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REVIEW: Love Undercover

Old 05-09-02, 10:20 PM
  #1  
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REVIEW: Love Undercover

Love Undercover

Writer/Director: Joe Ma
Starring: Miriam Yeung, Daniel Wu
Co-Stars: Hui Shiu-hung, Wyman Wong, Sammy Leung, Iris Wong, Raymong Wong, McDull/McMug merchandise(!)

Synopsis:
L.K.Fong (Miriam Yeung) has graduated from Police Academy, and was posted in the L.P.D. (Lost Property Department). Due to a lucky break, her rookie status made her the right choice to be recruited into a sting operation, as a waitress in a restaurant, to earsdrop on Man Hoi (Daniel Wu), a suspected Triad boss.
Another not so lucky break, and Fong garners the attention of Man, who then wants to date her. Fong is ordered to accept the date to be able to get closer to Man Hoi, but as they spend more time together, a relationship grows.
Is Man Hoi really a criminal? Will Fong be able to keep her identity secret??

Thoughts:
A very funny and witty movie. Most of the cast from Dummy Mummy... are back, but the beautiful Nikki Chow is missing. This is made up for, by giving us Iris Wong, and to a lesser extent, Claire Yau. Wasn't Miriam's character in Dummy Mummy also named L.K.Fong??
Wyman Wong and Sammy Leung (playing two buddy street cops) are a riot together! Miriam was quite enjoyable here, and comes off as quite the fun and intelligent lady. Daniel was fine, but his Cantonese still needs work. Raymong Wong has some pretty funny scenes, and it was nice seeing this "pretty boy" getting the boots put to him, which also got funnier as the movie progressed!
Is it just me, or does the use of Mandarin in a HK movie make for good comedy, especially when the characters are supposed to be illegals from the mainland?? Also, the use of purposefully terrible English dialogue during some funny scenes at the end, seems to be a poke at the recent, unfortunate trend of HK movies to use English dialogue. And you gotta love all those McDull/McMug merchandise that Fong has all over her apartment!
Production quality was quite high, and photography was very slick. Slo-mo was used very appropriately, and made some scenes even funnier. With a runtime of 103 mins, the script was well written from start to end. No cop-out(sic) ending ala Dummy Mummy...
Overall, a well written and evenly paced movie from start to end.

DVD review:
Distributor: Mei Ah
catalogue: DVD-494
All region coded
NTSC video
DVD-9 format
Good compression bit-rate, ranging from 3MB to 8MB
movie is presented in anamorphic mode
Case is translucent white "M Locking Mechanism"

Source print is quite clean and clear. There are some minor scratches, but nothing distracting. Sharpness is good, as well as good colour saturation, with blacks being black.
The problem is, black detail is sorely missing. This means that objects in dark areas are just... black. No shadow details at all. It's noticeable, but not overly distracting, due to the good
image quality. I can't tell if it's due to the DVD mastering, or was that way on the film master.
Overall, the DVD sports pretty good image quality.

Audio is Cantonese and Mandarin in Dolby Stereo, and DD 5.1
Both are sharp and clear.

Subtitles are white with black border, of a good size, and stay on-screen for easy reading most of the time. They are optional in English and Chinese (Traditional and Simplified)
Problem here is, the translations are half-complete! Most dialogue is properly and fully translated, but there are quite a few scenes where the subtitles only represent about a quarter of what is said, making it in-comprehensible.
example:
Captain: Who will you thank for your graduation?
Fong: and you, sir
Fong actually says "I have to thank my parents, the police academy, and you, sir"
Obviously, viewers that can understand Cantonese will not have an issue. It's the English subtitle reading fans that lose out.

Extras:
The DVD menus are 16:9 enhanced. The main menu design is excellent, with the main characters popping in and out, in various poses.
The 6 Chapter stops uses animated scenes.
Movie trailer is included, but is not anamorphic.
Best Buy section has trailers for Chinese Odyssey 2002, Running Out Of Time 2, Second Time Around and Fat Choi Spirit, and are non-16:9 enhanced.
"Unseen Footage" contains 13 deleted scenes and one NG footage, are non-16:9 enhanced and not subtitled.
"Making of" featurette is a fun behind the scenes look hosted by Miriam Yeung. It is also non-16:9 enhanced, and has only burnt-in Chinese subtitles.
Synopsis and Cast & Crew section provides very limited info.
MTV is a music video of the movie's theme song, which contain scenes from the movie, and also some deleted scenes. I'd guess it's performed by Miriam.


rating:
highly recommended
movie: 8/10
DVD: 7/10 - only because of the problematic subtitles, otherwise, it'd be an 8 rating.


J.T.
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Old 05-10-02, 08:28 AM
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Sounds good, goes on my 'buy' list. Thanks J.T.!

Gabe
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Old 05-10-02, 09:31 AM
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Originally posted by gabegarwick
Sounds good, goes on my 'buy' list. Thanks J.T.!
Ditto...
roseart is offline  
Old 05-10-02, 11:44 AM
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we all need to send emails to Mei Ah to fix their subtitle problems...

[email protected]


J.T.
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Old 05-10-02, 08:23 PM
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Originally posted by jtkv
we all need to send emails to Mei Ah to fix their subtitle problems...

[email protected]


J.T.
I've been trying all day to reach their website, but it's so bogged down that it times out before it comes up... If you email the webmaster, you're not really emailing the person who handles such matters cuz a webmaster is just the person who maintains the site - usually a 3rd party web publishing company. There should be other @meiah.com email addresses listed on their site for such a contact. I think it's a good idea though.
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Old 05-10-02, 08:47 PM
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normally, yes, but in this case, [email protected] goes to their PR/Customer Support person.


J.T.
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Old 05-11-02, 12:26 AM
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Originally posted by jtkv
normally, yes, but in this case, [email protected] goes to their PR/Customer Support person.


J.T.
I don't think it's mean to tell them the problems, it just makes them work that little extra to iron out any problems and try to avoid any problems in the future. They do reply to emails aswell, as my example shows below (I do think they mastered the subtitles for Love Undercover well before I noted to them their subtitle problem) ...
From :
"Webmaster"

To :


Subject :
Re: regarding Fat Choi Spirit

Date :
Fri, 3 May 2002 19:11:39 +0800

Dear Squigly,

Thank you for your e-mail which is a great encouragement to our recent
efforts.

In regard to the Fat Choi Spirit DVD, we have worked with our manufacturer
to adopt the latest technology in enhancing the audiovisual quality and has
been tested on majority branded DVD players with satisfactory result. We
receive some feedback after the product was released and has reported to the
manufacturer immediately. According to the manufacturer's finding, the
captioned DVD provides high quality signals in most majority of branded
players but is unstable in a few. The manufacturer has now solved the
problem and the new batch of DVD has been on its way. We have put a golden
laser DVD sticker at the back of the box to distinguish the new batch. Since
you do have have any problem in viewing your disc, you do not need to
exchange the disc.

Most of time the subtitles are supplied by the producer with time-coded
hence we have difficulty in changing it. However, we have taken your point
and will pay attention to the coming titles.

We have tried our best to include as many bonus features as possible into
our DVD, the coming "Love Undercover" DVD-9 is a classic example. But due
to the limitation of size of a DVD, and also the materials in hand, we may
not be able to open the 2nd layer with only a fraction of stuff. However,
we did have our own material research such as those information of "Wangmei
Opera" in the "Chinese Odyssy 2002" were search result on Internet.

We have been using the quality DVD case with colour inserts, and unlike the
others, we have had full colour design on most of our DVD discs, printed in
offset. The "Dummy Mummy" you mentioned must be the VCD, of which the
packing and design is referred as new trend. We shall consider all of your
suggestions, and we are glad to receive positive response from the public on
our effort since the "Running Out of Time 2".

We shall keep on producing high quality products and your continue support
is the fuel of our motive.


Best Regards

Webmaster
Mei Ah Entertainment Group



>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "squigly yang"
> To:
> Sent: Wednesday, May 01, 2002 8:53 PM
> Subject: regarding Fat Choi Spirit
>
>
> > Hello.
> > I'm happy about the vast improvement to your output. Keep up the good
> work.
> > But I do have some things I'd like you to impliment, as it's a bit
> annoying,
> > but I'll start with the reason why I'm emailing you.
> >
> > Yesasia.com this week just sent out a email to me and it's other
customers
> > about a recall of the Fat Choi Spirit dvd for replacements. I'd just
like
> to
> > know what is the reason for the decision as I haven't heard anyone
> complain
> > about this title (apart from a couple of typos on the english subtitles,
> and
> > I couldn't see any problems with the title.
> >
> > Now my other comments:
> > I must say that you've got the audio and video side licked, if you keep
on
> > improving on each release, I'm sure gonna sing your praise.
> > Some small matters I'd like to see you rectify though, is that, if
> possible
> > get who's typing the subtitles out to reread the subtitles to cut down
on
> > the typos and grammar if possible.
> > My other point is could you include the trailer on each release, as Fat
> Choi
> > Sprit didn't have it's trailer, which was a bit of a disappointment as
my
> > friends and family like to watch the trailer to get themselves in the
mood
> > for the film.
> > Also will you start introducing inside coverart, as I though the case
for
> > Dummy Mummy, Without a Baby was nice to have a clear case, but it felt
> bare
> > inside without any artwork inside. You could have chapter stops and
> > advertise new releases.
> > Also will there be any chance of doing rereleases of older titles in
> > anamorphic transfers. possibly do special editions of major titles, a
> > selection could be chosen through a online poll as a testing ground.
> > But generally I'm very pleased with what you've released since Running
Out
> > of Time 2 (and put confidence into buying your products) and am wiling
to
> > get every upcoming title.
> >
> > Would like to see any announcements posted on
> > http://pub5.ezboard.com/bhongkongdvds as alot of overseas dvd fans check
> the
> > forum (including me).
> >
> > yours sincerely
> > squigly yang

Last edited by yangshouwen; 05-11-02 at 12:30 AM.
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