Mad Detective

"Weak"

Mad Detective Review


Mad Detective? You got it. Officer Bun (Ching Wan Lau) has a reputation, not unlike director Johnny To, for beguiling acts of self-torture to prove that he means business. When Ho (Andy On), his new partner, first meets him, the detective is busy stabbing the hanging corpse of a large pig. A moment later, Ho is asked to zip Bun inside a piece of luggage and toss him down several flights of stairs. By the time Bun goes Picasso on his ear to honor the retiring Chief of Police, you're not surprised by much of anything he does.

18 months later, Ho tracks down the now-retired Bun to help him find a missing policeman that many think was shot by an Indian during a routine stakeout. The missing man, Wong, was last seen with his partner Chi Wai (an intense Lam Ka Tung), a crooked cop with a feral streak. Ho wants to ascertain Bun's most supernatural ability: The detective can see people's inner personalities, what they actually are under their well-worn aesthetics. It doesn't take much for Bun to suspect Chi Wai when he notices the police officer has seven personas, including a fat lard with a penchant for shark's fin soup and an ice-cold businesswoman.

Last year, To let it all hang out in his spaghetti western bonanza Exiled after playing it straight with the powerhouse Triad Election. Visually magnificent, Exiled was bone-bare as a story and nil in complexity, but its atmosphere was dusky and strangely playful. Action films frame their chaos, movement, and explosions in tidy packages; To romanticized the gangland theatrics by giving them space and elegance, turning set-pieces into whirling storm clouds of zipping bullets, trenchcoats caught in perpetual updraft, and bodies floating in a contorted ether.

Sadly, Mad Detective doesn't have moments that graze either Exiled's absurd beauty or Triad Election's business-end brutality. What it does attain is its own ragged visual complexity: The way To and co-director Wai Ka Fai stuff the screen with every passing flicker of psychosis is startlingly engaging. The actors are competent but Wan Lau feels like Detective House M.D., with less sarcasm and more schizo. He has the answer for everything and he's always sure of it, while the audience is still grappling at what to make of To's visual landscape. With everything out in the sunlight, it's hard to negotiate what's important to the overall arc. Mad Detective is an intriguing exercise in genre through imagery, but it's too cluttered to be engrossing or even entertaining. The things To wants to contemplate just don't look as good in the light of day.

Aka Sun taam.

Mad potty.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 89 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 29th November 2007

Distributed by: IFC First Take

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Fresh: 16 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: , Wai Ka-Fai

Producer: , Wai Ka-Fai

Starring: Sean Lau as Inspector Chan Kwai Bun, as Inspector Ho Ka On, Gordon Lam Ka-Tung as Ko Chi Wai (as Lam Ka Tung), as May Cheung, Kwok-Lun Lee as Wong Kwok Chu (as Lee Kwok Lun), Choi-ning Lee as Gigi (as Karen Lee), Flora Chan as May Cheung - in Bun's eyes, Eddie Cheung Siu-Fai as Violent Man - Ko's Inner Personality (as Cheung Siu Fai), Lam Suet as Fatso - Ko's Inner Personality (as Lam Suet), Ronald Yan as Chi-Wai's Boss, Wah Wo Wong as Restaurant Manager, Jo Kuk as Ho Ka-On's inner personality

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.