7 February 2006 | Schwenkstar
A slightly above average thriller, Recommended to genre enthusiasts only
Organized Crime & Triad Bureau (Chungon satluk linggei) (1994).
A slightly above average entry in Hong Kong's continuing line of Triad thrillers, "Organized Crime & Triad Bureau" does contain some aspects that sets it apart from the mundane.
The first positive aspect is the acting of the two main stars, Anthony Wong and Danny Lee. Both of these actors are well experienced in this genre, with Danny Lee having done the gritty "The Big Heat" and Anthony Wong having done the classic "Hard Boiled."
However, the supporting cast is rather stereotypical, most are caricatures we have seen in many other films, often reduced to only a single trait and possessing no complex personality of their own. In addition, many of these actors' performances are over the top, thus diminishing the gritty realism the film sometimes succeeds in creating.
Yet another positive aspect is some well executed action scenes, most notably a scene near the beginning of the film where Danny Lee and Anthony Wong are sliding down a hill shooting at one another, a scene greatly reminiscent of Jon Woo's classics. Another scene to mention is the fatalistic ending which invokes the feeling of such films as "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."
Unfortunately, these action scenes are few and far between. We are treated with these two exceptional scenes as bookends to the film, but what is in the middle is what really suffers...
The narrative is typical to say the least, it contains story elements that we have seen not only seen in other Triad thrillers, but also any crime thriller in general. The film also seems to drag for the most part because of this predictable nature, we know what to expect so nothing seems fresh to us. However, spurts of gritty violence and realism does manage to keep the film from losing the audience's interest entirely.
In terms of the cinematography and direction, the film seems very typical of the Triad thrillers coming out at the time. The film possesses some slow motion sequences to emphasize the character's emotions and then move with quick cuts to show the action's intensity. However, this is merely the music video approach that was very popular in the early 1990's and seems to make the film feel overly melodramatic rather than aesthetic, leading to a rather pretentious and "cheesy" feel.
I would recommend this film only to genre enthusiasts as it is not strictly average thanks to some aspects of quality, but too many flaws in the film causes me to recommend to the general film viewer to skip it.