Its been quite hot down here lately, but the people at the Gen. Cinemas in Redondo had the air conditioning turned up so high I almost came down with hypothermia. Some guy came before the audience and announced that the movie we were about to see starred Chow Yun-Fat and Mark Wahlberg and was called The Corruptor. The audience erupted, Im not kidding, into cheers. Obviously, they had not been privy to the same tip off as I had by the ticket hawker. This was confirmed by the guy sitting next to me, who said he was approached outside a theater to see "a hot, new action movie." I thought the guys head was going to pop off when they said Chows name.
Let me say that what is immediately apparent about this film is that its the "smart, intelligent action film" that everybody says they want to see (or in this town, everyone wants to make or so they claim. If everyone really felt this way, we wouldnt have so many crummy action pics out there now would we?) After the opening scene setting up a violent gang war between the Fukineese Dragons and the established, respectable crime bosses of New Yorks China town, we get to meet Yun-Fat who plays Det. Nick Chen. Not to be outdone by Jon Woo and the other directors that made Yun-Fat a household name in Hong Kong, Foley sets our introduction to Chen in a Chinatown lamp factory. As you can imagine the Fukineese thugs show up right on time, and Chen manages to dismantle a gang of like four guys while thrashing the lamp store in the process. And he does it with that undeniable Yun-Fat style. COOL! From here on out the movie only picks up steam. We quickly learn that while hes basically a super-cop in Chinatown, Nick Chen is a flawed cop. He likes whores, although hed rather feed them star fruit than take liberties, gambling, and oh I forgot hes on the take. Thats how hes a super-cop. The central antagonist in the film, Henry Lee aka THE CORRUPTOR (which, by the way is a tad confusing, only because of the title. I think they should change it, but hey thats semantics) feeds him a bust every now and then if Chen will just look the other way when encountering Lees more lucrative illegal businesses.
Well, things are pretty good for Chen until he gets a new partner, yeah thats right, entrée Mark Wahlberg as rookie cop Danny Wallace. Theres some funny dialogue that takes place upon his arrival in the Asian Gang Unit (AGU), but I wouldnt even think of ruining it for you so Ill just tease ya. Sensing that Wallace could be a threat to their illegal activity, Lee seduces the kid into coming on the payroll. But Chen doesnt like this and tries with all his might to prevent this from happening, so…..WHALAH! Wallace is on the take too! Just as Chens unit is in the middle of an Internal Affairs investigation. The rest of the film is ripe with plot twists and turns that would spoil the movie if I laid them down here, so you know I wont. But what I will tell you is that there is plenty of kick-ass action in this movie to keep you satisfied, but not numb. M favorite scene was the car chase with so much carnage it may give SAVING PRIVATE RYAN a run for its money. Im not kidding, its probably the best car chase on the big screen since THE FRENCH CONNECTION!
All in all this movie has it all: action, good characters, and the ever elusive good story. Truth be told the test audience seemed to like it even more than I did. My only complaint is that there isnt any slo-motion shots of Yun-Fat brandishing two guns, sliding down banisters, shooting knee caps, and dropping spent clips simultaneously. I know weve seen those shots in about 3 billion Yun-Fat films, but call me crazy I could go for 3 billion and one. Well thats it. You have to go see it Harry, cause this movie rules.