Friday, February 8, 2013

I Corrupt All Cops

I Corrupt All Cops (HK 2009)

In HK the ICAC is the feared (by wrong-doers anyway) anti-corruption force and this film purports to document it's creation and how it broke the back of endemic police corruption in HK in the 1970s. Well it is a Wong Jing movie so historical accuracy may not be 100%... However this is Wong Jing in "good work mode" keeping the racism and sexual weirdness to a minimum and the film, whilst not flawless, is a very enjoyable piece of HK movie drama.

The film centres around Tak, a police man so bent its untrue, and his fellow corrupt cops as they take back handers, bribes and basically run the triads. Tak, played by Tony Leung Ka-Fai, largely does what he likes. Apart from when his British superior demands a crime crackdown so he orders Anthony Wong to catch some criminals and if he can't catch them, frame someone. That is exactly what happens when Alex Fong is framed and tortured and only avoids going to jail for various fitted up crimes by a bit more corruption. Eason Chan plays a younger cop who is Tak's yesman. Eason is a man without any real honour, doing as his dailo orders even to the extent of taking in all of his ex-mistresses.

Things have to change though when Tak starts to get too carried away and the British order the creation of the ICAC to be headed by Bowie Lam and one of the first recruits in Alex Fong. Anthony Wong, by now fallen out of favour with Tak, is also recruited to turn gamekeeper from poacher. Yet despite the fact he tortured Alex Fong earlier in the film the fact is never mentioned or even hinted at which is quite odd and a bit lazy.

The war between the corrupt cops and ICAC is vicious and bloody but can only end in one way and in the end characters like Eason have to decide if they have any self-respect or not.

So is this movie any good? Yes it is. Its a near-modern period piece but unlike some other TV and films set in the 1970s/80s it doesn't try and set the scene lazily with a gratuitous array of product placements. The story is good though also pretty violent (including a couple of torture scenes) and slightly weird (Wong Jing nuff said). Some rather key moments in ICAC history are rather brushed aside or ignored but this is entertainment not a documentary and it is indeed very entertaining with some good performances.

Alan & Eric : Between Hello & Goodbye

Alan & Eric : Between Hello & Goodbye (HK 1991)

Alan Tam and Eric Tsang are lifelong friends that were separated as children as Eric went to the US but then reunited with Alan some years later back in HK. Eric tries to make a business selling eggs while Alan plays guitar in a bar. All is cosy and cool.

Then Maggie Cheung enters the scene and Eric falls in love with her. But when she hears Alan sing she falls in love with him instead. Eric steps aside and the love blossoms but then Alan hits the big time and his friends leave him be.

But then 10 years later they are reunited in SF, Eric is now dying. But as his dying wish he wants Alan and Maggie to stay together.

A lovely romantic and quirky movie, maybe a little indulgant and often surreal - especially when they add Alan's concert footage in the mix but it gives the movie a brilliant cantopop nostalgia trip. Then there is the whole thing about Treasure Island, whats that all about me hearties?

Troublesome Night 4 (HK 1998)

The Troublesome Night series of horror films amazingly went up to 19 or so but lets stick with one of the earlier efforts.

A group of Hongies go to the Philippines for a tour, and here are 3 stories set around their tour. One guy is transporting an urn containing the ashes of a Filipina who died in HK. As he heads to deliver his pack he keeps seeing a girl in the mirror and even in the shower. She looks exactly like the girl whos ashes hes now carrying too!

The frights are more the Carry On Screaming type than Ultra Violent Driller Killer Maniac 6 : I Drank His Brains And Then Projectile Vomited Them Back Up (a personal favourite) kind of horror. Plenty of ghosts appearing suddenly and people screaming. And its all very very funny, sometimes intentionally too.

Basically the film is fairly familiar late 90s silly HK slapstick packed with contemporary pop culture and HK life references. If you like that kind of thing you'll like this film, if not... well you might enjoy it anyway. The honeymoon couple story (starring Louis Koo and Pauline Suen) and the urn story are pretty good ghost stories, the third one about 3 horny guys is a bit of a zombiefest yawn but you can't win them all.
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.