The Corruptor


(1999) ★★½

TCM: Tuesday 8 September, 9.00pm

NYPD detective Chow Yun-Fat unhappy when rookie Mark Wahlberg is assigned to his Asian Gang Unit at the 15th Precinct. “He’s worse than white,” says Yun-Fat to his unsympathetic captain. “He’s green.” And keen. The eager Wahlberg wants to nail the elderly godfather who rules Chinatown. The pragmatic Yun-Fat has learned that it’s best to keep the right side of the Triads if you want any results. In any case, organised crime isn’t high on the precinct’s priorities – the department wants to keep Chinatown safe for tourists. So something has to be done when innocent bystanders are harmed by the violent gang warfare escalating between the Fukienese and the Tongs.

Bruising urban action with hectic car-chases and frenzied shoot-outs taking place in massage parlours and light-fittings stores – basically, anywhere there’s tits and glass. Using exaggerated low-angled framing, telephoto zoom shoots and wild camera swings within rapid edits, James Foley directs as though as he’s taken leave of his senses. Or perhaps he imagines this is how John Woo might have shot it in Hong Kong. Well, maybe – 20 years ago. Foley’s various films have ranged from ugly bad (Who’s That Girl? and Reckless) to pretty good (Glengarry Glen Ross and At Close Range).

This one’s closer to bad, but on a biggish budget – scores of cars are pulped, buildings are blown up, and don’t even try to estimate the number of bullets expended. After all, in true Hong Kong fashion, none of the shooters bothers to keep count. Everyone just keeps shooting – blam, blam, blah, blah.

Certificate: 18
Duration: 106min

IMDB – The Corruptor

TMDB – The Corruptor

Rotten Tomatoes – The Corruptor