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Drug War

35 customer reviews

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(Oct 15, 2013)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Manufacturing just 50 grams of meth in China will earn you a death sentence. Timmy Choi (Louis Koo) just got caught making tons. Now he's in the custody of Captain Zhang (Sun Honglei), and has one chance to avoid execution - turn informant and help the cops bring down the powerful cartel he's been cooking for. Over the next 72 sleepless hours, the sting spins out of control, the line between duty and recklessness is blurred, and it becomes unclear who actually has the upper hand. From Johnnie To, master of the Hong Kong crime thriller, comes an unnerving thrill ride through the modern criminal underworld.


"...masterfully made, high-octane entertainment" --Twitch

"...a nail-biter...edge-of-your-seat material --Variety

"...gritty, uncompromising and hugely exhilarating" --Screen International

Product Details

  • Actors: Louis Koo, Honglei Sun, Michelle Ye, Crystal Huang
  • Directors: Johnnie To
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: Cantonese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • DVD Release Date: October 15, 2013
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,870 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By C. Sawin VINE VOICE on July 21, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
"Drug War" begins with Choi behind the wheel of a car, puking out of a window, driving recklessly, and crashing into a restaurant. That's a hell of a way to start a film. You're thrown into the drug operation in Jinhai currently run by Anti-Drug Squad leader Captain Zhang. Zhang's team is always going undercover with Sun Honglei portraying at least five different characters over the course of the film. Honglei is a chameleon and mimics body movements, facial expressions, voices, and stories of other characters in the film to near perfection.

Zhang impersonates Haha in one of the best scenes of the film during their meeting with Chang. Haha is eccentric, always boasting and bragging about his accomplishments, and has this booming laugh. Seeing Zhang, who's usually soft-spoken and laid back, take on this personality with ease, is incredible. The confrontation with Chang is intense thanks to cocaine making an appearance. The entire sequence has similar tension established in the snorting heroin scene from "Pulp Fiction."

The first hour of the film contains a lot of rising tension not only between Choi and Zhang, but in the meetings with Haha, Chang, and the promise of meeting Bill Li - the biggest amphetamines dealer in town. Nearly all of the action takes place after the one hour mark. The shootout at Choi's larger drug factory in Erzhou featuring the mute brothers is where sequences get really impressive; an explosive firefight of epic proportions. The all-out war near the end by the school manages to top that sequence in size, duration, and the ramifications it leaves the viewer with. Captain Zhang's quote, "Live or die - I'll be with you," echoes heavily through your skull during the final moments of the film.
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Format: Blu-ray
The prolific Hong Kong filmmaker Johnnie To is easily one of my favorite directors and so the arrival of "Drug War" was met with fairly high expectations in my household. To has crafted some pretty terrific pictures with films such as "Exiled" and "Mad Detective," but I will always hold a special place in my heart for the Election series (2005's Election and 2006's Triad Election). These are the films that helped me discover To and, when watched back to back, have the sweep and grandeur of an Asian Godfather saga. "Drug War" takes place in the criminal underworld that is To's specialty. Populated by undercover cops, enterprising drug lords, and a myriad of soldiers, dealers, and middle men, the movie starts at a frantic pace and never relents. It has an epic scope, to be sure, but that sometimes works toward the movie's disadvantage. To get into the primary storyline, you have to take a pretty big leap of faith as the initiating few minutes has three events coincide at precisely the opportune moment.

As the movie opens up, we see a an undercover sting of a bus at a toll booth. At the exact moment this is going down, a officer notices a suspicious truck and a car following it. At the same moment across town, an accident has caused its driver to be taken to the hospital where the detainees from the bus are being interrogated. Somehow, the lead investigator of the sting also makes time to check out the accident, find a phone, and later it is revealed that the driver of the suspicious truck noticed at the toll booth is repeatedly calling the phone. Got it? It is so convoluted and (let's be honest) ridiculous, it almost had me checking out from the get-go. Once, however, you get past this conceit, "Drug War" becomes an intense ride.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Edward L Zimmerman TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 1, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
In one way or another, crime touches all of us. Especially the cops. Officers of the law are surrounded by it each and every day of their lives. One could argue it’s their only constant. There’s no telling how far one man of the law will go to see justice served, but what’s equally exciting cinematically is when that same marshal is paired up – either by circumstance or design – with an equally compelling villain, one who’ll stop at nothing to see his own shallow purposes served in the end. That’s a dynamic that’s been put to terrific use throughout the years in many quality police procedurals, and many of these that have hailed from China have either been produced or directed by the legendary Johnnie To.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: “if you don’t know To, then you don’t know nothing.” His films often explore that world of good guys versus bad guys. Sometimes, he’s allowed for the lines to be grayed just a bit, but more often than not he’s presented charismatic characters from either side to great effect. DRUG WAR may not go into the history books as his finest, but, so far as this reviewer is concerned, it’s definitely on par with about everything else of his I’ve watched, and it’s head-and-shoulders above of what his American counterparts even attempt.

Put it this way: Johnnie To has forgotten more about right and wrong than most directors ever learn.

(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment.
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