This very expensive political thriller focuses on that
illustrious home for corrupt politicians: Taiwan. Tony
Leung Ka-Fai is Chou, a ruthless triad kingpin who is
determined to join the Taiwan government. Fong (Andy
Lau) is his nemesis, the leader of an anti-triad force
whoís going to do everything necessary to take Chou
This is a well-meaning flick
that unfortunately suffers from byzantine plotting and
an almost complete disregard for narrative logic. The
back-stabbings and dirty double-dealings that make up
the Taiwanese government are interesting, but also more
than a little confusing. There are just too many characters
and too many private interests to cohere into a workable
plot. The only compelling supporting character is Pauline
Suen as Chouís supportive wife. Otherwise, Annie Wu
is nonexistent as the reporter girlfriend of Fong.
In fact, all plot threads involving
Fong seem gratuitous. His rescue of his father and relationship
to Wu are both unnecessary moments designed to give
Fong inner life. Sadly, it seems his character is around
only for the requisite chase sequences.
The excellent action scenes
are strangely out of place in this topical story. This
is actually not a bad picture, but it gets crushed beneath
its overwhelming potential, as it canít match its premise.
Redemption comes in the form of Tony Leung Ka-Fai, who
returns to the A-list with this film. As Chou, heís
charming, dangerous, and even sinister. Andy Lau suffers
by comparison - he seems to spend the whole film moping.
This film is worth seeing for the subject matter, but
as entertainment it only rings false. (Kozo 1998)