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Drug War

Drug War -

Johnnie To is at the top of his game in what is one of the best undercover assignment movies I've seen. After crashing into a restaurant while escaping his destroyed meth factory, Timmy (Koo) is apprehended. Since the penalty for his crimes is death, he has no choice but to accept police captain Lei's (Honglei) offer to help his squad bring down an international meth smuggling ring. Since Timmy's former co-workers are involved, can he be trusted?

How would I describe this movie in a few words? "All business, all the time." It's the entire assignment from start to finish and there's such immediacy to it all that I felt like I was part of Lei's team. Their professionalism and unwavering commitment to the assignment recalls Michael Mann's best workaholics, but it's not all sternness, mind you. There's room for laughs, such as when Lei pretends to be the exceedingly smug and appropriately named drug supplier Haha, and scares, like his close call after being forced to sample the product. On top of that, there's the drama regarding whether Timmy will stay committed, which is all but enhanced by the mission taking him through his familiar haunts. Luckily, the combined drama culminates in a shootout for the ages, which occurs near a primary school yet never comes across as cheap or ventures into bad taste. While I approve of the movie's "all business" approach, it has the same flaw as others like it in that if your attention wavers even for a few seconds, you may feel like you're out of the loop for a while. It's still a prime example of a director doing what he does best, and pardon the pun, a must-see in the Prime Video library.