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Mad Detective

16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

NTSC/Region 0. 2007's largest grossing film at the Hong Kong box office - the smash-hit Mad Detective - is one of the freshest and most satisfying films from that country in a decade. The traditional Hong Kong police film is turned on its head: the imaginative twist being Detective Bun (a role created for Lau Ching Wan) who has the ability to 'see' people's inner personalities or 'hidden ghosts'. Breaking new ground and establishing breathtaking cinematic rules, Johnnie To's latest giddily entertaining collaboration with Wai Ka Fai radically raises the level of storytelling in modern film. The Masters of Cinema Series presents the winner of Best Screenplay at the 27th Hong Kong Film Awards 2008.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Lau Ching-Wan, Eddy Ko, Lam Suet, Kelly Lin, Lam Ka-tung
  • Directors: Johnny To, Wai Ka-fai
  • Format: Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Import
  • Language: Cantonese
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: 101 DISTRIBUTION
  • DVD Release Date: February 12, 2008
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012RLX7E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,437 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Woopak VINE VOICE on February 19, 2008
Format: DVD
MAD DETECTIVE is from Johnnie To's production outfit; Milky Way Image, the production company responsible for such acclaimed Hong Kong hits such as "Exiled". Milky Way has given new life to Hong Kong Cinema and perhaps maintaining the country's image as a reputable leader in the crime genre. This latest offering from the creative team of Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai still has the usual coolness, it mixes crime thrills and detective work, familiar motifs and themes, but somehow it feels more cryptic and enigmatic than the usual. The film definitely feels a lot more like a psychological detective thriller than anything else.

Synopsis partially derived from the Mei-Ah dvd back cover:
A missing police pistol is connected to a series of recent heists and murders. Its owner Wong (Lee Kwok Lun) vanished after pursuing suspects in the bushes. His partner Chi-Wai (Lam Ka Tung) miraculously returned unscathed.
Inspector HO (Andy On) the officer in charge, seeks assistance from his former mentor; Bun (Lau Ching Wan), who had once been recognized as a gifted criminal profiler until he became judged insane some years ago. He has the uncanny ability to see into a person's inner personality, where the subconscious desires and emotions are laid bare. After the first contact with Chi-Wai, Bun concludes that Chi-Wai is the murderer. What began as a quest for answers has now taken a schizophrenic turn where truth and lies, reality and delusions intertwine....

If you saw the film "Running on Karma", you have a good idea on how this exercise in Buddhist indulgence plays out. The film takes the very cryptic and odd premise of "seeing a person's inner personality" to a very creative style. The film's premise is very ambitious and effective.
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This movie is brilliant, possibly even genius. Let's just get that out of the way. I've seen many people refer to it as a Johnnie To film, which is only half-right. Here, the great To re-teams with his 'Running on Karma' co-director Wai Ka Fai. It also pairs To up with legendary actor Lau Ching Wa (who, personally, I loved in Black Mask). With a team like this there are some big expectations-and they more than deliver.
Without saying too much, let's just say that Lau (playing Det. Bun) is a 'Mad Detective' who has an uncanny ability to read people and deduce crimes (think Sherlock Holmes meets Rainman). He's been called back by the police to help solve the case of a missing police detective. While the concept behind the character is fairly unique, it's been done before in different ways-but rarely as good as this.

What makes this film great is that it starts where most other films end. It gives you the big Shyamalan twist up front and then spends the next hour and a half trying to figure out what to do with it. This movie may set a new bar for richness of character.

Bun and the relationship he has with his wife provides some genuinely heart-wrenching moments. Lau really gets inside the character and you feel it, from beginning to end, emotional/psychological roller coaster and all. But we'd expect nothing less of To and Fai; they usually tend to populate their world with rich characters. Every actor turns in a stellar performance. Plus, we're treated to appearances by a fair number of To and Fai regulars.

'Mad Detective' really is a fresh take on the Crime/Murder/Mystery genre. But while fresh is good, it's not everything. This film succeeds in being smart and entertaining at the same time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jacques COULARDEAU on December 8, 2008
Format: DVD
When one detective is crazy and the other one is a greedy gangster in the disguise of a detective and the third one is a bitch that does not want to be dominated by her crazy man and the fourth one is a frightened little boy in the disguise of a courageous crime solver, you can be sure nothing is simple and everything is definitely twisted, distorted, warped and a few other limping true menaces. And only one will have to survive to clean up the snake nest, and only one will survive. Then the rest is anecdotic. But I like this detective clairvoyant when you bury him alive. I must admit it is funny to follow the intricate and completely messed up chase after an Indian criminal who will be the first one to be killed though he probably never killed anyone. You need eggs to break if you want to make an omelet, don't you? The eggs are of course always innocent even if they come from the rear end of some chicken or rather hen. A film that is more funny than frightening but maybe that is due to the fact that we do not have a dubbed version, only a subtitled one.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steve Benner VINE VOICE on October 19, 2008
Format: DVD
Despite its rather gruesome opening, this highly unconventional Hong Kong police movie manages to be both engrossing and compelling right to the very end. There are times when the pace flags just a little but by and large it achieves a fine balance between police drama and psychological thriller. It is well acted and stylishly shot throughout and has so many unexpected elements as to buck all expectations of just where it is heading, or how it might get there. With twists aplenty along the way, it pays to keep your wits about you whilst watching; its apocalyptic conclusion provides a nicely ambiguous ending.

With a generous dose of interesting extras on the DVD, this is very worthwhile release from Masters of Cinema. Highly recommended.
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