Task Force (Review)
Karen Mok is in this movie! Sure, some other things happened, but I wasn’t paying much attention to that, as Karen Mok is in this movie! Karen Mok makes anything better. Even movies like this, that come off like a pilot of a TV cop show. It also manages to be a romantic comedy when it’s not being an action comedy or police drama. This movie is a Jackson Pollock-type splattering of genres. The jumping into the lives of the minor characters (such as Karen Mok!) add to the film, and keep it from being another forgettable Hong Kong cop movie. There are a lot of those, but don’t ask me for examples, as I’ve forgotten them all! (I bet now you wish I’d forgot stupid jokes like that. One day, one day…)
Rod Lin (Leo Ku) has just ordered his first escort, who is played by Charlie Yeung. She goes to take a shower beforehand while he checks her ID. But he is a cop, there are other cops lying in wait in the house (including Eric Tsang as LuLu and Karen Mok as Shirley!) The team is looking for mainland prostitutes, and she is a local girl, so they have to get her to leave, as prosecuting her would be a waste of time. Rod has already paid her the money, so he tries to get it back, but she starts objecting. Soon, Karen Mok hops in, pretending to be his outraged wife, and the other cops come out pretending to be cops she called, and they get her out, recovering most of the money. Rod runs into the prostitute again a week later, and she gets his contact information by taking his wallet, and begins spamming his pager and message service with gag messages. Oh, those kooky prostitutes! Rod tells us his father was a cop years ago, but was killed, and his mother is a successful business woman.
Enough about Rod, even though he’s the main character, let’s get back to Karen Mok! She’s his supervisor, and dating some loser named Kelvin. Ladies, never date a man named after a scale of measurement, they’re bad news. Kelvin is a composer, and is always busy, too busy for Karen Mok. Scum. Her father has a stroke and is put in the hospital, but Kelvin is too busy composing to visit.
How about some backstory for LuLu? He is called that because of the last part of his badge number (Cantonese for 66 is luhk luhk, which sounds like “LuLu” when said fast.) LuLu is a big womanizer, who was caught by his wife cheating, and they divorced, though he is still in love with her. He’s played by Eric Tsang, who is pretty cool.
The Escort calls Rod again, this time she’s being beaten up by her pimp and needs help. He stops it and takes her to the hospital. She tells him about how she used to know a Killer, who does all sorts of John Woo-style stunts in an impressive flashback sequence that seems to be a different movie entirely, yet is not. Her Killer friend tells her he will take her to Paris when he returns from business, but that was three years ago. She also reveals her name is Fanny. Rod tells us about real killers he knows, one called Weasel who rescued his Triad boss from a bunch of gangsters, and got cut up in the process. Fanny’s pimp tells Rod that she has a large debt, $80,000 owed to Weasel, but Rod can’t get a hold of her for several days. Fanny tells Rod some story about her rich father which he sees through immediately. She is at Weasel’s place and it looks like she doesn’t have the money, and Rod is ready to rescue her, but she does. Fanny likes to lie a lot in case you haven’t picked up on it. Enough about Fanny! This film needs more Karen Mok.
LuLu’s ex-wife is getting remarried, and he is understandably upset. At her wedding, LuLu gets a picture taken of his ex-wife and himself wearing a tux, which he never did while married to her. Then he picks a fight with some Triads, including a guy named Shin, who LuLu knows from way back. They met and fought when they were younger, and keep fighting, but have formed a type of friendship through fighting, though neither will admit it.
Rod is out getting some noodles when gunshots are heard, some jewelry store thieves are escaping. Rod catches one, and the second thief doesn’t run off, but stays to be captured, as he doesn’t want to leave his friend. This is similar to why his father was killed, and the next day the person who did it is released. Rod walks by him and gives him a warning that he’s now a cop as well, and he should keep his nose clean. He sees Fanny later to try to cheer up, but they just end up fighting, so he ends up in the hospital waiting by Karen Mok’s dad and talking to himself. It turn’s out Dad has been awake for a while, and they speak the whole night, and Dad tells him about his life.
He dies the next day. Rod buys a lottery ticket with the numbers that her Dad played every week, and gives it to Karen Mok. It turns out the ticket wins second place, but she keeps it, as it is worth more to her than the money. That bastard Kelvin can’t even come to the funeral, so Karen buys some flowers she says are form him, than moves out of his place. Later she goes back and trashes all of his music stuff.
For those of you just watching the film for Karen Mok, that’s the last we see of her, you can turn off the movie now.
Rod is going to see Fanny again, but is called away. Fanny leaves a client tied up and goes to Rod’s place, and tells his mother that she is pregnant with his child. Mom doesn’t buy it, but lets her stay for dinner. Later, Rod and Fanny talk, they realize they have feelings for each other, and Fanny agrees not to lie anymore, but she disappears the next day. Her Killer friend is back in town. He attacks some Triads from earlier, killing LuLu’s friend Shin as well as his boss.
Killer and Fanny return to her place just as Rod is leaving it, and just as LuLu arrives for revenge. In the fight, LuLu ends up getting shot, and he gives his gun to Rod. Triads close in on the area as well, wanting revenge. Killer and Rod spar, but are interrupted by Triad machine guns. Killer protects Fanny from getting shot, but is wounded. Rod carries him out on his back, as the Triads won’t shoot at the cop. This is a particularly tense moment, as Rod is walking through over a hundred armed Triads while carrying someone they want to kill on his back. He gets Killer to an ambulance, and he is arrested. Killer makes him promise to take Fanny to Paris one day, and is taken away. LuLu is also seen, and he is okay. Rod ends up getting the girl at the end, so it’s like Pretty Woman, except a cop story. With Karen Mok.
This film would fit in sandwiched in the middle of an NYPD Blue marathon. It delves into the lives of some coworkers, it has what looks like the beginnings of plot arcs (they guy who killed his father getting out of jail, the Weasel character and his gang connections, the pimp and his connections, the Triad boss at the end and his search for proving himself on the street) this could easily become a series on TV. It also keeps the fantasy shooting elements safely contained to flashbacks from a woman who lies a lot, so we don’t have main characters leaping and doing the splits midair and rolling down staircases while getting off perfectly aimed shots at bad guys with lots of cover. This film is great at portraying a slice of life from a few police officers in the equivalent of the Vice Squad. It would have been enjoyable had it not contained Karen Mok.
But it does contain Karen Mok, and she’s awesome!
Rated 7/10 (Toothbrush, Crabs, Karen Mok, Inflatable Seat, Escort ID, Karen Mok, Lottery Ticket)
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