The Most Wanted (1994)
Directed by: Kam Tin Wong
Tagline: "Nah! I'm not getting sick of triad movies at all..."
This film starts with a montage of scenes of newspapers and TV News footage of a major robbery in 1991 then cuts to 1994 where a man called Cat is gambling at an illegal bookmakers. He wins, but as he never put any money on he doesn't get the payout. Outside with his friend, Yap, he is challenged to take a customer's car for a spin (which he does, and scares the people in the car), and he gets back just as customer arrives.
When Cat and Yap meet with his boss, Yen Kwan, Cat reports to his supervisor (he's an undercover cop in the third year of an operation to catch Yen Kwan). His boss tells him that the finance department of the police is stopping funding for the operation as it has been three years and they haven't caught their target. His boss lets him continue the operation, but warns him 'not do anything illegal' or he will go to jail.
This goes up the spout when Yen Kwan gets Cat and Yap to rob a jewellery store and shoot it out with the police, killing several SDU members and nearly killing his supervisor. In the getaway, Cat is shot and his girlfriend, comes to look after him.
After the robbery, Cat is put on the wanted list along with Yen Kwan and the Special Investigations Unit (led by Fatty) is intent on tracking him down. The story continues with much excitement as Cat tries to evade the police and catch Yen Kwan himself so he can finish the operation.
Having many films trying to cash-in on a popular genre in Hong Kong cinema is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes a film that is trying to take advantage of a current trend manages to bring something unique to the genre, other times it doesn't. This movie falls into the latter category.
The undercover cop genre was very popular in the 1990's with films such as City on Fire and Hard Boiled writing the rules for this type of movie. More recently interest has been revived by Infernal Affairs and its sequels. This movie is one of the many 'just average' films that came out around the same time as the previous movies.
The performances are fine, it is just there is nothing really special about them. As usual this movie goes for over the top violence to try and make up for its shortcomings, it doesn't work on this occasion.
Even if you are a big fan of Hong Kong undercover cop films, there are many movies more deserving of your time. For everyone else I would say it is just average.