Review: ‘We 12,’ starring Mirror

May 5, 2024

by Carla Hay

Pictured from left to right: Tiger Yau, Lokman Yeung, Anson Kong, Edan Lui, Alton Wong, Jer Lau, Anson Lo, Keung To, Ian Chan, Stanley Yau and Jeremy Lee in “We 12” (Photo by Edko Films Ltd.)

“We 12”

Directed by Berry Ho

Cantonese with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in Hong Kong, the action film “We 12” features a predominantly Asian cast of characters (with one white person) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: The 12 estranged members of a crime-fighting group are summoned by their boss to work together again to find and confiscate an evil scientific invention that will destroy the world’s ecosystem. 

Culture Audience: “We 12” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of Mirror, because they are probably the only ones who might be willing to overlook all the flaws of this vapid and uninteresting movie.

Edan Lui, Jeremy Lee, Jer Lau, Stanley Yau, Lokman Yeung, Anson Lo, Keung To, Ian Chan, Anson Kong, Tiger Yau, Alton Wong and Frankie Chan in “We 12” (Photo by Edko Films Ltd.)

“We 12” is a disappointing mush of missed opportunities. What could have been an entertaining action romp starring singing group Mirror as a crime-fighting crew becomes an incoherent mess by the middle of the film. The group doesn’t even sing in the movie.

Directed by Berry Ho and written by Cheung Lai Sze, “We 12” is more obvious about its “cash grab” intentions than most ill-conceived movies starring pop singers. That’s because almost no effort was made to come up with a good story. “We 12” also fails to showcase the individual personalities of the 12 members of Mirror, a group that was formed in 2018, on the Hong Kong reality TV show/talent “Good Night Show – King Maker.”

In “We 12,” the members of the group are reduced to being identified mainly by the special skill each character with not much to make their personalities unique and distinctive. The members of Mirror portrays estranged members of the Kaito Association, a group of crime fighters who have secretive missions. Here are the roles that the members of Mirror have in “We 12”:

  • Frankie Chan is Kaito Frankie, whose specialty is sixth sense.
  • Ian Chan is Kaito Ian, whose specialty is strategic planning.
  • Anson Kong is Kaito AK, whose specialty is animal telepathy.
  • Jer Lau is Kaito Jer, whose specialty is disguise.
  • Jeremy Lee is Kaito Jeremy, whose specialty is super memory.
  • Anson Lo is Kaito A.Lo, whose specialty is agility.
  • Edan Lui is Kaito Edan, whose specialty is abseiling.
  • Keung To is Kaito KT, whose specialty is hypnosis.
  • Alton Wong is Kaito Alton, whose specialty is cyber attacks.
  • Stanley Yau is Kaito Stanley, whose specialty is eavesdropping.
  • Tiger Yau is Kaito Tiger, whose specialty is lip reading.
  • Lokman Yeung is Kaito Lokman, whose specialty is lock picking.

These members of the Kaito Association are summoned by an unseen supervisor called The Boss (voiced by Kenny Wong Tak Bun, also known as Tak-Bun Wong), who communicates with them only by phone on an emergency hotline. The Boss gathers them for a secret mission and says they have to put aside their conflicts to work on this mission. The Boss tells them about the Forbidden Science Society, which is doing harmful things that must be stopped. For example, the Forbidden Science Society has genetically engineered chicken called right wing chicken, which causes cancer when consumed.

The mission assigned to the Kaito Association is about an evil scientist professor (played by Barry Cox), who has invented a mosquito zapper, which seems like a useful invention, since mosquitos are considered a nuisance. However, The Boss explains that the professor’s goal is to eradicate mosquitos in the entire multiverse, which would cause an ecological imbalance. The Kaito Association’s mission is to find and destroy the mosquito zapper.

The rest of “We 12” consists of a jumble of scenes where the Kaito Association members use their special skills in this good versus evil mission. The dance skills of the members of Mirror certainly look like they come in handy for some of the choreographed fights and stunts. However, these fights just fill up time and don’t do much to enhance the thin and flimsy plot. The movie has two types of dialogue: forgettable or simply atrocious.

“We 12” is also uneven in how it only has a few members stand out with the most memorable tricks. Jer, as the master of disguises, goes undercover as a bartender during a scene at an upscale party. But then, the movie has other members of the group also disguise themselves at the same party: Ian and Tiger are dressed as waiters, while Edan is a violinist. It muddles the purpose of Jer being the main “disguise” guy.

Stanley and Lokman disguise themselves as bellhops at a hotel, where AK sees a German Shepherd and can read its mind. The mind reading of the dog is supposed to be hilarious, but it’s just a nonsensical scene that might elicit a few mild chuckles. A.Lo is supposed to be the most agile, yet he gets himself into a situation that contradicts this special ability.

“We 12” never explains why these members of the Kaito Association were estranged in the first place. And for a group of heartthrobs, it’s strange that they have no love interests in the movie. The only female character with a real speaking role in “We 12” is a pretty young woman named Princess (played by Lin Min-Chen), who randomly shows up once in a while to say something cute and then leaves again.

It’s certainly possible to do an entertaining heist film with more than 10 members in the heist group having personalities that are every easy to distinguish from each other. (For example: director Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean Eleven,” “Ocean’s Twelve” and “Ocean’s Thirteen” movies.) The members of Mirror aren’t outstanding actors, but they aren’t terrible actors either. They’re just in a terrible movie. Tiger (playful), Jer (mischievous) and A.Lo (suave) are the characters who have the most memorable personalities in “We 12.”

It seems like such a waste to have this ensemble film not do much to give all 12 members of Mirror a chance to equally shine in what could have been an adventure film that’s fun to watch. “We 12” is one of those bad movies that uses the end credits to show bloopers and deleted scenes, where the cast members laugh at their mistakes and joke around with each other. All this demonstrates is that the stars of the movie had a lot more fun making the movie than viewers will have enjoying it.

Edko Films Ltd. released “We 12” in select U.S. cinemas on April 26, 2024. The movie was released in Hong Kong on March 28, 2024.

Copyright 2017-2024 Culture Mix