A special agent has for 8 years been deep undercover in Asia’s lucrative organized crime trade as he plays protégé to one of the key players, Banker. Nick now has but he has started to feel loyalty to his new environment, and to the money.
User Reviews: Brian De Palma talks about cocaine in Scarface, the 1983 drug epic that makes Al Pacino well known for his role of Tony Montana, a ruthless drug lord that trades cocaine in the early 80’s.
Now meet HongKong director Derek Yee, who creates a friendlier Montana of HongKong, Quin aka the Banker. Andy Lau took the role of Asia’s friendly Montana, who trades heroin instead of cocaine. He decided to hand his heroin business to Nick (Daniel Wu), his driver who has followed him for 8 years. Nick is just like Manny Ribera, the best friend of Montana. However, Nick is actually a police undercover who has been gathering evidence to nab Quin and his organization.
Protégé is an adaptation from one of the case handled by the HongKong police. Audience who has watched Yee’s previous production such as One Night in Mongkok, The Truth About Jane and Sam and C’est La Vie, Mon Cherie knows that he would not overuse use any car-chasing or gun-firing to achieve the effect of telling the story of the battle between the police and the underworld. Instead, he uses down to earth dialogues to tell the story. Having a plot that discuss drugs, the film goes deep into the world of drugs, from money to damage, from love to extreme hatred from drug abusing.
Certain scenes featured explores the damages done to the people for abusing drugs. In the film, damages were featured in the character Jane (Zhang Jing Chu) and her husband (Louis Koo), where both were drug abusers. The husband forces the wife to prostitution so as to feed his craving for drugs. Jane, on the other hand, starves herself and did not give proper education to her daughter, for she was too poor and tired to take care of her daughter. Eventually, her cravings for drugs leads to her self-destruction.
Audience are treated to a exploration of the Golden Triangle located in the South East Asia, which was well-known in the world for poppy plantation. The film also features steps in producing heroin, such as growing, extraction, processing and the various names used to differentiate types of drugs. Compared to other films that discusses drugs, Protégé has featured something that others have never tried before.
Apart from the above named cast, Protégé also features Yee himself as Nick’s superior, the banker’s wife (Anita Yuen’s comeback appearance after ceasing herself from the big screen for a long period) and Qi Yu Wu (an Singapore actor from Mediacorp). While it is a surprise to see Yee and Yuen taking supporting role in the film, Qi’s role as a Singapore Police Officer seems pretty redundant, for that few second’s appearance doesn’t make much difference. It is not surprising to see Qi given such a small role, since Protégé is a production of Singapore Mediacorp’s Raintree Pictures and they are well known for using throwing in their own actors playing redundant roles. Think Tay Ping Hui in Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s Infernal Affairs 2 and Hossan Leong in Max Makowski’s One Last Dance, where Raintree has a part in it.
Overall, Protégé might seems to be another films about drugs, but once you go deeper into the film, you will find the ugliness of drugs baring naked in front of you.