REVIEW: Cold War (2012)

coldwar

china-iconHong-kong-icon

2012, Edko Films/Sil-Metropole Organisation Ltd./Irresistible Films

Directors:
Longman Leung
Sunny Luk
Producers:
Bill Kong
Matthew Tang
Ivy Ho
Catherine Kwan
Writers:
Longman Leung
Sunny Luk
Cinematography:
Jason Kwan
Kenny Tse
Editing:
Kwong Chi-Leung
Wong Hoi

Cast:
Aaron Kwok (Sean Lau)
Tony Leung Ka-Fai (M.B. Lee)
Gordon Lam (Albert Kwong)
Chin Ka-Lok (Vincent Tsui)
Andy On (Michael Shek)
Andy Lau (Philip Luk)
Aarif Rahman (Billy Cheung)
Eddie Peng (Joe Lee)
Michael Wong (Commissioner York Tsang)
Byron Mann (Chan Bin)

Writer-directors Longman Leung and Sunny Luk use some interesting twists and turns to make this a much underrated police drama that revolves around one word: power.

Hong Kong has become of the safest places in recent times. However, it all changes when five officers are kidnapped by a mysterious assailant who only corresponds via phone. One of the victims is the son of acting Police Commissioner M.B. Lee, who undertakes a new operation, codename Cold War. He plans to get the victims back by any means necessary.

This does not bode well with Deputy Commissioner Sean Lau, who thinks Lee is going to put many officers at risk for the sake of his son. With the help of his longtime colleague Vincent Tsui and Lee’s colleague, Deputy Commissioner Albert Kwong, Lee is taken off as acting Commissioner and with Commissioner York Tsang’s approval, Sean is now in charge of Cold War. However, despite their rivalry, Lau and Lee soon discover that the mastermind might be within their own ranks especially after a nearly botched ransom deal causes one of their own to lose his life, and the only way they can solve the case is working together.

What looks like a straightforward action thriller filled with dramatic tension between two rival officers of the Hong Kong police force actually is a much underrated thriller that not only focuses on the tension between these two rivals, but also gives an inside look at how the world of technology has changed in Hong Kong as well. Through Terence Yin’s computer expert Man To, we learn that even though the victims have been taken, their uniforms have a GPS system that should track their location as well as a GPS locator on the van when it is swiped. One wonders then how it is still possible to stage a kidnapping of this magnitude.

However, the primary focus of the film is the rivalry between the acting Commissioner who seems to go to extreme measures to find the location of the victims, only for the simple fact that his own son, a young officer, is one of the kidnappees. Tony Leung Ka-Fai, looking almost unrecognizable with a bald head and a beard (a far cry from his 90’s long hair look), does well as a power abuser whose main concern seems to be his son. As a father, this can be held to heart. However, as the acting Commissioner, being a father must come second due to the risk of losing officers all for the sake of his son.

Meanwhile, Aaron Kwok lives the life of a police officer whose career comes first and family second. He cares about his fellow officers as if they are family. He sees his longtime colleague not only as a fellow officer, but as a brother. However, his job comes first and to protect the integrity of the police force, like Lee does as a father, Kwok’s Lau must ensure by any means necessary of making sure Lee must manage his job right or lose the title of acting Commissioner. Once Lau takes over, chaos ensues as Lau becomes suspected of embezzling after the nearly botched random deal. Kudos has to go out to Aarif Rahman, who does an impressive job as a young ICAC officer hot on the trail of Lau and Lee as he searches for answers.

Chin Ka-Lok is without a doubt one of the top action coordinators today. He has become the “go-to” guy for the millennial “police action” thriller when it comes to showcasing elaborate stunts and gunfire galore. Once again, Chin, joined by Wong Wai-Fai, delivers the goods in terms of action and stunts. While there are barely any fisticuffs, that’s okay as we the action complements the dramatic portion very well.

Cold War is a pretty well-done police thriller that revolves around both a kidnapping and the power struggle between two high ranking officers that also involves the technological changes of the new millennium in Hong Kong. The ensemble cast does an great job overall in this thriller and it is worth a rental.

WFG RATING: B+

DVD/BLU-RAY

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