LA Undercover | Film Threat
Dec 25, 2022
A cop is given the promotion of a lifetime, but with that promotion comes temptation and compromise in co-writers/co-directors Omar Cook and Adonis Armstrong’s feature film, LA Undercover. Cook plays Officer Corey Shaw, a young cop who quickly proves himself to be a valuable asset to the department. Out on the mean streets of Los Angeles is the cold-blooded crime lord Kevin “Keys” Lyles (Clay Cureton).
Keys and his gang are running lucrative drug operations, but with the paranoid Keys demanding a larger piece of the action, bodies are starting to pile up on the LA streets. The LAPD needs an inside man in Keys’ operation. Corey Shaw is the right officer for the job. Seeing the potential to fast-track his career Shaw accepts the undercover offer, but this means he has to separate himself from his girlfriend, Sierra (Ajima Cole), who just revealed she is carrying Shaw’s child. However, her love and prayers will keep him strong.
As the operation begins, Shaw quickly finds himself in Keys’ inner circle. But the deeper Shaw gets, the more he realizes that he must commit some horrible and highly illegal acts if he is to keep his cover. The more successful Shaw becomes, the more he loses grip on the good cop he once was and the thug he’s slowly becoming.
For me, it’s just exciting to see the progression of Omar Cook and Adonis Armstrong as filmmakers. I have had the pleasure of reviewing several of their short films and what’s clear is they take their craft very seriously. There’s a vision in the kind of stories they write and how they want to tell them — even with the budget they’ve been given. They’ve also got a solid ensemble to pull from. The best part is that these guys are evolving, and LA Undercover is their first feature film (albeit an hour long).
“…Shaw accepts the undercover offer, but this means he has to separate himself from his girlfriend, Sierra…”
The worst thing I can say about LA Undercover is that it looks like a micro-budget indie film. The sets are makeshift. The filmmakers are in desperate need of quality lighting, and their HD cameras are sufficient, but everyone’s headed to 4K these days. That said, Cook and Armstrong are definitely putting the work into becoming full-fledged filmmakers making the most of their resources.
The editing and sound are top-notch. I’m excited to see what Cook and Armstrong have coming next. It takes great discipline to tell your story and stop when it’s done (I’m referring to the sixty-minute runtime). There’s no fluff in this film.
LA Undercover is a straightforward narrative, meaning that each scene exists to propel the narrative. It plays out more like a drama of an undercover cop walking that line of moral compromise than an actioner. The next step is to break up the drama by adding some action, albeit low-budget action to pad that time out to ninety minutes.
What the film gets right is that it focuses on one character, Det. Corey Shaw. Shaw has a complete character arc, and the film is then built around that arc. He’s a virtuous cop with a loving, pregnant girlfriend. Shaw is also good at his job, almost too good. When he begins blurring the line between cop and thug, that’s when things kick into high gear.
LA Undercover is the kind of film we appreciate the most at Film Threat. There’s this belief that Hollywood still owns specific genres, and filmmakers like Omar Cook and Adonis Armstrong prove that the tools are available to tell exciting stories with little to no money.
For more information, visit the LA Undercover official webpage.
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