P Storm P風暴 (2019) - Hong Kong / China
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
Just when you think that the alphabetical “Storm” series is over, the forth film of the box office successful never ending ICAC crime busting fantasy action thriller continues with “P Storm”. Set mostly within the confines of a prison drama, our hero William Luk (played by the inflatable and incorruptible Louis Koo) purposely get caught for drink driving this time to go undercover to investigate corruption within prison cells. The whole series so far requires a certain level of underlying suspension of belief and this film is no different. Numerous plot holes and distort from reality of Hong Kong comes into play, but with the blitz running time of 90 minutes, the film never bores, aided by criminally over acting by Raymond Lam as the rich crime boss in jail, comic timing from Louis Cheung as fellow in-mate and of course cheering on the impossibility of life in Louis Koo.
Louis Koo headlines once again and if Donnie Yen’s memorable role is “Ip Man”, then Koo is ICAC Chief inspector William Luk. In a fantasy world, this is probably how Mainland audience perceive Hong Kong to be and Koo represents the hope and upholding of the “rule of law” against crime and corruption that the Mainland authorities have been instilling about over the past decade. Raymond Lam makes an interesting appearance as the spoiled and rich crime boss currently in jail bribing his way to maintain his way of living. Lam constantly overacts and in a way it’s so bad that it is actually entertaining. Louis Cheung is the comic sidekick and impresses as the most human of the characters around. Other series regular like Gordon Lam, Dada Chan and Julian Cheung appears in minor roles to add to the familiarity. Patrick Tam is excellent as the corrupted prison boss and Chrissie Chau plays the minor role as the distress hamster with conviction.
All in all, “P Storm” directed by David Lam is by no means a significant film and probably not entirely needed by the audience. However, both Hong Kong and Mainland box office numbers talk and in this case, another follow up is already planned and in the works. As usual the film suddenly induce elements of collaborating with Mainland investigations and the informative ending of how all criminals or corrupters are convicted for longer prison terms. These are laughable moments, but for all it is worth, “P Storm” remains entertaining in a fantasy version of Hong Kong ICAC.
I rated it 6/10