protegedvdFor an undercover drug trafficker, the fine line between right and wrong is tested beyond its limits when PROTÉGÉ debuts on DVD February 24th on the Dragon Dynasty label from Genius Products and The Weinstein Company. With a cast of Asian cinema superstars including Andy Lau (House of Flying Daggers), Daniel Wu (Legend of the Black Scorpion), Louis Koo (Flash Point) and Jingchu Zhang (Seven Swords), PROTÉGÉ earned Lau a 2007 Hong Kong Award for Best Supporting Actor and received nine Hong Kong Award nominations*, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Zhang) and Best Supporting Actor (Koo).

Based on true stories of undercover agents on the police force, PROTÉGÉ follows their story among the clandestine drug world, as they struggle to balance both justice and crime. A group of commando types invade and trap townsfolk in a grocery store on the search for a King Alien that is hiding in one of the shoppers. The story behind why it takes place in this location is on the minimum. The characters are not fleshed out as one would expect. There’s even an honest love story thrown in–which is never a good thing to be in horror, honest or in love!

One of the most arresting sight in Protégé for me, I have to admit, is Zhang Jing Chu – Hollywood’s next Ziyi Zhang. Trust me, spaghetti straps and cargo pants have never looked better. Another is Louis Koo’s disgusting turn as a drug junkie and all-star jerk. I could not recall Louis looking more convincing in a role and his character provided an interesting counterpoint to Daniel Wu’s morally upright character.
That said, Protégé is not a great movie and has nothing on Derek Yee’s other film, One Night in Mongkok. While the stellar cast discharged their roles well, its overbearing moralistic tone made the film more like a docudrama.

Another weak link is the fact that Daniel Wu’s character is an undercover cop. Besides drawing unneeded comparisons with Infernal Affairs (something that afflicts all Hong Kong movies featuring undercover cops these days), the storyline really took much away from the introspective perspective in the movie. If Daniel Wu’s character had been a real gangster who witnessed his girlfriend’s self-destruction by drug consumption, his pain and subsequent betrayal of his boss would better highlight the morality issues in the drug business. But I am neither Derek Yee nor Peter Chan, so here you are.

Movie Content: 3.5/5


Special Features

  • Feature Commentary By Hong Kong Cinema Expert Bey Logan
  • The Making of Protege
  • Undercover & Over The Edge: An Exclusive Interview With Leading Man Daniel Wu
  • Chasing The Dragon: An Exclusive Interview With Leading Lady Jing Chu
  • The Dealer: An Exclusive Interview With Producer Peter Chan
  • Original Theatrical Trailer.

Special Features: 4/5

The Final Word

This film is rather different as it continues to push the thought of drugs into the viewers face. The message gets nailed rather hard throughout the film. Derek Yee and Peter Chan use style to make this one very engaging film that never gets lost in its story.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5