Movie Review: Knives Out! And Guns! And Fists! “Undercover Punch and Gun”

What fresh nonsense is this? Well, “fresh” is maybe a tad generous.

“Undercover Punch and Gun” is a jokey Hong Kong action pic with first-person shooter video game gunfights, martials arts mayhem, terrific stunts and some pretty damned funny one-liners.

Two villains duck bullets in a shootout.

“Fireboy! Car doors won’t stop bullets!”

“It works in MOVIES!”

Both drop dead, settling that argument.

The villain (Chinese-American actor Andy On of “Black Hat”) is “a logistics guy” who specializes in filling his freighters with drugs and humans to be trafficked. And he’s picky about his minions.

“If anyone can kick my ass, they can take the boat!”

They try. Lord knows they try.

He stares down the “hero,” undercover cop Wu (Philip Ng of “Birth of a Dragon” and “Once Upon a Time in Shanghai”) and shames him with the ultimate insult.

“I ADDED you on Facebook,” he hisses in Chinese with English subtitles, fiddling with his phone. “Aaand…I just unfriended you!”

It’s like that, a blood-spattered/body-count action comedy about Wu and his manic goofball partner Tiger (Vanness Wu, a hoot). Tiger’s the sort of joker who gets tattoo tributes of every “boss” — cop or street gang leader — who dies while he works with him.

He’s already got one for Wu.

The semi-nonsensical story puts these two in an act opening drug deal that ends with everybody but them being slaughtered and another undercover team grabbing the cash. The fallout from that is that our two heroes are recruited to the freighter-smuggling gang run by Ha, a smart brawler who runs human trafficking like a Fortune 500 business, with CCTV in every shipping container cage.

But he’s in need of an expert meth cook and the one they try to steal from Madame Tong gets away, despite Tiger leaping onto the roof of her car as she remembers “my street racing days.”

Tiger must dress up and swish up as a TV cooking show chef version of a meth cook — complete with music (he makes Ha’s minions sing for him).

“Undercover Punch and Gun,” which may also be known as “Undercover vs. Undercover” or be a re-edit of that (the cast lists don’t sync up) or even a sequel, is goofy, over-the-top old school martial arts with a Jackie Chan twist. There are laugh-out-loud outtakes under the closing credits.

The movie? Not all that, but Ng, Wu and On handle the fights and stunts with amused skill and Wu’s way with the lighter material makes it a lark, a middling martial arts action comedy that’s worth a few laughs, if you’re in the mood for that.

Cast: Philip Ng, Vanness Wu, Andy On, Joyce Wenjuan Feng, Carrie Ng, Lam Suet, Susan Yam-Yam Shaw

Credits: Scripted and directed by Philip Lui Koon-Nam, Frankie Tam, A Well Go USA release.

Running time:

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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