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Film Review Johnnie To’s DRUG WAR

POP! BAM!
It is not your average day that we recommend a crime thriller. This has subtitles. The absolute truth is that this is the type of film you actually should see in a movie theatre. It is not a children’s film. It is not a family film. But, other than FRANCES HA , FRUITVALE STATION, and THE HEAT, this is the ONLY commercially released film we are recommending this strongly at this point in the summer.
We must confess an admiration and near obsession with the director’s earlier work (THE MISSION, EXILED, ELECTION, TRIAD ELECTION a/k/a ELECTION 2, among others). A serious student of Buddhism can also appreciate the understated symbolism of the characters in many of his works.
But you have to remember Michael Mann’s HEAT to recall a series of shootouts so brilliantly staged, choreographed and edited. One of the reasons you are SO EXCITED by the action scenes in DRUG WAR is because you are so unprepared for them. Like the action centerpiece in Michael Mann’s HEAT, the action in DRUG WAR subtly sneaks up on you and then unrelentingly explodes.
In ways you really do not understand, you really never anticipate the events in DRUG WAR. You think you might, in a Rube Goldberg machine type of way, but you don’t, because the human behavior in this film is not a scripted cliche.
The shootouts in this movie are things that make you want to go to the big screen to see movies. And in the midst of it all, Johnnie To gently drops in an homage to the silent film masterpiece GREED.
This film opened at the New York Asian Film Festival at #FSLC, opens July 26 in NYC at the IFC Theatre, followed by openings in Los Angeles and nationwide.
We RECOMMEND this film.
The tension and bravura set pieces woven into what becomes the character study of a criminal anti-hero as he manipulates his way in and out of the hands of a police captain’s undercover squad and his own betrayed crime family escalate.
It is fitting that, as #BreakingBad edges towards its television series finale, DRUG WAR encapsulates both the criminal world and the police world succinctly in 105 minutes with action scaled at maximum impact.

The Asian world equivalent to Alain Delon in looks and style, Louis Koo serves up his unreserved villain with cool panache. Following a near-death explosion at one of his meth labs, Koo’s character Timmy Choi crashes his car and wakes up on a hospital in police custody. From there, Koo and police Captain Zhang ( a superb Sun Honglei ) play a sophisticated game of wits.

See it.

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July 26, 2013 - Posted by | ART, CULTURE, FILM, opportunity, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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