Z Storm (2014)

zstorm

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From the director of First Shot and Powerful Four comes this action thriller revolving around the world of corruption and one inspector’s mission to stop it at all costs.

A money laundering investigation causes the police to go to the offices of accountant Law Tak-Wing. When Superintendent Wong confronts the accountant, he sides with him and attempts to throw out the evidence. However, when Wong’s estranged wife rats out to the ICAC that Wong had been taking bribes and had beaten her, an issue that had been going on when he got his promotion, Inspector William Luk intends to take Wong down, once again causing a rift between the police and the ICAC. However, when the interrogating doesn’t provide enough evidence, Wong is let go.

Meanwhile, Law has been forced into an even more dangerous issue. Forced to work with legal consultant Malcolm Wu, who has worked alongside Wong and is the lawyer for a mysterious South American drug lord, Zorro, Law has agreed to invest money into the “Z Hedge Fund”, a so-called business deal set up by Zorro as a front for his business. In addition to Law, Wu somehow forces retired government official Tsui Wai-King to join the Z Hedge Fund. When the ICAC gets wind of the business, Luk and his team has six days to gather enough evidence to stop the deal from going down or they will close the case with no issues. Operation Z Storm begins and it’s a race against time as the ICAC must sacrifice everything they can to stop the corruption once and for all.

Director David Lam is an interesting talent behind the cameras when it comes to police thrillers. One of his underrated films is 1993’s First Shot, which revolves around the eventual birth of the ICAC, which handles corruption in Hong Kong. Here, the ICAC is already well established and is headed by Louis Koo, who is becoming the go-to guys these days for appearing in many Hong Kong films. In other words, he’s this generation’s Simon Yam.

Koo definitely channels seriousness combined with remorse in his role of ICAC Inspector William Luk. He shows his determination for stopping corruption and while it is true that it is his duty, the viewer soon learns that there is something deeper as to why he is determined to put an end to the case. Gordon Lam, like Koo, is quite the versatile actor himself and here, he plays the very brash and arrogant, not to mention, corrupt Superintendent Wong. Wong is seen as someone who hates the ICAC with a passion and while Koo’s Luk is determined to end the corruption, Lam’s Wong is determined to get the ICAC terminated.

Michael Wong is the kind of actor you can either love or hate. Here, you will definitely hate him as perhaps he has his biggest villain role since 2005’s House of Fury. Here, he plays a kind of “puppet master” who pulls the strings of some bigwigs in order to make sure his client, a South American drug lord, gets what he needs. Dada Chen seems like a pawn at first as Angel, a young woman who may or may not hold the key in the ICAC’s case to stop the Z Hedge Fund from going public. She does play an integral part in the film as the tension builds up.

The action scenes are nicely done as they are spread out just right to complement the seriousness of the story. There just holds enough action to help satisfy the viewer, from a few car chases to a shootout with some decent hand-to-hand combat, all courtesy of action director Jack Wong, who appears in the film as a hitman in the climactic finale.

Z Storm is a pretty good action thriller that shows corruption and the obstacles the ICAC faces as they must deal with dirty cops and dirty businessmen. Louis Koo and Gordon Lam are in top form. Add the most scuzziest performance by Michael Wong and some decent action and this is a pretty good film.

WFG RATING: B

A Pegasus Motion Pictures in association with Sil-Metropole Organisation Ltd. Director: David Lam. Producers: John Chong and Ren Yue. Writer: Wong Ho-Wah. Cinematography: Tony Cheung. Editing: Kwong Chi-Leung and Poon Hung-Yiu.

Cast: Louis Koo, Gordon Lam, Dada Chen, Michael Wong, Lo Hoi-Pang, Felix Lok, Eddie Cheung, Stephen Au, Janelle Sing, Derek Tsang, Clement Tien, Tony Ho, Alfred Cheung, May Law .

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