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VINE VOICEon August 23, 2007
Soi Cheung's ultra-violent "DOG BITE DOG" is the antidote for people who are a bit tired of the usual stylish "bullet ballet" action films from Hong Kong. At first glance, it may remind you of Jet Li's "Unleashed"; but the premise is done with more realism and brutal graphic violence that it really earns its Category III (NC-17) RATING.

Overview partially derived from the dvd back cover:
A young Cambodian assassin named Pang (Edison Chen) arrives in Hong Kong to kill the spouse of a judge. After completion of the dire deed, he is pursued by the local police force partly headed by Inspector Wai (Sam Lee) who has his own demons to combat. Like a caged animal, fighting and fleeing like a cornered beast, Pang wipes out all of Wai's men. Along the way, he comes across a girl named Pei-Pei (Weiying pei), who is being abused by her stepfather. He rescues her from her ordeal; the chase goes to overdrive with an obsessed Inspector Wai...

Intensely brutal, gritty and seedy, director Soi goes for the throat and pulls out all the stops when it comes to (very)graphic violence. No style, almost no fight choreography is shown as the two protagonists pummel, bludgeon, and beat each other with everything but the kitchen sink. (I think there was a scene that they did use a kitchen sink) They even bite each other as the title suggests. Unrelenting violence is the lure of this film; it seemed to me that Soi has found his true calling in filming very dark, seedy and depressing thrillers.
DOG BITE DOG may turn off some viewers; the pessimistic portrayal of humanity and the lack of characters seeking redemption. There are no heroes of any kind here, even the emotional scenes have a feel that it is ready to implode on itself with unexpected violence. All the characters are "victims" of the challenges of life. However, I am certain that this film will find fans with its dark, unrelenting violent nature and movie-cults will be glad to say: "NOT A FAMILY MOVIE". The main theme of the film is; SURVIVE, by any means necessary.

The set designs are awesome. Soi does a tremendous job portraying the dark, dank alleys of Hong Kong as another character in the film. The set designs are well-designed; the dump sites look so real that I could almost "smell" the dirt and grime. The music has that depressing feel with almost a "sense of death" Edison Chen and Sam Lee do a decent job in their portrayal of Pang and Wai. I still had some issues because I still look at them as "teen idols". The film is NOT perfect, it has its faults (I didn't like the final act), but thankfully, the great direction by Soi overshadows its shortcomings.

I have the 1-disc UNCUT edition by Joy Sales (Hong Kong release)
VIDEO/AUDIO: Anamorphic Widescreen. (Sorry, I saw this film mid-last year, can't remember the aspect ratio) The transfer is intentionally shot with a grayish hue, colors are a bit dull but the contrast is extremely sharp. Black levels are solid. 5.1 Dolby/5.1 DTS Cantonese track with very good English subtitles.

Final remarks:
Dog Bite Dog is a harrowing account of the darker side of man. It is not for the faint of heart, it is a world that everything just doesn't work out and is so pessimistic that "Cute Stuff" collectors should stay away. It is over the top and dare I say, a bit nihilistic a lot of times. This film will not disappoint fans of this type of movie...
Highly Recommended! For those who love challenging violent cinema. It is ANYTHING but cute! (4 Stars)
1313 comments|18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 6, 2007
"Dog Bite Dog," [aka: Gau ngao gau] by director Pou- Soi Cheang is an extremely dark and violent film. One of the things I like about HK crime dramas lately is that not only are they gritty and dark, but they are becoming more realistic in their crime portrayals. For every 20 HK crime drama or action film I have viewed, there was probably only one from the pile that was worthy enough to add to one's cinema collection. In the film "Dog Bite Dog" director Pou-Soi Cheang gives the viewer a very gritty, dark and brutal film. I have only seen two other films by this director: The film "The Monster" [aka: Home Sweet Home] which was terribly marketed here in the states as a horror film, when in fact it was a thriller. And the crime drama "Love Battlefield," starring Eason Chan. I thought both films were very good. And I will be looking forward to more of this talented directors films in the future.

One of the most important themes I noticed in this film dealt with the antagonist versus protagonist role. The 'bad guy' in the film named Pang (Edison Chen) is an assassin who takes money for killing whomever he is assigned to kill. However, the policeman who is hunting him down named Wai (Sam Lee) is not a likable character. In fact, to label him a protagonist would be an error, as he will use anyone, or break any rule of law in his relentless obsession to hunt down the assassin Pang. Clearly lines are drawn in the film with the opening sequence after Pang murders his intended target. However, the method in which Inspector Wai goes about his task of hunting down Pang does not leave the viewer with much sympathy for Wai's character. Yes, Pang is a cold blooded killer, and money is the motivating factor in his profession. However, the way Inspector Wai tracks him down leaves much to be desired on his part.

Yet, for ALL the negatives that Inspector Wai has, we can understand his motivation for breaking any and all police procedural rules in his quest to capture his elusive prey. Something occurs in the beginning of the film dealing with a fellow friend and police officer named 'Fat Lam' (Suet Lam) which drives Inspector Wai on a vengeful crusade. Plus, there is another narrative taking place in the film concerning Wai's hospitalized police officer father [which the film explores], that pushes this already disturbed, but tirelessly effective police officer, to extreme measures. And as a result, Inspector Wai's character is propelled into an even darker and more distubing figure while he is in pursuit of this deadly killer. This is a very dark and brutal film: And the films narrative is further enhanced by the magnificent cinematography.

Many of the scenes dealing with Wai and Pang occurs at night, and the lights and shadows give the film a more ominous tone to an already dark film. Further, the ending of the film is one hell of a brutal and vicious one. This in NOT a typical HK crime drama. Once again, the film is very dark, gritty and brutal. I recommend the film--as it is worth the purchase, and definitely deserves a watch in any case. Moreover, the film is also a major departure from many of the HK crime dramas I have seen in the past, with much more emphasis on realism, than just another shoot-em-out crime drama. And from what I have been seeing these past few years, HK crime dramas and action films are only getting better. In many ways this film reminded me quite a lot of the great film "PTU" by director Johnny To. Recommended.
66 comments|8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 30, 2008
This review is for the 2006
Joy Sales Films (unrated, 109 min.)
release of the film.
***************************************

Dark, relentless, brutally violent.

The pursuit of one man,
a policeman completely out of
his mind with rage, after another,
a homicidal maniac with
little more left than a will to
survive, fleeing from him.

And "survive" he does as a result
of one of the most bizarre love stories
ever with an unbelievably horrific and
strangely hopeful ending.

There are fleeting moments
when one thinks that perhaps
the extremely damaged people
in this tragedy will find
some redemption and salvation,
but ultimately the only thing
redeemed is their one way ticket
to oblivion.

This is the real thing movie fans.
This is what you've been waiting for.

The images, the sounds, the characters,
the acting, the action, the plot...
the beginning, the middle and the ending.

Taking film noir to a new level.

A unique, mature and masterful
work of film art.

I loved it.
0Comment|7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 26, 2008
This is a piece of pure cinema. Uncompromising, unapologetic, as raw in its portrait of violence as it is disgusted by it. Here, violence has reasons (not justifications, mind that), and is a spiral that sucks your entire life if you let yourself be gotten into it. It is not a mindless form of entertainment, as in the endless american "movies" that have tortured cinema lovers for such a long time now. But, there is always a place for love and tendernesss, even in the most extreme environment. The screenplay is simply perfect, it should be taught in universities and academies. Add to that a magnificent acting (the expressions in the eyes of the lead actors are breathtaking) and a fresh, innovative, straightforward, honest direction...the result? A pure cinematic enjoyment, and a deep experience about the meaning of life. Both are things that are missing from US movies for many, many years already. I might say that I don't get the negative reviews, but I do, indeed: this is yet another masterpiece from Asia, showing, once again, that american mainstream "cinema" is simply trash, and that all interesting movies are made in the Far East for quite a number of years now. Yes, it will not please pop-corn eaters, because it requires some effort from the audience and makes you think about the violence in contemporary society, and about life at its deepest...too bad, isn't it? US movies RIP.
11 comment|6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 1, 2014
This is a movie that takes you for an emotional tense and unbridled ride of violence on a real life level rarely scene in action movies. The characters are easy to relate to because they all show there good and bad sides of human nature and what happens when pushed to far and proves that the title is very fitting. Be warned though, it is a movie about hope but is very obscure in the scheme and pace of the story, the music score is very fitting and supports the story very well and gives an eerie backdrop and then changes pace so radically that helps make it a cult classic and a refreshing break from the usual flicks of this type. I recommend it for folks who are into movies that break from the traditional kung fu, martial arts action movies and are looking for cult classics, this is one of them. The movie shows how some folks in life, from the time of childhood, will fight and win in order to eat and from that they become who they are as criminals. Not since jet li played a villain in lethal weapon 4 have i seen this subject put into a movie as well as dog bite dog does.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 30, 2013
Great dark cop film from Hong Kong. In the 80's and 90's Hong Kong made a plethora of great crime films. Dog Bites Dog is pretty good. Commentary on the disc is informative and worth listening to as it has Hong Kong film expert Bey Logan and the star of the film Edison Chen
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on August 8, 2011
This is not an action film don't let the trailers fool you. If you buy, rent, or download this film thinking you are going to get wall to wall fist fights and shoot outs you will be disappointed. This is more of a film in the vein of To Live and Die in LA. A cop pursues a criminal who has killed his partner by any means necessary. A criminal tries to evade the police and get back home. It is a simple plot but it is the performances of the actors, the lighting, and the direction of the film that makes it compelling. The action is served up in short intense bursts of almost animalistic savagery. The commentary with Bey Logan and Edison Chen is also terrific.
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on March 10, 2007
Dog Bite Dog is a new addition to Hong Kong Category III films albeit it's not what you might expect. It is not of exploitative nature, it's not horror and it doesn't have lots of gore. Dog Bite Dog is a police thriller - a genre which spawned plenty of flicks from Hong Kong, many of them not of a very good quality. But this one is a true gem hidden in tons of rubbish. Even if you're not a fan, take a peek - I'm sure you'll like it. Certainly if you're an Asian cinema connoisseur Dog Bite Dog is a must.

A well-trained assassin (Edison Chen) arrives to Hong Kong from Cambodia to eliminate a lawyer in a crowded restaurant. Minutes after the killing police arrives there and one of the detectives (Sam Lee) immediately picks up the trail. The rest of the film is a non-stop and strung-up chase. Both the assassin and the detective are extremely good at what they're doing, they both have sharp instincts, they are well trained and none of them is going to give up. Soon we see this confrontation becomes something of principle especially for the cop who seems not to care about the investigation itself but only about whether he personally can overcome.

Dog Bite Dog impresses a lot because it's not a straight cop action movie. It has much more than just shooting and fighting. It's a study of a man's psyche just like Michael Mann's Heat was. Here also you sometimes can't figure out who is more human and who you should feel for, because the assassin reveals many nice qualities and shows himself as a tender and compassionate person while the detective goes great lengths to get what he wants and doesn't care about lives of other people. At a certain point you realize that both characters are parts of a whole something, they seem to be like one person. But two poles can not exict in a single person, one of them have to take over. The two-disc Hong Kong edition has a logo on the cover that displays two dogs simultaneously biting each other. It wakes up memories of a famous symbol drawing - of a snake swallowing its own tale. Keeping in mind the film's title you start getting the idea.

Cheng Po Sui made a great picture which is more than your usual criminal action movie. It's what a real cop drama should be, it's thoughtful and contains many interesting ideas and layers to explore. Definately not a mindless entertainment, so if you like deep and serious-minded films, this one is for you. Cheng Po Sui is mostly known outside of Hong Kong for his previous movie Home Sweet Home which has been releases on DVD under the title The Monster. It was a curuious quasi-horror, quasi-drama, but in general - an abstruse flick. Dog Bite Dog is a giant leap forward, now I'll obviously wait for the director's next work because whatever he's going to do in the future looks very promising.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 30, 2008
This review is for the 2006
Joy Sales Films (unrated, 109 min.)
release of the film.
***************************************

Dark, relentless, brutally violent.

The pursuit of one man,
a policeman completely out of
his mind with rage, after another,
a homicidal maniac with
little more left than a will to
survive, fleeing from him.

And "survive" he does as a result
of one of the most bizarre love stories
ever with an unbelievably horrific and
strangely hopeful ending.

There are fleeting moments
when one thinks that perhaps
the extremely damaged people
in this tragedy will find
some redemption and salvation,
but ultimately the only thing
redeemed is their one way ticket
to oblivion.

This is the real thing movie fans.
This is what you've been waiting for.

The images, the sounds, the characters,
the acting, the action, the plot...
the beginning, the middle and the ending.

Taking film noir to a new level.

A unique, mature and masterful
work of film art.

I loved it.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 7, 2013
Thanks for packaging it and the great quality. This movie was cool and the actors in it were great. A little wild but was able to impress me with the story and how they put it together. Thanks!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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