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Legio Patria Nostra – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Across The Border – | Review Score – 3.5/5
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When it comes to over-saturated genres in the TV medium, no other really comes close to crime dramas. Whether it be a police procedural, gang warfare or cat-and-mouse police investigations, there continues to be a flurry of crime-related content released every year. With this in mind, Netflix Original Undercover is a Belgium crime drama that ticks all the boxes you’d expect from this sort of show. While it does well to layer its story with some good twists along the way, Undercover ultimately fails to sidestep the trope-filled pot holes so prevalent in this genre.
The story predominantly revolves around Ferry, a prolific drug boss running a smooth operation in Belgium. Looking to tackle this behemoth and take him down are undercover police duo, Kim and Bob. Together, they work with the police to try and take him down, intent on building his trust to get closer to the operation and work toward an eventual bust. Of course, things aren’t quite that simple and between crooked cops, double crosses and the danger of Bob and Kim being found out, Undercover injects a fair amount of tension throughout its episodes, leading up to the exciting finale.
For the most part, Undercover’s story sticks close to the tried-and-tested formula seen in other shows depicting undercover agents. A lot of the ensuing tension comes from Ferry and his crew’s suspicions around Bob and it’s here where the story works quite well, even if it is a little formulaic and by-the-book at times. With each episode clocking in at a little over 45 minutes, there’s a fair amount of content to chew through here and despite a relatively decent pace to begin with, things do soon slow down.
Given the story and its predictable plot tropes, some of the camera work is surprisingly quite stylish. There’s a decent amount of long shots used early on, with multiple tracking shots used in each scene throughout the series. There’s a fair amount of silence peppered in between the dialogue too and although this does work to heighten the tension, the lack of a musical score outside of a few well-chosen vocal tracks for montages only further exacerbates the pacing problems this show has, especially during the second and third episodes.
As always, it’s advisable to watch this one in its native tongue. The dub is predictably poor and does little to really highlight the delivery of dialogue with the native tongue. This is especially evident with the English dub too which, much like other foreign dramas like this, offers much to be desired.
Despite a few decent stylish ticks and some pretty good acting all round, Undercover fails to inspire much in the way of originality to stand out in this over-saturated genre. In many ways, Undercover feels like one of the more above-average BBC crime dramas with just enough in the way of twists and turns to avoid this feeling stagnant along the way. If you’re a fan of this genre, Undercover offers little you haven’t seen before elsewhere. It’s good enough to make for an enjoyable series though but fails to really leave a lasting impact once the credits have rolled on the last episode.