Beyond the martial arts period epics that Asian film market is known for churning out some excellent crime dramas. Sure they have some not so great ones from time to time, but more often than not they knock them out of the park. The latest Drug War comes from PTU and Vegeance director Jonnie To who has delivered some great additions to this genre, but does this film continue the trend or is it a war not wroth fighting?
Drug War follows a man who loses control of his car, crashing into a restaurant. Soon the police’s anti-drug captain realizes this man is a drug lord. To stop from receiving the death penalty he helps the police bring down the entire drug circuit but how far is he willing to go and will he follow it through to the end? This film starts out a bit slow and a little all over the place, but quickly finds its stride to deliver an excellent crime action thriller. The story is cleverly crafter allowing things to build up through a series of interesting exchanges and set ups without forcing a ton of unnecessary action in your face. There are some great directions and performances across the board that creates the tone for the overall film as well as clever ways they prepare each surveliance and bust. While not an action packed film, there are two big action sequences that work in a more real world setting as well as high octane entertainment. While some may be waiting for some action the build-up to these work perfect and deliver the excitement that is worth the wait.
This is one of the better cop thrillers in some time featuring great characters and intriguing storytelling without ever trying to be too force tons of unnecessary twists on you. It took some brave directions with the ending sequence that works great and felt more realistic than the norm. If you are a fan f crime dramas and/or Asian cinema then you have to check out Drug War.