Hit Team

Reviewed by YTSL

Good people can do not-so-good things for the benefit of those who they care for, respect or both, whereas bad people do bad things just to enrich themselves.  These seem to be the messages of this Dante Lam helmed -- plus co-produced, along with Joe Cheung (who served as well as the 2001 film’s firearms consultant), and stunt co-ordinated -- effort.  Along with a heavily stressed theme of people -- particularly those of the male gender -- needing to bear and honor the responsibility to others that they invariably possess, they also appear to be the principles which underlie the multi-part story concocted by Clarence Lee and Jack Ng, this heavy-on-the-testosterone-as-well-as-action movie’s scriptwriters.

Although its title may make it appear to be otherwise, HIT TEAM involves not one but three sets of substantially plus formidably armed units, and culminates in a bullet-filled showdown between two of them that also involves at least one member of the third group which follows a similarly well-choreographed and -staged shoot-out involving a slightly different ensemble of individuals.  The first of these that we see in action is that which is headed by Alex To’s Don character and also consists of an SDU officer called King (who is played by Tony Ho) along with a couple of other guys named Fai and Kee.  This somewhat ad hoc unit was effectively called into service by the serious wounding of an undercover police officer friend of theirs named Ho (who is essayed by Chin Kar Lok) in a gun battle that starts and is over before the movie passes the 5 minute mark.

Daniel Wu and Alex To
Targeting the underworld’s “underground bank” that Ho was involved in investigating when he got so badly hurt that he now suffers from a condition referred to in the English subtitles as “hemiplegia” and needs to go to Switzerland for treatment that costs HK$2 million, the quartet -- that is made up of three recently resigned plus one still serving policemen -- carry out a risky illegal operation that ended up not only failing to yield the amount of money they sought as well as costing the lives of five men (despite their plan having been to not hurt anybody) but also caused them to attract the serious attention of people on both sides of the law.  Rather than cut their losses and abandon their unorthodox fund-raising efforts though, they proceed to plan a second heist that would deprive the criminal world of some more of its ill-gotten gains.
Joe Lee, Chin Kar-lok, Daniel Wu
More than incidentally, it’s indeed one of the more problematic points of HIT TEAM that those who had been taught to uphold the law would be so willing to break it -- as well as sacrifice the lives of others along with their own -- so that an admittedly close buddy of theirs, who they further believe has been made a scapegoat by higher-ups in the police force, can have a chance to walk again.  While it’s no where as unorthodox in style as Dante Lam’s previous “Jiang Hu:  The Triad Zone”, there are signs here and there within it that those who produced this work are more comfortable when not toeing establishing lines.
Jo Kuk and Ruby Wong
For one thing, in a more conventional film, more screen-time would be devoted to the most clear cut “good guys” of the piece:  The E team of the elite Central Intelligence Bureau sent to hunt down Don and co. that is under the leadership of Inspector Chung Chau (who Daniel Wu efficiently portrays) and also comprises a gung-ho female replacement for a recently killed comrade (Jane Chan is played with quiet purpose by Jo Kuk), easy-going Sam (who comes in the form of Samuel Pang) and the more intense B.J..  However sketchily drawn though, this top group’s personalities still are more apparent and distinct than those of the criminal hit squad brought together and commanded by the villainous Brother Joe (Joe Lee is by far the oldest of the individuals with an active part to play in HIT TEAM’s proceedings).  Enough information is also provided to make the (re)viewer realize that more than one member of this outwardly cool and straight-arrow looking special police unit is plagued with the sort of inner demons that have the potential to wreck havoc on their judgement at times when this really should not be the case.
Samuel Pang and Tony Ho
Still, this is not to say that I don’t wish that more time had been spent on fleshing out this packed movie’s unexpectedly many major along with minor characters.  Among those that could lay the most valid claims to having been given the shortest shrift are the significant others of team leaders Don and Inspector Chung.  Alternatively, I saw little reason why they needed to be in this work at all.  As it stands (albeit through no fault of those who had the thankless job of portraying them), I feel that the scenes involving Ruby Wong’s character (that of Don’s female friend) and the woman who was Inspector Chung’s companion at the beach (I’m assuming that Monica was played by Monica Lo) did not add much at all to HIT TEAM’s story, and may well have been the weakest parts of this generally respectable and somewhat different-from-the-norm -- yet not particularly memorable -- offering.

My rating for the film:  6.