Hong Kong cinema has built up a reputation for stylish and slick crime dramas. The reigning master is undoubtedly Johnnie To, who has transformed his spin on the genre into something of an artform. The likes of PTU, The Mission and Exiled are modern classics. However, he’s not short of competition. When John Woo exploded onto the I international scene following the release of The Killer, he opened up a path up for his successors. Chasing the Dragon, the latest film from Jason Kwan and Jing Wong, is epic in scope and stars two of the territory’s most bankable stars.
When Brother Ho (Donnie Yen) arrives in Hong Kong in 1974 he has nothing but the hope of a better life. He struggles for a year before being spotted by Lee Rock (Andy Lau), a police inspector, during a gang fight. He takes Ho under his wing and both men rise up the ranks in the police and triads respectively. However, an earlier altercation with a British officer (Bryan Larkin) haunts both their lives. As competition for the drug trade hots up, the city becomes an increasingly dangerous place to work.
Chasing the Dragon is a compelling crime drama which allows two of Hong Kong’s best actors free reign to entertain. Lau is a legend and adds a sense of gravitas and weight to the narrative. Yen is more of a loose cannon, investing Ho with an irrepressible energy. The acting in superbly choreographed and the walled city is a perfect backdrop. Chasing the Dragon is a delicious slice of Hong Kong crime cinema.
Chasing the Dragon is released on DVD by Well Go USA Entertainment on 22 January.