This is a piece I wrote a few years back for another publication
Undercover, that means you create a fake identity, sometimes alter your appearance then pretend to be someone you are not.
Lots of movie characters go undercover. Paul Walker in Fast and the Furious, Steven Seagal in Half Past Dead, Johnny Depp in Donnie Brasco.
Problem is, these guys were lazy. They simply changed their names. Real lazy would be James Bond, he doesn’t even do that. A real undercover film character goes that extra mile, that extra step. And in the case of the top 3 under cover characters, they were so dedicated, they didn’t even need to go undercover.
Let’s examine them, starting from 3 to 1:
3.) Thomas Ian Griffin in Karate Kid III. See, in this entry we find Sensei Kreese down on his luck and broke, with nerve damaged hands from punching out car windows in part II. Luckily for him his old buddy is a wealthy oil tycoon, or toxic waste dumper, it’s never made clear. Anyway they devise a plan to re open the Cobra Kai dojos and in the process hire a kid to beat up Daniel in the tournament. So Silver decides he will trick Daniel and Miyagi into thinking Kreese is dead. To do this he gets dressed in some old jeans and a t-shirt. He even tells his servants, who are bringing him outfits to wear while he is undercover that he needs to look “Poor”. He then goes and picks out a clunky old pickup truck with a cracked window. He tells them Kreese is dead and he’s re opening the dojos to bring honor back. He even succeeds in tricking Daniel into letting him train him. Did his plan work? No, wouldn’t be a feel good movie if it did. But you know what sets him apart? Miyagi and Daniel had no clue who he was. He didn’t need to drive a junky car; he could have kept the Bentley. He could have worn his nice Armani suit; instead he dressed like a commoner. You know why. Because he was dedicated, the way a true undercover guy should be.
2.) Lorenzo Lamas in Bounty Tracker. Bounty Tracker stars Lorenzo Lamas as, well, a bounty tracker. Granted he is only undercover in the beginning scene but it’s just fantastic. A Bounty Tracker is another term for Bounty Hunter. So naturally Lorenzo hunts down bad guys. In the beginning he enters a seedy looking club to apprehend a fugitive. He has his hair pulled back, glasses, a very dapper looking suit and he’s even speaking with a British accent. He gets into the club then goes into the bathroom where he takes out his flask, which is actually a smoke bomb. He uses it to set off the fire alarm causing the place to evacuate. Well sort of, the guy he is looking for stays. And you know why the only person to stay was the person he was looking for? Because he went undercover when he didn’t need to. The guy didn’t know who he was; he realized something was up, but in all honesty Lorenzo could have done the same thing without using a fake accent and dressing a tad bit like a nerd with glasses. But you know why he did it. Because he is the man, and the best Bounty tracker in the business.
1.) Billy Blanks in Back in Action. Billy Blanks plays a former special forces, martial arts master, cab driver who teams up with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper to take down a drug dealer who killed Pipers partner and kidnapped Billy’s sister. Early on in the film Billy goes to a fight club of sorts. Just a local underground fighting ring and gang hideout under a bridge. We know it’s a seedy area as it has lots of graffiti and barrels that have fire in them. Billy climbs over a fence in the back, beats up a random thug and steals his jacket. He then pulls the hood over his face and starts wandering around. That’s right, he grabs an innocent bystander beats him down and steals his clothes. No one knew him, No one. They had no idea who he was; he could have just walked in and hung out. Instead, not only did he change his clothes, he also used physical violence to achieve his infiltration, thus making him number one on my list.
And there you have it. The top 3 Undercover Film Characters ever.