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Drug War (2013) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version) VCD

Louis Koo (Actor) | Crystal Huang (Actor) | Sun Hong Lei (Actor) | Wallace Chung (Actor)
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Drug War (2013) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Hong Kong auteur filmmaker Johnnie To takes his brand of hard-boiled action thrillers to Mainland China with Drug War. In his latest collaboration with writer Wai Ka Fai, To crafts a breathless game of cat and mouse between an elite anti-narcotics team and a conniving drug dealer trying to save his own skin. Despite being made under Chinese censorship restrictions, Drug War is a thrilling and surprisingly violent action ride that offers an eye-opening look at China's drug trade and the various methods Chinese law enforcement agencies use to bring it down. At the same time, To and Wai also lend the film an intriguing shade of gray, questioning how far people can go in the name of self-preservation and the pursuit of justice.

Sun Honglei (Triangle, Lethal Hostage) is at his deadpan best as a tough-as-nails narcotics team leader who is determined to bring down a drug smuggling operation, while Louis Koo gives an equally strong performance as the desperate drug dealer. Drug War also features appearances by members of the usual Milkyway troupe: Lam Suet, Eddie Cheung, Gordon Lam, Lo Hoi Pang, Michelle Ye, Philip Keung and Berg Ng. Drug War may be Johnnie To's first Mainland Chinese film, but this Venice Competition entry film is undoubtedly a worthy addition to the Milkway Image canon.

One day, a mysterious man suddenly crashes his car into a restaurant in Jinhai. After an investigation by Captain Zhang Lei (Sun Honglei) and his team of narcotics officers, they discover that the man is Timmy Choi (Louis Koo), a drug dealer who smuggles drugs from Southern China to Jinhai. An explosion has destroyed his drug factory, and another team of narcotics officers from Southern China is following his latest shipment. To save himself from a death sentence, Timmy promises to help Zhang catch the drug cartel he works for. As Timmy takes Zhang higher up the drug trade ladder, the narcotics team discovers that they may be getting themselves into more than they bargained for.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Drug War (2013) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version) 毒戰 (2013) (VCD) (香港版) 毒战 (2013) (VCD) (香港版) Drug War (2013) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version) Drug War (2013) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Louis Koo (Actor) | Crystal Huang (Actor) | Sun Hong Lei (Actor) | Wallace Chung (Actor) | Lo Hoi Pang (Actor) | Philip Keung (Actor) | Gordon Lam (Actor) | Eddie Cheung (Actor) | Guo Tao (Actor) | Li Jing (Actor) | Gao Xin (Actor) | Michelle Ye (Actor) | Lam Suet (Actor) | Gan Ting Ting (Actor) | Xiao Cong (Actor) | Cheng Tai Shen (Actor) | Li Guang Jie (Actor) | Berg Ng (Actor) | Ren Yan (Actor) | Hao Ping (Actor) | Tan Kai (Actor) | Gao Yun Xiang (Actor) | Wang Zi Yi (Actor) 古天樂 (Actor) | 黃奕 (Actor) | 孫紅雷 (Actor) | 鍾漢良 (Actor) | 盧海鵬 (Actor) | 姜浩文 (Actor) | 林家棟 (Actor) | 張兆輝 (Actor) | 郭濤 (Actor) | 李菁 (Actor) | 高鑫 (Actor) | 葉 璇 (Actor) | 林雪 (Actor) | 甘婷婷 (Actor) | 肖聰 (Actor) | 成泰燊 (Actor) | 李光潔 (Actor) | 吳廷燁 (Actor) | 任岩 (Actor) | 郝平 (Actor) | 譚凱 (Actor) | 高雲翔 (Actor) | 王紫逸 (Actor) 古天乐 (Actor) | 黄奕 (Actor) | 孙红雷 (Actor) | 锺汉良 (Actor) | 卢海鹏 (Actor) | 姜浩文 (Actor) | 林家栋 (Actor) | 张兆辉 (Actor) | 郭 涛 (Actor) | 李菁 (Actor) | 高鑫 (Actor) | 叶璇 (Actor) | 林雪 (Actor) | 甘婷婷 (Actor) | 肖聪 (Actor) | 成泰燊 (Actor) | 李光洁 (Actor) | 吴廷烨 (Actor) | 任岩 (Actor) | 郝平 (Actor) | 谭凯 (Actor) | 高云翔 (Actor) | 王紫逸 (Actor) 古天樂 (ルイス・クー) (Actor) | 黄奕(ホァン・イー) (Actor) | 孫紅雷 (スン・ホンレイ) (Actor) | 鍾漢良(ウォレス・チョン) (Actor) | 廬海鵬(ロー・ホイパン) (Actor) | 姜皓文(キョン・ヒウマン) (Actor) | 林家棟(ラム・カートン) (Actor) | 張兆輝(チョン・シウファイ) (Actor) | 郭濤(グオ・タオ) (Actor) | Li Jing (Actor) | Gao Xin (Actor) | 葉璇 (ミッシェル・イップ) (Actor) | 林雪 (ラム・シュー) (Actor) | ガン・ティンティン (Actor) | Xiao Cong (Actor) | 成泰燊 (チェン・タイシェン) (Actor) | Li Guang Jie (Actor) | 呉廷燁 (ン・ティンイップ) (Actor) | Ren Yan (Actor) | Hao Ping (Actor) | Tan Kai (Actor) | Gao Yun Xiang (Actor) | Wang Zi Yi (Actor) Louis Koo (Actor) | Crystal Huang (Actor) | Sun Hong Lei (Actor) | Wallace Chung (Actor) | Lo Hoi Pang (Actor) | Philip Keung (Actor) | Gordon Lam (Actor) | Eddie Cheung (Actor) | Guo Tao (Actor) | Li Jing (Actor) | Gao Xin (Actor) | Michelle Ye (Actor) | Lam Suet (Actor) | Gan Ting Ting (Actor) | Xiao Cong (Actor) | Cheng Tai Shen (Actor) | Li Guang Jie (Actor) | Berg Ng (Actor) | Ren Yan (Actor) | Hao Ping (Actor) | 담개 (Actor) | Gao Yun Xiang (Actor) | Wang Zi Yi (Actor)
Director: Johnnie To 杜琪峰 杜琪峰 杜琪峰 (ジョニー・トー)  Johnnie To
Writer: Wai Ka Fai 韋家輝 韦家辉 韋家輝 (ワイ・カーファイ) Wai Ka Fai
Release Date: 2013-06-18
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Country of Origin: Hong Kong, China
Disc Format(s): VCD
Rating: IIB
Duration: 106 (mins)
Publisher: Media Asia (HK)
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1033510540

Product Information

Director: Johnnie To

When Mainland Chinese Inspector Zhang runs into the Hong Kong man Cai at the hosital, who has been in a car accident due to chemical poisoning, the immediately senses something fishy about him. It turns out Cai is indeed a drug manufacturer closely linked to the notorious drug lord Li. Yo save his own neck, Cai agrees to help Zhang arrest Li by facilitating his sisguise as a buyer in order to lure Li into a drug deal. Right before this undercover operation is about to bear fruit, Zhang realizes all too late that the relationship between Cai and Li is not what it seems, and instead of having played Cai as a pawn in a battle of wits, he himself has been a pawn in Cai’s own game all along.
Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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Awards

This film has received 7 award nomination(s). All Award-Winning Asian Films

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Drug War (2013) (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)"

June 25, 2013

This professional review refers to Drug War (2013) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
Hey China, meet Johnnie To! The Milkyway Image mastermind gets his formal introduction to the mainland with Drug War, a crime thriller about righteous PRC cops looking to bust despicable drug dealers. To got into the co-production game with romances Don't Go Breaking My Heart and Romancing in Thin Air, but both felt like Hong Kong films dabbling in China. Drug War stars mainland actors, features uniquely mainland settings and was bow-to-stern approved by SARFT. There's a Hong Kong director at the helm, but Drug War is a China film. Skepticism is natural, as much of Milkyway Image's crime filmography would not work under the assumed SARFT rules. Honor among thieves, heroic bloodshed, thematic irony – survey says this stuff isn't going to fly. But take those joy-killing barriers and spin them sideways, and you'll see just how surmountable the obstacles are. There's a way to take on China's dreaded content rules, and Johnnie To shows he's the man to do it.

Louis Koo stars as Timmy Choi, a Hong Kong drug dealer who ends up in a Jinhai hospital after escaping an explosion at his drug factory. At the hospital, Timmy crosses paths with the Anti-Drug Squad, led by Captain Zhang Lei (Sun Honglei). Apprehended and facing the death penalty, Timmy bargains with Zhang, offering up the entire regional drug network in exchange for a reduced sentence. Soon Zhang and Timmy are partnered up, conning drug trafficking middleman HaHa (Hao Ping) and moving up the chain to largest local supplier Uncle Bill (Li Zhenqi). Along the way, Timmy helps the cops stake out one of his factories, manned by deaf-mute brothers (Guo Tao and Li Jing), and even double-crosses some fellow Hong Kongers (a who's who of Milkyway Image players: Lo Hoi-Pang, Lam Suet, Eddie Cheung, Gordon Lam, Michelle Ye, Berg Ng, Keung Ho-Man). The Timmy-Zhang partnership yields rewards, but how much longer can Timmy be trusted?

There's plenty of setup here for familiar Milkyway Image themes, but To and co-producer and co-writer Wai Ka-Fai jettison those expectations pretty quick. Drug War does not explore its characters or world, and instead barrels forth as an intense procedural. The cops have an assignment and never hesitate to do their jobs. The thrill here is simply how the cops go about their work – especially Song Honglei's Zhang as he risks his life and adopts different personalities while undercover. Besides Zhang's brilliance on the job, the film entertains through its quirky supporting characters, such as the dopey but badass brothers played by Guo Tao and Li Jing, and also Lam Suet's English-speaking Fatso and Hao Ping's ebullient HaHa. There's little exposition or conversation; characters act and the audience simply plays observer to what's going on. The discovery for the viewer is the same as it is for the cops, which keeps the ride an involving one.

Acting is fine, though clearly secondary to To and Wai's filmmaking prowess. Sun Honglei is engrossing as Zhang while Louis Koo suffers by comparison. Koo is a fine physical performer, though, and can play sweaty, nervous weasels so very well. Mainland Milkyway vets Crystal Huang Yi and Li Guangjie show up acting serious and focused as cops, while the Hong Kong Milkyway Image troupe provide fan service and color. Nearly all the Hong Kong actors (with the exception of singer Wallace Chung) play bad guys – a curious reversal on Hong Kong Cinema's previous "mainland bad guys in Hong Kong" trope. This detail could be seen as a Johnnie To sellout, i.e., he's using Hong Kongers to prop up mainland Chinese. However, the bad guys are much more entertaining and human than the cops. There's an odd subversion here as the villains have lives and families, while the heroes robotically chase abstract, intangible justice.

Entertaining gunplay shows up midway through and also at the finale, which echoes Expect the Unexpected in its wide-open staging and lack of mediated filmmaking. Drug War isn't a style-saturated hyper-realistic actioner like Exiled or A Hero Never Dies, instead opting for real-seeming though still satisfying bursts of violence. There's irony present in the details, but it's not pronounced like usual To-Wai work. Drug War counts on its storytelling to carry it, with stellar though occasionally sagging results. A twist does show up two-thirds through; To can't make his bad guys into heroes so he pushes them to the opposite extreme, going for obvious but never overt nihilism. The filmmaking here is smart and controlled, with To and Wai demonstrating a playful understanding of their genre and the limits they're working with. Drug War shows that it's possible to make a quality China crime film by studying and exploiting the available angles.

Drug War is so assured that it could have been a non-China crime film – those who glimpse the SARFT-sidestepping may only notice because they've been trained to do so. There may be more in the film than meets the eye. Besides the criminals being more human than the cops, justice in Drug War is short-sighted and comes at a terrible cost. There are even hints at the cynical relationship between Hong Kongers and their mainland masters, where the former throw away their integrity in the face of displays of power or the almighty yuan. These asides deepen the experience, but if Drug War has stronger social or political meaning its buried two levels down and Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai are content with pretending it's not there. Either way, Drug War succeeds as an exhilarating crimer, and the filmmakers solve the "crime film in China" problem with smarts and cunning. The big question now: Can they do it again?

by Kozo - LoveHKFilm.com

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.
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