A Nutshell Review: On The Edge
At first glance, this movie might look like an Infernal Affairs clone,
with Nick Cheung declaring he wants to be a "good cop", and with the
element of an undercover cop in the triads. Actually, this could have
sort of served as a tangent off IA1, with keen observations to how
undercover cops find it tough to assimilate back to normalcy, as the
movie shared, more than 50% do not make it pass their 3rd year.
Nick Cheung plays Harry, an undercover cop who has just busted one of
the largest triad bosses - Don Dark (don't ask, played by the excellent
Francis Ng), but so what? One would expect glory, recognition and a fat
reward to go along, but surprise, in the real world, things like that
go unappreciated more often than not. In most movies, the good guy
takes the bad guy down in a blaze of glory, and one would expect the
glorious moments to be hailed. Here, it's the exploration of how
difficult it is actually to rid yourself of vices that you picked up
over the years.
Given 8 years spent in the underworld, friendships are forged, and so
that sense of brotherhood and loyalty become fiercely strong. And it is
indeed this brand of devotion that casts a shadow on Harry, whether he
has actually rid himself of underworld links, or somehow turned tails
and is acting like a double agent. But you know you're stuck in a rut
when both sides decide they couldn't trust you.
Assimilating back to society isn't always easy, and not having the
support from those that matter to you will always make it all the more
challenging. In the 8 years you've been living a lie as a different
man, how would you expect others to look at you? It actually makes you
wonder if it is humanly possible at all, to forget some of the best
times of your life, and the relationships you hold so dearly to. After
all, no man is an island.
A major plus point is the stellar supporting heavyweights like Francis
Ng and Anthony Wong, though they may seem to have superficially
replayed their roles from IA2, with a bit of mellowing from Ng and an
extra sense of edginess from Wong. Rain Lee as Harry's girlfriend
looked a bit out of place though, with her cutie pie looks totally in
opposites with her tough- nails gangster moll character. There's also a
deliberate contrast between the methods of those on different sides of
the law, subtly hinting that in the end, it boils down to basic human
principles of conduct.
To round up, the movie may be treading on a familiar genre. The
multiple flashbacks are done very nicely as we see the years that Harry
spent in the underworld intertwined and contrasting with the normal
life he's trying to lead. I suspect it might not last long in its
release here given the barrage of films out starting from next week, so
you might want to give this movie a shot.
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