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December 7, 2013

Movie Review: Drug War (2012, Blu-ray)

Reviewed By James DePaolo

Drug War is the latest film from Hong Kong filmmaker Johnnie To. I feel no matter what I write after that, people will have their minds made up if this film is for them. Now, before you keep that train of thought let me tell you I had the same thought being I was also a fan of To. I know people are still trying to figure out where he is coming from after Life Without Principle, which was action lite and more of a thriller that he wanted to try and to put in the Oscar race.

Drug War seems to be his take on the classic cops and robbers chase films. To be honest, I did not hate the film as much as I did not think this is To at his best. This film takes the police against organized crime lords in a film that I feel suffers from the pace that To tries to keep. The film is shot to be fast paced, but the script and characters seem to drag the story. I mean To has a reputation off these kinds of films, in his homeland he is the king of these gritty crime stories and I just feel that this film comes across more like Romero who is the king of all zombie films giving us Survival of the Dead. China is now governed in this way that if you are caught dealing with drugs or manufacturing them you are sentenced to death. So when Timmy is caught with drugs instead of killing him he helps Captain Zhang with a bigger drug ring to help uncover it. He has only 72 hours or he will face his demise for the drugs.

This film was not a bad film but up to the standards that people put a To film, it is a bit of a letdown. The action that was there was pretty fun; it has some little moments that are violent and will keep your attention. The main issue I had with the film was the pacing, at times it rushed itself and at others it slowed down way too slow. Basically what I am trying to say is that this film felt uneven. The script for the most part was very well written and the characters are very well portrayed, you invest an interest even though the film is predictable and you know how it will all end up.

All in all, if you never seen a To film, you may like this film more than a fan of To. It is worth a rental, maybe a black Friday or cyber Monday buy if it is on the cheap.

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