The Infiltrator wasn't the great undercover film that I had expected. The trailer was certainly promising, with Bryan Cranston as the lead, but the movie itself was pretty disappointing. This reminded me of a made-for-TV movie that only made it to theaters because of the cast. This film would've been better off as a documentary instead of a Hollywood production, mildly interesting and yet ultimately forgettable. While #TheInfiltrator failed to impress, here are five other undercover films that do a much better job.
1. 'Serpico' (1973)
Serpico is based on the biography of a real NYPD officer during the 1960s. He has to deal with corruption inside the police force and try not to get killed while investigating other cops. That makes for a fairly tense narrative when most cops hate your guts. I still prefer the other films on this list because the #AlPacino feature looks really dated now, but it was a refreshing film that doesn't rely on action cliches.
2. 'Donnie Brasco' (1997)
Al Pacino and Johnny Depp in the same movie? Can't go wrong with that. The relationship between these characters was something special. Donnie Brasco is a unique cop feature that blurs the lines between cop and criminal. Pretty shocking that this is based on true events. However, a little realism can go a long way in terms of entertainment. Since this was based on real life, it makes me wonder how much was embellished through creative license. Either way, it was a good film and should be considered one of #JohnnyDepp's best performances.
3. 'Narc' (2002)
Narc is another undercover film that has a few good twists in the right places and the best is saved for last. #RayLiotta plays another unhinged character, but that's what he's known for. We see things through the eyes of the protagonist, played by Jason Patric. The acting wasn't exactly Oscar worthy and yet it managed to be successful. You have a partnership where two cops don't trust each other and a murder that isn't what it seems. An interesting mystery with a rather shocking conclusion.
4. 'The Departed' (2006)
I was quite impressed by this remake of Infernal Affairs and it continues to be one of #LeonardoDiCaprio's best movies. You can't lose when surrounded by such a talented cast. This is a great film that keeps you guessing until the credits roll. The typical rules of a cop movie don't apply here, as anyone can die at any time. It makes things far more thrilling when you're actually surprised by a death or betrayal.
5. 'New World' (2013)
I discovered Korean cinema thanks to the last abysmal #DieHard feature. New World borrows elements from other films in the genre and yet it manages to carve out a niche for itself. It's tense from beginning to end without relying on explosions or gore. Some of it was a little goofy, but I enjoyed it anyway. The relationship between the cops and the criminals was really fascinating. That's especially true when looking at the friendship between Lee Ja-sung and Jung Chung, who should be enemies. Even the ending is pretty shocking and very satisfying.
Do you have a favorite undercover cop film? Let me know in the comments below.