Love Undercover 2: Love Mission (2003) / Comedy-Crime
MPAA Rated: Not rated, but probably PG-13 for language and mild violence
Running time: 100 min.
Cast: Miriam Yeung, Daniel Wu, Sammy, Raymond Wong, Lam Suet
Director: Joe Ma
Screenplay: Sunny Chan, Joe Ma
Having enjoyed the original Love Undercover, I was looking forward to more fun with Miriam Yeung (Three...Extremes, Dumplings) and Daniel Wu (Naked Weapon, 2000 AD) in another slapstick romantic comedy. The original entry wasn't really a great movie, so my expectations weren't necessarily too high, and for about 45 minutes or so, I would say this sequel exceeded my expectations. Then the main mission was underway, and whatever laughs and good times that the film had previously soared with began to slowly dissipate into overcooked plotting, confusing motivations, and forced attempts at some very bad humor just to maintain some semblance this was a comedy. While I must admit that as a whole, Love Undercover 2 isn't a huge step down from the original film in quality, the last half of the movie pales in comparison to the first sufficiently enough that I can only consider this to be a larger disappointment than I had originally anticipated.
Yeung reprises her role as police officer Kuen, not too long before being proposed to by her wealthy boyfriend, Man (Wu). She starts off the film with a promotion, but mishaps occur, leaving her stripped of rank until she finally ends up in the same undercover unit she was with in the first movie. Sad as it may be, Kuen is excited to be going on another mission, starting off as bodyguard to an empress from some country called Puerto Risi, a woman later exposed as being an agent of Interpol trying to take down her internet cyber love, a big-time thief of rare antiquities. It seems his latest mission is to bag a bottle of near priceless French wine from the 17th Century, said to be unrivaled in flavor, worth about $15 million US dollars. As usual, a mishap occurs that sees Kuen in the thick of things, making her pose as the empress herself, in order to gain access to his schemes and take him down before he gets his hands on the bottle.
Joe Ma's budget is certainly bigger this time around, with a sizable cast and lots of locale work, it's definitely a step up production-wise. The chemistry is still there between Yeung and Wu, and while they appear together, the film is enjoyable and quite funny, even though much of the humor is on the absurd side. It's a shame the good times aren't meant to last, as Ma tries to outdo himself, overreaching in what should have been a modest and cute crime caper, going all out with intertwining storylines that introduces far too many twists and characters to try to keep up with. The last half hour of the film is almost unintelligible, as it never makes sense what anyone is doing anymore. The more you try to piece things together, the more frustrating it all becomes, but even if you were able to make some semblance of rationale to all of the hubbub, it's still clear that whatever momentum in fun the film starts out with is completely taken over by a lackluster, and rather lengthy, climax.
I suppose if you enjoyed the first film enough, or are a big fan of the leads, you may come away liking the film for the good points and can forgive the bad, although I'm tempted to recommend turning it off once you get to the halfway point of the film, so you can leave your good mood intact. Love Undercover 2 was a big box office hit in Hong Kong, so I suspect a third entry will be in the works. I hope and pray that the filmmakers can return to making the film more low-key and be about the comic romance, and stop trying to make it into a full-fledged action flick, of which the Hong Kong market is already glutted with enough as it is.
©2003 Vince Leo