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Film / Undercover vs. Undercover

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Also known as Crouching Tiger, Undercover Dragon. No, seriously.

Undercover vs. Undercover, also known as Crouching Tiger, Undercover Dragon or Undercover Punch and Gun is a 2019 crime drama and action film starring Philip Ng, Vaness Wu, and Andy On. The movie pays homage to old-school John Woo with its action scenes, as well as having a plot similar to early 2000s police dramas, such as the Infernal Affairs and Colour of the Truth movies.

Hsiao-wu is an undercover cop investigating a meth-producing syndicate, but after a botched mission which leaves everyone except him dead, he ends up being a suspect of selling out his own police unit. When he ends up being ambushed and knocked unconscious, before waking up in a shipping freighter in the middle of the ocean, Hsiao-wu will have to figure out how to escape before all hell breaks loose.

Undercover vs. Undercover contains the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Eva, the police lieutenant and Friendly Sniper partner of Hsiao-wu. There's also the Dark Action Girl henchwomen duo, Teach and Susan.
  • Agonizing Stomach Wound: On Hsiao-wu's girlfriend, Dawn. She didn't make it.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Hsiao-wu and Xia during the meth lab shootout, as they move their way down a corridor swarming with mooks, each of them killing a dozen or so as they make their way through. Although two exceptionally dangerous mooks ambushes Hsiao-wu and forces him into an adjacent storeroom, breaking up the two badasses.
  • Batter Up!: While most of the mooks in the first act's meth deal uses machetes, one uses an aluminum bat, and nearly breaks Hsiao-wu's arm by repeatedly whacking it.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Hou-hu; a prankster, joker, klutz... and parkour expert, knife expert, and all-round lethal ass-kicker who takes names as easily as Hsiao-wu, even defeating the mercenary leader at the end of the film.
  • Combat Parkour: Hou-hu does this frequently, notably when chasing the Master's getaway vehicle in the meth plant and in the shipping freighter climax.
  • Cutting the Electronic Leash: When Hsiao-wu had to (reluctantly) accept a call from Xia, with Hou-hu at his side.
    Hsiao-wu: (deliberately moving the phone a distance away from him) "Xia? I can't hear you. The reception is bad here..."
    Hou-hu: (snatches the phone from Hsiao-wu and puts on a female voice, pretending to be a phone operator) : "The current line is unaccesible. We would like to apologize for the inconvenience..."
  • Dark Action Girl: Susan, the Cold Sniper henchwoman of Xia. And also Teach, who gets to fight Hsiao-wu one-on-one in the climax.
  • Deadly Dodging: In the freighter battle when Hou-hu fights several gun-wielding mercenaries at the same time, he dodges one of their bullets which ends up killing another merc.
  • Drives Like Crazy: The Master, when attempting to escape from Hsiao-hu and Hou-hu in the meth lab scene. Hou-hu managed to catch up with her thanks to his parkour skills, and ends up clinging on top and the side of her vehicle as she speeds her way out of the underground escape tunnel.
    The Master: "You think you can arrest me, you punk? I've been racing ever since you're sucking on your mother's tits!"
  • Disney Villain Death: Xia, the Big Bad who ends up falling out of a shipping container positioned a hundred meters or so above ground. Hsiao-wu falls together with him, but happens to land on a soft tarp, and later got up to see Xia's dead body right beside him.
  • Dual Boss: During the meth plant shootout, Hsiao-wu ends up being disarmed by two Boss in Mook Clothing fighters (one in a slick suit, another in khakis), who battles him simultaneously and sends the fight to a cramped second-floor storeroom full of railings, unsteady walkways, girders and obstacles.
  • Elite Mook: Xia's personal mercenery team, compared to regular thugs and drug dealers. They are expertly trained, heavily-armed, and six of them actually survives the movie and are seen retreating after Xia's death.
  • Enemy Mine: Xia and Hsiao-hu in the meth lab shootout.
  • Evil Old Folks: The unnamed meth chemist only known as "Master", an old woman with a head full of white hair, but is ruthless, willing to manufacture the most powerful drugs to the highest bidder, and doesn't bat an eye to captives being subjected to Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The entire movie takes place over the course of three days and two nights. While the first act covers events from the previous two days depicting how Hsiao-wu ends up in a shipping container in the first place, the second and third act is a lengthy battle on Big Bad Xia's vessel.
  • Fat Bastard: Boss Bao, as ruthless and petty as he is overweight.
  • Genius Ditz: Hou-hu may be a borderline idiot and Manchild who cracks jokes at the most inappropriate times, but he's also smart enough to know how to stall for time, can act convincingly enought to fool Xia and his minions, and also a skilled fighter and killer when he needs to get dangerous.
  • Gratuitous English: Boss Bao during the meth deal, for some inexplicable reason. The following exchange is in English in all versions of the film, by the way.
    Bao: "Hey everybody. Are you here here to fight? Or are you... MAKE MONEY?"
  • Guns Akimbo: Xia during the meth lab shootout.
  • Heroic Bloodshed: One of the more light-hearted examples, on par with Once A Thief, but still contains the usual elements of brotherhood, triads, morally-ambiguous heroes, Grey-and-Gray Morality between characters, big shootout scenes with plenty of mooks getting killed, Dual Wielding pistols, etc.
  • Holding the Floor: When Hou-hu, posing as the meth chemist ( since the real chemist called the Master was killed in the earlier car chase) is being held at gunpoint in the drug lab, he spends much of the time joking around, whining that he cannot work without music, making the two meecenaries guarding him sing, start a musical number... and silently booby-trapping an oven with highly explosive methane and suddenly rushing out, just as a massive explosion destroys the lab and killing both mercs detaining him.
  • How We Got Here: The film opens with Hsiao-wu, waking up in a man-sized crate, and realizing a ticking Time Bomb is installed right next to him. He hurriedly tackles his way out of the crate, just as the bomb blows... and it turns out to be a dummy. Cue titles before a flashback to two days ago depicting how he got here.
  • Killed Offscreen: Boss Bao, who's arrested at the end of the meth deal in the first act, but is later revealed to have been killed by dialogue.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: In the final battle, after Xia's death, and hearing from Eva that reinforcements from the millitary are on their way to board the shipping vessel, Xia's remaining mercenaries - all 6 of them - quickly bails.
  • Leap and Fire: Happens more than once in shootouts.
  • Machete Mayhem: Mooks who chooses to use melee weapons instead of firearms usually wields machetes. In the meth deal at the first act several machete-wielding mooks attacks Boss Bao and Hsiao-wu, and Hsiao-wu managed to retrieve one of their machetes to slice up plenty of enemies who got into his way.
  • Mexican Standoff: Happens all over the movie.
    • Hsiao-wu holding his gun on Madam Tong, while Madam Tong's bodyguards point guns on Hsiao-wu.
    • Xia and Hsiao-wu, in the middle of a shootout against mooks, points guns at each other for a moment before deciding to put their differences aside and kill their way out.
    • In the climax on the shipping container, the mercenaries against Hsiao-wu, who is negotiating with Xia.
  • Noble Demon: Xia's henchwoman, Teach, who in the middle of fighting Hsiao-wu, motions to him that his girlfriend Dawn just died. As Hsiao-wu stops fighting to mourn over Dawn, Teach stood aside and leave him alone for a few minutes.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Hou-hu, the partner of Wu who is a Manchild who cracks jokes every so often, breaks out into song numbers every now and then, and almost never take things seriously. But his appearance as The Ditz is merely a cover for his Obfuscating Stupidity - when push comes to shove, Hou-hu can - and will - kick a ton of ass.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Happens every now and then to mooks, bystanders, mercenaries, but also to Xia's henchwoman Susan.
  • Sniper Duel: The final showdown between Eva and Xia's henchwoman, Susan. Both snipers took turn taking potshots at each other, until Eva remembers her advice from her training days: "A sniper gauges the distance using their senses instead of sight." - at which point she steps out of cover with her eyes closed, fires a shot at Susan's last position - and nails Susan in the forehead.
  • Sonic Stunner: Eva activates one early in the movie to disrupt a deal between Boss Bao and the mercenaries during a meth deal. Unfortunately, Hsiao-wu is among the meth dealers as an undercover operative, and ends up suffering the effect of the ultra-high frequency waves with everyone else.
  • Stab the Scorpion: Happens during the Mexican Standoff between Xia and Hsiao-wu. While holding guns on each other, both of them pulls the trigger - killing mooks approaching each other from behind.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: In the middle of a huge gunfight early in the movie, Boss Bao, who is high on meth, lumbers to the back of his van while Hsiao-hu is busy fighting his way past mooks. A second later, Bao emerged carrying a crate containing maybe twenty grenades, all without their pins, muttering that he's going to blow up himself with everyone after him. Hsiao-hu instead makes him spill the entire crate in the middle of the area, causing nearly two dozen explosions when the grenades gets scattered everywhere.
  • Time Bomb: Hsiao-wu wakes up to one ticking in his face right in the opening scene. It's a dud.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: Hsiao-wu, after getting knocked out by Xia's minions, wakes up in a shipping container in Xia's freighter.
  • Where's the Kaboom?: In the final scene, during an intense Mexican Standoff between Xia and his mercenaries against Hsiao-wu and Hou-hu, Hsiao-wu whips out a detonator, threatening to trigger it. When Xia is unfazed, Hsiao-wu flicks the switch... and nothing happens. For five seconds.
    Xia: "Huh, I knew you were kidding. Do you need some explosives?"
    (Cue a MASSIVE explosion in the middle of the freighter, destroying much of the vessel's middle portion, killing plenty of mooks and leading to a Post-Defeat Explosion Chain where five more explosions of equally huge size start wrecking the freighter)