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The Suspect
Chinese: 極度重犯 "That's right, I'd like to order 10 pepperoni pizzas."
Ada Choi and Louis Koo
Year: 1998
Director: Ringo Lam Ling-Tung
Cast: Louis Koo Tin-Lok, Julian Cheung Chi-Lam, Simon Yam Tat-Wah, Ray Lui Leung-Wai, Ada Choi Siu-Fun, Eric Moo Kai-Yin
The Skinny: This solid action thriller from Ringo Lam is more competent than spectacular, which registers the film as an eventual disappointment.
by Kozo:

Unlike last year’s superb Full Alert, this action-thriller from Ringo Lam is merely competent - which is a massive disappointment considering that this is Ringo Lam we’re talking about. Set in the Philippines, it’s a straightforward action-drama about Don Lee (Louis Koo), an ex-triad who gets released from prison after a 12-year stay. Convicted of murder at the behest of his boss Chan Hung (Simon Yam), he vows to go straight.

However, Don is immediately framed for the murder of a Filipino political candidate by Chan Hung and his best pal Max (played by a dour Julian Cheung). Don goes on the run and takes HK reporter Annie Chung (Ada Choi) hostage, but soon wins her sympathy and requests that she write his story. Before long, Don finds himself the quarry of both the cops and the triads. An ally arrives in the form of Ray Lui, who plays a foreign legion soldier who’s hired to take down the murderer - and believes that Don is innocent. 

The set-up to this film is elaborate, and there was an obvious expense in the film’s locale and cast of hundreds. Still, the result is more bland than anything else, as there is a distinct lack of passion in the film. Though Ringo Lam has never been an emotional character director, his ability to craft gripping, intense situations is unparalleled in HK. That ability escapes him here, as the story is interesting but ultimately uninspired. 

Part of this may be due to the casting of Louis Koo and Julian Cheung as the two leads. Koo is serviceable as Don Lee and Julian Cheung actually works in his dark role, but neither can make you forget the heyday of HK brotherhood/homoeroticism as defined by Chow Yun-Fat and [insert actor here]. There is no intensity between the two, and there clearly needs to be some. Also, the side characters are not well developed. Ada Choi, in particular, is wasted in her part (which seems to be an unfortunate trend for her). However, despite the film’s shortcomings there are some good action sequences and enough of a plot to keep you interested. (Kozo 1998)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Remmovable English and Chinese Subtitles
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image courtesy of Mei Ah Laser Disc Co., Ltd.

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