Drug War

(Du zhen)
(China, 2013, 107 mins, DCP)
CAST Sun Honglei, Louis Koo, Huang Yi, Gao Yunxiang, Wallace Chung, Li Guangije, Hao Ping


Hong Kong auteur Johnnie To may be the best director of thrillers working anywhere in the world today. He’s an assured stylist, a formalist who knows the genre inside out and takes delight in experimenting with its codes and tropes. But with his new film, Drug War, he’s reined in much of the playful stuff you find in more recent movies like Sparrow or Exiled to pare down on a tough, intense mainland China police procedural.

Drug War has been hailed as a return to the form of PTU and Breaking News. Louis Koo (Election) is a gangster who helps cop Sun Honglei infiltrate the "gang of 7". As the uneasy allies are forced to compress months of police work into just 72 sleepless hours, the increasingly desperate police are quickly stretched past their limits. As things spin wildly out of control, the line between duty and recklessness is blurred, and it becomes unclear whether the cop or the criminal truly has the upper hand