30 August 2001 | countryway_48864
The under-belly of New York's China Town is gritty, difficult to watch and, at times, pure poetry in motion.
I am not a fan of films that are as explicit or as violent as The Corruptor is, as a general rule, but I bought The Corruptor because of Chow Yun-Fat's splendid performance as Nick Chen. I really like Nick Chen, despite, or perhaps because of his flaws. Beneath his cynical attitude toward the inevitability of corruption in ANY police department and in particular the Asian Crime Unit of New York, is an honest man.
The way he tries to protect the prostitute he loves is touching and beautiful, especially the scene where he feeds her while she is in bed. Nick's motivations and his own entanglement in the shadow-world of human exploitation is always colored by a desire to correct the wrong and make things right. He takes pride in his being a policeman like his father was before him, and wants to be thought of as a "good cop", which he really is.
The famous "plum" scene is a gem. Yun-Fat and his partner, Walberg (who is MUCH better in this role than I expected him to be), are strolling through the open market district of China Town and Yun-Fat stops to purchase a plum and offers one to Walberg. Walberg rejects the plum in favor of a peach. The way Yun-Fat talks about Frank Sinatra and his reference to his "godfather" who "made me look good, and I LIKE it!" is sad and joyful at the same time. Beautiful scene.
Others have covered the action in this film, so I won't go over the same ground. The London-based Chinese actor who plays the role of the king-pin of the operation is outstanding. He brings to the screen true deceit without apology.
For me, the BEST part of the DVD is the director's commentary. He explains the scenes and how they were accomplished. There is also a documentary on How the film was made with Chow Yun-Fat and Mark Walberg talking about their roles. This is fascinating.
Because I like Nick Chen so much, the end of the film is tough for me to watch but it contains some of the best scenes in the film, for example: Nick in the men's room doing a Chinese breathing exercise to prepare himself for what he must do next.
Not for the faint-of-heart or those who cannot look at evil without flinching. If you can force yourself to look, The Corruptor is well worth the effort.