Discussions of specific films and franchises.
4 posts • Page 1 of 1
- Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:16 am
Johnny To's Drug War is an absolutely superlative action film, a loyal paragon of the genre's virtues that nonetheless manages to subvert and surprise expectations at nearly every moment. There are more "personal" To films, ones that address his key themes more directly or pointedly, but few that are as exhilaratingly well organized and orchestrated as this one. The film was shot on the mainland and takes the horrifying but enormous meth production and distribution network as its subject, so it has a colder, more clinical look than most of To's Hong Kong films, but he still creates startlingly beautiful images in less than beautiful settings (the play of flashlights and headlamps across dusty freeway desert), and his characteristic sense of play remains unfettered by the demands of "realistic" action cinema. One scene that plays out during the duration of a red light at a busy intersection soon loses any claims to verisimilitude but deepens in sensual and symbolic suggestion as it goes along. It's hard to talk about the plot or characters without giving away the twists that start arriving within minutes of the film's beginning and that don't let up until the epilogue, but this is one of the most lucidly labyrinthine screenplays that To and Wai have cooked up yet, and the characters are boldly and convincingly drawn. Louis Koo is very good as a more feral take on Delon's archetypal ambiguous criminal, but he usually takes a (literal) backseat to Sun Hong-lei's delirious, shape-shifting performance as an undercover police captain, a marvel worthy of comparison to Sellers in Strangelove. Despite the mainland context, To manages to integrate his most of his favorite regulars as well, including dearly departed Suet Lam. Characteristically dazzling setpieces lead into and overlap one another with fluidity and grace, an elaborately worked out doubling structure lends the sprawling story and panoply of characters cohesion, and the 72 hour timeframe grant density and suspense, aided by flawless plotting and pacing. I could hurl effusions and praise at Drug War all day, if I had the time to do so.
- Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:11 pm
Good to hear and good to hear about how great Drug War is too. I've been meaning to watch it ever since I picked up the blu-ray. I'm definitely pushing it up to the top of my kevyip now.FerdinandGriffon wrote:Christ, I'm sorry. That must have been a nightmare I had. I could have sworn I had read that he'd died on this very forum.