining the Klan!
  • Ear Worm:invoked The jingle from The General's fried-chicken commercial. As demonstrated by Lance.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The BROTHERHOOD has an extensive base located beneath a barber shop.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto
    • Parodied when a pair of mooks drive a golf cart into a gas main.
    • During a chase scene a Mook's motorcycle crashes and immediately bursts into flames.
  • Everything Is Racist: The belief of Conspiracy Brother. It's really something that he's in a movie where there really is a white conspiracy run by The Man to keep black people down, and he still comes off as crazy.
    Undercover Brother: Hi.
    Conspiracy Brother: "Hi"? What you mean "hi"? Like "hi, y'all wanna be white"? "High" like the white man wants to keep us? Wait, you don't smell no weed on me, do you?
  • Evil Counterpart: Mr. Feather to Undercover Brother.
  • Evil Elevator: The cliche of the endless elevator going down to an Elaborate Underground Base is spoofed when the hero starts screaming hysterically as he drops, only to stop when he realises he's only traveled a single story.
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear: ...or devoured by a random but conveniently placed shark as the case may be.
  • Expy
    • It's pretty obvious that the General was a stand-in for Colin Powell, right down to the rumored Presidential run.
    • The Barbershop secret entrance to The BROTHERHOOD's Headquarters was previously used in Issue #136 of Marvel Comics' "Strange Tales" (1965), a Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. storyline.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Undercover Brother, after he falls in love lust with Penelope Snow. That ass of hers would turn any man and woman astray.
  • Fanservice: Sista Girl, Penelope Snow/White She Devil
  • Felony Misdemeanor: When Undercover Brother smashes a bag of chips, a Mook guard says that he just bought them! Undercover Brother apologizes.
  • Femme Fatale: White She Devil. Ends up reformed at the end.
  • Fighting with Chucks: The title character knows how to use nunchucks as part of his martial artist skills. He also hits himself in the nuts while using them during his fight with Mr. Feather. This may have been a subversion, since the look on his face as Feather charges indicates it was a trick.
  • Five-Man Band with UB as the Sixth Ranger. Totally Lampshaded. I mean, The Chief, Smart Brother, Lance, Sistah Girl. The only one that doesn't fit is Conspiracy Brother as the Big Guy, which is probably why they need Undercover Brother in the first place.
  • Funny Afro: Undercover Brother.
  • Gadget Watch: It spritzes hot sauce.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: When Lance panics over the impending detonation of a Self-Destruct Mechanism ("We're gonna die! We're all gonna die!"), the title character repeatedly slaps him to bring him to his senses.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Parodied. Sistah Girl and White She Devil get a Designated Girl Fight that somehow manages to end up in the shower. Undercover Brother and a pair of Mooks stop fighting and pull up some chairs and popcorn to watch.
  • Glove Snap: One of Mr. Feather's minions does this repeatedly, greatly to Mr. Feather's annoyance.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Undercover Brother as Anton Jackson.
    Da Chief: White girl or no white girl, I wanna know where the hell have you been?
    Anton/UB: Not there, because that's where people who swear go, thank you very much.
  • Got Me Doing It: Again much to his great annoyance, Mr. Feather just couldn't keep himself from getting into that thang.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Man, a racist Caucasian who wants to rid the world of African-Americans.
  • Groin Attack: The title character does it to himself with a pair of nunchucks during his fight with Mr. Feather.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Conspiracy Brother, who breaks into a rant at the mention of various innocuous words.
  • A Handful for an Eye: Mr. Feather does it to Undercover Brother during their final battle.
  • Handshake Substitute: The security check to enter the BROTHERHOOD is a robotic arm which measures blackness of user by their handshake. Undercover Brother does a whole routine that passes the test.
  • Hand Signals
    • White She Devil uses them to give orders to her henchmen during the motorcycle/car chase.
    • During the final confrontation between Undercover Brother and Mr. Feather, the antagonists make exaggerated "Come here" gestures to each other.
  • The Heavy: Mr. Feather is a much bigger threat than his boss, as he is shown frequently throughout the film.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: White She Devil, after she experiences Undercover Brother's lovin'.
  • Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure: The spy camera scans people for levels of "Rhythm" and "401Ks".
  • Hollywood Geek: Undercover Brother in his role of Antoine Jackson.
  • Hollywood Glass Cutter: Played for Laughs when Undercover Brother breaks in through a window. He slices a circle in the window and then taps on it. This causes the entire rest of the window to shatter, leaving the cut-out circle intact.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The only reason Lance (a Caucasian) is a member of the BROTHERHOOD is Affirmative Action.
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: Happens twice. Sista Girl does it to Undercover Brother and Undercover Brother does it to General Boutwell.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Undercover Brother to the golf course guards.
  • Immodest Orgasm: The female executive during Anton Jackson's demonstration of "The Fatty".
  • Improbable Parking Skills; The title character, in the last scene of the movie.
  • In Love with the Mark: Penelope Snow AKA White She Devil
  • Instant Costume Change: Undercover Brother jumps out of a window while dressed in what can be best described as a nerd disguise. On the other side, he comes out in his normal attire, complete with afro.
  • Insult Backfire: When Sistah Girl accuses Undercover Brother of Compensating for Something, he plays into it by pointing out that she forgot to mention his "big, black, fuzzy balls" — a rearview mirror decoration, which he then fondles to complete the joke.
  • Intimidation Demonstration: Undercover Brother with his nunchucks and Mr. Feather with his Blade Below the Shoulder claw.
  • Island Base: The Man has his secret fortress built on an island.
  • It's Raining Men: Undercover Brother, once with a parachute and once with bell bottoms.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Happens twice.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Da Chief. He may have a tendency to yell his head off at his employees at the drop of a hat, but he's not afraid to tell them how proud he is of them.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Before being recruited to the BROTHERHOOD, Undercover Brother was known as "the Robin Hood of the Hood" and was discovered by the BROTHERHOOD while he was deleting bank records to prevent foreclosure on people's homes.
  • Kiai: Parodied, as Undercover Brother shouts the names of black celebrities/musicians while fighting.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: The title character does it to guard mooks twice.
  • Knuckle Cracking: After killing three guards with his bare hands, Lance does a neck crack.
  • Large Ham. Mr. Feather, but since he's played by Chris Kattan, it's sorta expected.
  • Last Request: Mr. Feather to James Brown before injecting him with the Mind Control drug.
  • Latex Perfection: Undercover Brother, when posing as a janitor and James Brown.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Mr. Feather becomes nauseated after a camera-swirling effect.
  • Le Parkour: While fighting Mr. Feather, Undercover Brother briefly jumps up on and runs along a wall to escape being sliced by Feather's Blade Below the Shoulder.
  • Lost in Translation: The movie is notable for being a pain to translate for foreign audiences since many jokes used in the movie only had sense for American viewers, but not for anyone outside the U.S. (like the infamous mayonnaise scene)
  • Low-Speed Chase: Undercover Brother and Sista Girl are chased by security guards on a golf course, with both groups driving electric golf carts.
  • The Man: Big Bad.
  • Master of Disguise: As an elderly janitor, a Rastafarian golf caddy, business executive Anton Jackson and James Brown.
  • May Contain Evil: the drug added to the General's Fried Chicken to make black people act white.
  • Meaningful Name: A white woman named Penelope Snow.
  • Mega-Corp: Multinational Incorporated
  • Meganekko: White She-Devil's disguise during her initial appearance.
  • The Mole: White She Devil, while going by the name Penelope Snow.
    • Played twice, as for one moment during the final conflict, she appears to have been a double agent, before being revealed to be firmly on the Brotherhood's side.
  • Mook Chivalry: Sistah Girl and White She Devil in the Communications Room.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: Lance goes off the deep end when he gets called a sissy.
  • Nobody Touches the Hair: Undercover Brother is very protective of his Afro, including telling Sista Girl, "Don't touch the hair!"; telling Conspiracy Brother, "Don't touch the 'fro!", and beating up Mr. Feather when he cuts off a piece of it: "You mess with the 'fro, you got to go."
  • No Party Given: An in-universe discussion of this takes place when the characters muse what party the General will run for President as.
  • Not My Driver: When Mr. Feather kidnaps James Brown.
  • Pistol-Whipping: A security guard at the golf course to our hero, and Conspiracy Brother to Mr. Elias in the island fortress communications room.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: The Man and his organization are on a mission to undermine black society in favour of white supremacy.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "You mess wit' the 'fro, you gots to go!"
  • The Precarious Ledge: While infiltrating the Mega-Corp Multinational Inc., the title character must make his way along a ledge high up on the outside of a building in order to reach a room where he can download information from a computer.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy
    • White supremacist Mr. Feather constantly seems to have to battle to suppress an urge to be one of these. This causes him some stress.
    Mr. Feather: You see what's happening, don't you?! How we're being corrupted by their hipper-than-thou fashion and cool slang you can't help but use?!
    • At the end The Man as well.
  • Product Placement: Several times in the movie Undercover Brother is shown drinking a Big Gulp (a beverage cup sold by 7-11) full of orange soda.
  • Punch Catch: Sistah Girl to Conspiracy Brother when he tries to punch Lance in the face.
  • Punched Across the Room: White She Devil to Sistah Girl and Undercover Brother to Mr. Feather, both times with a kick.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: Conspiracy Brother is prone to these at the mention of words so innocuous as "hello".
  • Rasputinian Death: Mr. Feather is dropped out of a helicopter over the ocean. Just before falling hundreds of feet (the impact alone of which would've killed him instantly) a great white shark leaps out of the water, and eats him.
  • Reverse Mole: White She Devil, when The Man's guards catch the BROTHERHOOD infiltrators in the Communications Room.
  • Schmuck Bait: The Big Red Button labeled "Atomic Core".
    Conspiracy Brother: "Atomic co-ray", huh? Let's see what this so-called "button" does...
  • Secret Test: Sista Girl pointing a gun at Undercover Brother to test his courage.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: The Atomic Core on The Man's island fortress.
  • The '70s: Undercover Brother's character is based on this era.
  • Sex–Face Turn: As mentioned, White She Devil switches sides after sleeping with Undercover Brother.
  • Shoe Phone: Two pairs of Tricked-Out Shoes and a Gadget Watch.
  • Shout-Out: Bruce Leroy is the main character of The Last Dragon.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": Subverted. Undercover Brother is about to stomp a Mook who's lying on the ground. We see him stomp and hear a horrible crunching sound as he twists his foot but we don't actually see the stomp connect. Just when you think he's smashed the Mook's head in, the camera looks down and we see that he actually smashed a bag of potato chips. This doesn't make the mook any happier, as he moans that he had just bought them.
  • The Smart Guy: Smart Brother, naturally.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: White She Devil's lament.
  • Spinning Paper: During a scene showing various ways that black performers are falling under the effect of The Man's mind control drug, one of the warning signs is a newspaper story (John Singleton to remake Driving Miss Daisy) in a spinning paper.
  • The Stoner: Conspiracy Brother. It's strongly hinted that his paranoia is due to his drug use.
  • Storming the Castle: The B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. infiltrates The Man's secret compound at the end.
  • Strawman Political: Parodied like everything else. Conspiracy Brother snaps, "Name one thing the Republican Party has done for black people. ONE!" Smart Brother uses a lengthy "Lincoln was a Republican" rebuttal and seems ready to continue; Conspiracy Brother pauses for a beat, only to continue with "All right, name two things lately!" While Conspiracy Brother is extremely paranoid, and will make assumptions as ridiculous as thinking that saying "Good Morning" is racist, that particular incident is revealed to actually be a legitimate, but poorly thought-through argument when one reviews history: while the majority of Republicans in the late 19th century were originally against slavery, the party's ideals concerning race changed considerably by the late 20th century: most Republicans (especially those in Southern states, like former Mississippi governor, J.P. Coleman) were very much against racial integration, and terrorist activity by the Ku Klux Klan was heaviest in southern states that were overwhelmingly Republican, like Mississippi and Alabama. While Conspiracy Brother's allegations are often wild and thoughtless, they do sometimes stem from actual fact, so the movie sort of plays with this trope.
  • Stylistic Suck: Anton singing karaoke.
  • Take the Wheel: The title character has Sistah Girl do this during the golf cart chase.
  • Tap on the Head: Undercover Brother to two Mooks, Sistah Girl and White She Devil to a group of mooks in the Communications Room.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Every conspiracy related to black people being manipulated by whites is true. Except for the one about OJ Simpson being innocent, he really did do it.
  • Token White: Lance, who was hired because of affirmative action. Later White She Devil joins as well, over the objections of Conspiracy Brother, who was still paying off his student loans for the training he'd needed to get employed there.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: One of the trailers specifically said that Penelope Snow was White She Devil, AKA "Black Man's Kryptonite", which was a major reveal/surprise.