Johnnie To imports Legalism back in this piece of artful entertainment albeit with a neutral, cerebral decree of excitement in action, wit and stoic humor. For a repressed society sans communication (presented by the multitudes of language and dialect), death is not the only logical option, it’s the most just. Despite any Confucian claims to the contrary, there are no winners in the war on drugs. Everyone loses.
A masterpiece that again shows To's ability to consistently reinvent himself with each film, even in the same genre. Going economical with Michael Mann's (Heat/Miami Vice) trademark terse-and-tense, moody style, he makes a police procedural that moves like a bullet into its momentous, epical shootout that transcends 1969's The Wild Bunch. Then asks rhetorically: who's the best auteur of action films in the world?
Johnnie To non si smentisce nemmeno in territori della Cina mainland e confeziona un thriller tesissimo e senza respiro, una lunga e dolorosa operazione anti-droga in cui nessuno vince e tutti perdono (anche la vita). La sparatoria finale è straordinaria e ricorda molto il finale di Expect the Unexpected. Dalle parti del capolavoro.
(Generous) 9 - One of the most deceptively intelligent films I have seen in ages. A by-the-book (flagrantly flawed) police procedural drawn well within the lines imposed by The Mainland is slowly suffused with opprobrium for what it's seemingly promoting, by the simple act of recognizing the humanity of everyone involved. Nothing's more unpredictable, or deceiving, than a man with nothing to lose. Can you blame him?
As far as Johnnie To films go, this one is pretty unremarkable on the visual front. But what a performance by Honglei Sun! And what a flawlessly paced and edited movie! I'm always impressed with To's ability to tell intricate stories in a seamless, faced-paced manner that never forgoes character for cheap thrills but always delivers back-to-back nail-biting suspense. Drug War is no exception in that regard.
Maybe the best showdown I have ever seen. No wonder Tarantino likes Jonnie To so much... Still not sure what to think about a potential statement about subjects like police brutality or capital punishment... But maybe there is no statement and there does not need to be one.
There were quite a few Hong Kong crime thrillers in the last 3-4 years and DRUG WAR is certainly one of the best of them. It's also one of the few To films i like. The pacing and the action sequences are great and To's style fits its destructive environment. You'll enjoy this if you liked THE YELLOW SEA or THE MAN FROM NOWHERE.
Ormai Johnnie To non stupisce più: padronanza assoluta della messa in scena,personaggi fantastici e scene girate in maniera magistrale,da mostrare nelle Accademie.Ogni 10 minuti c'è una scena da ricordare(la sparatoria coi sordomuti è impressionante) ed il finale chiude la storia in maniera splendida:Johnnie è davvero un grande. 4*
Although it might be one of To's more straightforward films (in stylistic and narrative terms), it's also one of his most subversive, beautifully depicting the pointlessness of drug wars, in which everyone loses. To also blurs the boundaries so completely that it becomes impossible to tell who protagonists, anti-heroes or villains are. To also shots China in a way that I've never seen, as an industrial waste zone.