Chasing the Dragon (2017) - Hong Kong
Reviewed by Andrew Chan
One of Hong Kong biggest film in 2017 comes in the reboot of two landmark 90s gangster films in the form of "Lee Rock" and "To be Number One". Starring Donnie Yen as the legendary Crippled Ho and Andy Lau as the infamous corrupted cop Lee Rock, "Chasing the Dragon" manages to be epic, ultra violent, unforgiving, while at the same time totally racist and bashing of the British colonial era. Above it all, directors Wong Jing combines so well with Jason Kwan that literally we see next to zero traces of usual Wong Jing's antics and in turn created an outright showcase for Donnie Yen as a character actor and thus Hong Kong Film Award best actor stardom.
Yen as Ho is simply the highlight of the film as he carries the character into his own version. In a true charismatic performance, Yen manages to recreate life and death from rags to riches gangster who literally ruled Hong Kong underworld in the 60s and 70s. The depth and strength of the performance is displayed throughout the two hour duration. Ably supported by Andy Lau as Lee Rock, playing second fiddle to in title billing, this is a Yen's showcase to endure. Lau manages to have fun in a role that he simply fits the shoes back in the early 90s and continue that sort of form here.
All in all, "Chasing the Dragon" is easily one of Wong Jing better film for ages and full credos to Jason Kwan for realising this potential with details in both set pieces and action scenes. There are many good things about this film that outweighs any pretension and over the top British antics to please the Chinese censors as a patriotic film as to anything pre-1997. The audience ultimately wins as we get a quality production that delivers what the local audience expect in total epic scale. One thing is certain, Donnie Yen can act and will probably be in the books for a Best Actor win by the awards time.
I rated it 4/5
Coming soon on DVD and Blu Ray at: NeoFilmShop.com