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Drug War [DVD]


Price: £4.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Louis Koo, Honglei Sun, Yi Huang, Michelle Ye, Siu-Fai Cheung
  • Directors: Johnnie To
  • Producers: Johnnie To, Ka Fai Wai
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 28 Oct. 2013
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00D9SRC8I
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,397 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

A violent lab accident leaves drug manufacturer Timmy Choi hospitalised and in the custody of veteran Police Captain Zhang. Facing the death penalty, Choi agrees to turn informant, giving the Police vital information on his partners and their organisation in order to avoid execution.

In a bid to take down the powerful drug ring, Captain Zhang and his team are forced to infiltrate Choi’s organisation. But when things spiral out of control, the lines between cop and criminal are blurred as they fight for their survival.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 20 Feb. 2014
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
While not one of his best, Drug War is a more than decent cops and drug runners thriller from Johnnie To that has a noticeably different look to his earlier Hong Kong-set films, taking advantage of the wide open spaces of mainland China to offer some more expansive visuals. It's a simple tale fairly simply told: after ending up in hospital after his drugs lab blows up, Louis Koo tries to bargain his way out of the mandatory death penalty by helping Sun Honglei's cop to catch both his suppliers and his distributors. Much of it has the slightly distant feel of a police procedural with much emphasis on the surveillance techniques and role play, with only a few sporadic humanising touches like the two cops who have been tailing a suspect lorry for 24 hours straight rushing to the side of the road for a pee when relieved.

The English title is misleading - rather than rival gangs this is more about China's at all costs war on drugs and you can certainly see the film's last scene as vindicating their tough line on drug dealers, though To's chillingly matter of fact direction manages to avoid coming across as clumsy propaganda (indeed, it's surprising to see a major Chinese film even admitting there's a growing drug problem on the mainland). Much of the film simply observes rather than digs that deeply into the characters: Koo is the kind of man who will betray anyone to save his own skin but whose face gives little away about what's really going on in his head while Honglei is the kind of cop who won't let a little thing like death stop him from getting his man and who only seems to really come to life when he's playing a role when undercover.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rowena Hoseason HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 11 Dec. 2013
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a treat for fans of Hong Kong crime-thrillers, although it might seems a little strange if you don't normally watch subtitled Far-Eastern action flicks. Hollywood it ain't.

Drug War blends the gritty realism of Continental film noir with massively escalating and improbable violence and a police squad who get to play with all the hi-tech toys from Mission Impossible. At times it's an advert for the efficiency of PRC PLC (CCTV surveillance, the awesome express train, the stylish Chinese cars, the ultra-lux hotels and so on), but this is in stark contrast to the truly scary prospect of a homegrown meth mafia thriving in the scuzzy industrial heartland with product being exported worldwide.
Set amid all that is a truly convoluted plot which delights in double-cross twists and back-stabbing betrayal. The two opposing characters (Captain Zhang and Timmy the crim) are played to perfection, with some solid performances from the supports - especially the deaf-mute brothers and the female police lieutenant. The plot and the characters race back and forth as Zhang tries to infiltrate a drug cartel, and Jimmy seeks to save his skin by providing the policeman with a way in.
The final scenes ratchet the gunplay and violence up to 11, but somehow still manage to shock and surprise. And even though Drug War relies heavily on the dramatic impact of its set-piece shoot-outs, it also contains moments of quite striking intensity: grieving for Jimmy's wife, or when Zhang has to test the merchandise to keep his undercover op intact...
The final scenes refuse to comply with cinematic conventions, and left us pondering the human desire to survive at all costs and the effect of a 'no strikes' death penalty.
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By Stella TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Feb. 2014
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This was my first attempt at HK Cinema and to be honest, I'm not sure what to think. I hesitate to use the word boring, but it just didn't draw me in at all and I struggled to get to the end. Morbid curiosity kept me going but mostly the plot was lost on me. I had a hard time working out who were the good guys and who were the bad guys and I'm still not sure I understood it all.

I usually love foreign language films but this one wasn't as great as I'd hoped it would be.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Straightforward TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 Jan. 2014
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The message of this film seems to be that the state is mightier, cleverer and more noble than the criminal classes in China.

It rushes along from one scene to the other at very high tempo (making it somewhat difficult for me to read the subtitles and become familiar with the many characters who are quickly introduced), and maps out the consequences for those who choose to flout the rules of the state. The concluding scenes leave no doubt that there is a strong and rather clumsily drawn warning contained within this film - it's hard not to feel somewhat 'puppeteered' as the film progresses; the attempts to influence the viewer are unsubtle and crude, and reduce 'Drug War' to something akin to 'Reefer Madness' in a strange way.

One scene which particularly sticks in the mind is when a lorry crashes, because the two drivers are smoking a bong and becoming almost clownishly stoned while they drive. This rather destroyed my suspension of disbelief that I was struggling to maintain, to say the least.

I ceased to care long before the end, but perversely I maintained a certain interest in watching the whole strange thing progress towards the brutal conclusion.

I don't really understand how it got 87% on Metacritic. Maybe I just didn't 'get' it.
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