About Drug War (2012)
The taciturn police commander Zhang leads an undercover drugs team and in his continuous battle against the ubiquitous drug barons, takes up arms against his arch enemy, Timmy Choi. When he gets hold of Choi, he makes a deal with him: in exchange for his life (in China you can get the death penalty for producing only 50 grams of drugs) the young criminal will help the police infiltrate a sizeable drug network.
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Zhang grows suspicious of Choi's honesty as several police officers began a raid on the drug ring. Not a bit of it. Still, (Spoiler Alert!
Without going further into the story and without saying there is too much violence in it either (though some might feel that way), I can only tell you that you need a great home system to really enjoy this. Have I covered everything you need in a great film? I can appreciate the work that went into making Drug War, the action scenes are well-directed and it has a likable cast, but what it boils down to, is that it just isn't fun to watch.
I've just ordered the DVD (Saturday night's viewing was a late-night TV broadcast). I can't wait! in the end if you want to watch this movie know that it is not an intense action movie but is still very good. This is a clever and ambitious little movie. Also worthy of mention is the film's climactic shootout in front of an elementary school, as Choi finally reveals his hand as a cool-blooded conniver interested only in his own self-preservation. Cross-cutting seamlessly between two seemingly unrelated series of events, To introduces his audience to Louis Koo's Timmy Choi, who is seen driving away from a factory billowing in smoke while foaming at the mouth, gradually losing consciousness until finally he crashes in spectacular fashion through the glass walls of a restaurant. It still is a fine film, with good directing and acting. It's an unfair alliance to begin with since there's a larger body involved compared to the smaller partner who's not given a level playing field or too much of a bargaining power, but to play within the rules set will ensure survival. This leads to an intricate operation from Captain Zhang and his fellow officers. com/2013/04/drug-war-2013.html The plot has potential, albeit the fact that the theme (e.g. drugs with an obsessive cop, and a bit of double agent) has been way over done. There is an attempt to make Choi somewhat sympathetic through a plot point about his wife, but Choi himself never really does much to make us like him or get us on his side. The acting by the two lead actors was great. Now, I am not very familiar with the work of Honglei Sun, but he definitely managed to carry the lead role quite well. All the policemen are Mainland Chinese and all the drug dealers are from Hong Kong (Take a guess which side wins in the end). Nationalism in movies has never really bothered me unless it borders on being disgusting (i.e. Michael Bay's Armageddon). That is not the case here and I don't have a problem with that. It was also a blast to have Suet Lam and Hoi-Pang Lo on the cast list. it also has some nice twists and turns to it that make this movie that is fun to watch. The drab, dusty, industrial backdrop of what is purported as the unglamorous metropolis of Tian Jin, China, tacky haute facades are the setting for Drugs War's series of raw, tension filled episodes. In fact, most of them maintained only one facial expression throughout the movie: anger. However, who is he playing for and with? Recommended! The Mainland police are shown working undercover and solving crimes, having gun battles with criminals and some even dying in the line of duty; these are all images that were previously not allowed to be shown in a Mainland theatrical release.
The Far East has a rich history of mafia movies, and this isn't amongst the classics, but that doesn't devalue it. Legendary director Johnnie To's “Drug War” generates a powerful suspense with extended action set-pieces that are truly exceptional, but it's the intense underplayed performances that ultimately leaves its lasting impression.
What's missing from Drug War are the Johnnie To quirks.
Otherwise, China presents itself a new playground in which filmmakers can go and get their vision presented through landscapes yet to be familiar playgrounds.
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Drug War is the kind of crime action thriller that is very audience pleasing. Obviously the director has no understanding of the illegal drug industry, and is expecting the Chinese population doesn't either. Sun Honglei is especially entertaining as the no nonsense Zhang, whose smart and constantly does his best to stay one step ahead of all those he's trying to bring down, including Choi. After his meth lab explodes, leaving him scarred and his wife dead, Timmy Choi (Louis Koo) is apprehended by the Chinese police for a crime that warrants the death penalty. Quite a bit I must say, with pros and cons which Drug War seem to be caught under that crossfire. Even the gunplay is less stylized and presented in a realistic fashion. You can tell he has earned his keep and has seen some crazy things behind those eyes. What's more, it's an engaging Mainland crime thriller that is bold enough to break many taboos — namely drug abuse and portrayal of graphic violence. The story is tight, the actions are neat – the shootout between the mute brothers and the cops and the grand finale scene are superb. it's a joke to have such character in this vicious world of drugs.
But these are minor complaints in the face of the entertainment at hand.
Just as certain to delight fans is a nifty twist late into the story that turns the movie into a reunion of sorts for To's regulars – Lam Suet, Gordon Lam, Eddie Cheung, Lo Hoi Pang and Michelle Ye. Of course, that's not to diminish Sun Honglei and Louis Koo's strong lead performances – the former bringing gravitas and an unexpected touch of humour when imitating HaHa's over-the-top behaviour to an otherwise stoic role; and the latter playing both cunning and desperate in thoroughly engaging fashion.
Overall, I thought the acting was pretty shoddy, there is no sense of realism. The story is simply moving beat-by-beat linearly on the central question of how trustworthy Louis Koo's drug lord character is. the final gun battle among the good, the bad and the ugly, only showed how stupid and lame the narcotic police force is and no wonder all the main characters of the narcotic team are killed.
Drug Wars attains excellence as an action movie and serves as a rare example of a controversial work to emerge from a country that produces so much state-approved propaganda. but then he pulls out all the stops. the only real action is at the end of the movie the rest of the movie has some amazing performances and well written scenes. But fans of the auteur can rest easy – To is as sharp as he has ever been here reuniting with his regular screenwriter and producer Wai Kar-Fai, delivering a tense and engrossing procedural around a complex anti-drug trafficking police operation. Director Johnnie To has made some really great films in the past, such as the Election-films and Mad Detective. Immediately, Choi is put into surveillance, but Choi's identity only becomes clearer when he is brought into questioning, turning surprisingly compliant as he tells Zhang that he is but a middleman between a rich businessman turned drug dealer Boss HaHa (Hao Ping) and a powerful supplier named Uncle Bill. Decided to watch Drug Wars after seeing reviews here and elsewhere. But that's not the worst of it. Louis is not to be outshone: calculated, cunning, and above all, selfish. The police had to come up on top and the bad guys punished. He's like the calm before the storm, readily break loose.
Even though DRUG WAR moves in a deliberate pace, its intricate plot to see the way both sides of the Mainland police and the drug dealers going through their working procedures, is often thrilling to watch for — particularly where Sun Honglei's Captain Zhang goes as far as adopting different personalities (among them is being HaHa) during his elaborate undercover operation.
Then we must be introduced to the cops, where the anti-narcotic department is given the spotlight for the film's focus on a drug syndicate.
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Not since Election 2 has a Johnnie To film been so direct with its metaphors and allegories, and this is what sets Drug War apart from other run of the mill crime thrillers done by other filmmakers. Because the science behind it is similar to cheesy action flicks made back in the 80's (i.e. a wooden table can stop bullets, guns have unlimited ammo, especially pistols. This movie just ends as “Everybody dies, the end.” While I too compared To to John Woo at first, he has surpassed him and is a brand of his own. An extended shootout that's brutal, ambitious, and a masterpiece of it's kind. All in all, an 8 out of 10 is a solid film.
The first act of “Drug War” is an epic manifestation of To's talents: The camera is never in the wrong place, and we're swept effortlessly into the mindsets of a dozen people in the first act with few words or wasted gestures. It doesn't help that you're never quite sure who to trust or who will do what, especially Choi, who remains shifty and unsure. And of course, the ending with the good triumph over evil can be seen from miles away, despite the director's effort to spice it up. I'm not asking for mindless action and shoot-outs, I just don't think the story was exciting enough to keep me interested for the films almost 2 hour long running time.
Very much worth watching. I liked how they had him play as a con artist, pretending to be various different drug lords. So which side is our man on? It's a very basic and shallow cops and criminals tale, albeit, a very well written and produced one.
All in all, for a cops-against-bad-guys film this is well directed, with action scenes well staged and the cops and criminals well portrayed. None of the cops ever eat or sleep. It not only stalled time, it had no point, didn't solve any actual problem, and was just plain stupid from start to finish.
Yet despite the breakneck pace, each sequence is tautly choreographed. Is The Pope Catholic? These elements don't come together as a derivative; To is a filmmaker at the top of his game, and makes the most of his cast, his influences, the Mainland setting, and a little of the grotesquerie that often has Hollywood shuddering; in a singular whole. Pacing: top-notch; the rapid switches of perspectives to show how the relevant characters were reacting had me drooling. Great contrast. It's a bit longer, but certainly doesn't drag and drag. I had to facepalm the moment I saw that horrendously unrealistic scenario.
Two small complaints on my part keep the film from a higher rating. But whatever. This is a movie that follows a group of cops as they try to break up a drug ring with the help of a boss that they caught.
There's a wider subtext in the film though, dealing with Hong Kong and China, where the former group sees opportunities in making money in the Mainland, but the message is that collaboration and mutual trust is key. His films usually involve cops or gangsters, all of them equally tough, and his detailed plots inevitably involve lots of death, betrayal, and bloodshed. Some of the minor characters were not acted well or fleshed out, so in the final showdown, when police officers you have been seeing the entire film go down, I felt little connection to them, and sometimes even had to look back to remember why they were there in the first place! To pulls out all the stops in this high-octane police procedural, shot predominantly in the Jinshan district on the Chinese mainland. If you have watched Drug War, you can read or write the film review on Drug War on IMDB. And let us know whether you liked the film or not at the comment section below..