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617 Ratings

Drug War

Du zhan

Directed by Johnnie To
Hong Kong, China, 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.

Drug War Directed by Johnnie To
Those drained colors and suffocating frames prefigure a narrative of dogged pursuit that nominally celebrates police conviction but instead reveals destructive single-mindedness in law enforcement effectively tasked with a small-scale civil war. Yet the film never makes these points ostentatiously, often masking its excoriating themes under such vivid sequences as Louis Koo’s kingpin lamenting his wife’s death to his deaf subordinates in sign language.
April 22, 2015
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When violence comes, it’s not the kicky hyperbole of To’s The Heroic Trio and Fulltime Killer, although To stages it with a sure sense of geography and a shitload of firepower: it’s brutal, ugly, and point-blank in its refusal to spare the good guys.
September 19, 2013
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It immediately dives into an intricate plot of cops and robbers already in full motion, where one drug bust in Jinhai, China, seamlessly folds into another greater narcotics pursuit. From here, the narrative billows out like the plume cloud of smoke seen in the first de-saturated frame…. [Drug War] paints Mainland China as a series of social and thematic roundabouts where citizens keep tripping over each other in glorious cinematic fashion. It’s pure bliss.
August 21, 2013
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