In Lam's newest, he falls off the cliff of greed into the bombastic silliness of modern Hollywood thrills, with very little value or worth, despite his always-steady hand in the action scenes. With too many characters, a repetitive structure, and by not lingering on a character until 50 minutes in, its heart dies on impact. All directors have missteps, but hopefully, it's not the start of Lam's dumbing-down era.
Dante Lam has long earned my respect as one of the last purveyors of the classic Hong Kong action film. "Operation Mekong" is a based-on-a-true-story flick in love with military-grade hardware; even if it falls into the trap of glorifying the Chinese government and deploying genre tropes like chess pieces, there's no denying that few these days can stage a car chase or shootout as breathlessly as Dante Lam.
Though inspired by a true story Lam and his team add plenty of octane to this finely crafted action film that finds a coalition task force smoking out Thai drug lords who massacred Chinese fisherman in an attempt to frame them for drug running. The action set pieces and fight choreography are expertly crafted with solid support from cast. One of the better action films to come along recently.