Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  PTU Here Come The Fuzz
Year: 2003
Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Simon Yam, Maggie Sui, Suet Lam, Ruby Wong, Raymond Wong, Eddy Ko, Lo Hoi Pang, Jerome Fung, Frank Michael Liu, Chang Chi-Ping, Chiu Chi-Sing, Roderick Lam, Wang Tian-Lin, Wong Chi Wai, Wong Wah-Wo, Ronald Yan, Courtney Wu
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: It's going to be a tough night in this district of Hong Kong, for a certain group of people on both sides of the law, at any rate. The gangster's son Ponytail arrives at a diner and starts throwing his weight around, not by shouting, but by ensuring he and his men are given preferential treatment since the owner knows there will be dire consequences if he objects. But also appearing is corrupt cop Lo (Suet Lam), known to all as Fatty, who is also able to throw his weight around - after all, he has more of it. But while Ponytail orders his minions off on a mission, he does not realise this makes him vulnerable...

PTU was one of the first films directed by Johnnie To to break through in the West thanks to riding on the coattails of his biggest hit to that date - though not in the East, where his dramas were better received than his crime thrillers. Perhaps To fit the bill of what the Western cult movie audience believed a Hong Kong director should be making, basically in the footsteps of the king of the genre, John Woo, and it was undeniable this contemporary had a lot of visual flair and a method of staging the action that tapped into the universal appeal of what a thriller should look like, particularly a gangster thriller or one with cops.

Nevertheless, PTU has generally been regarded as one of his lesser works, and while it was not up there with Exiled, and the Election movies were more showy and attention-grabbing, there was plenty here that demonstrated the director's skill with presenting a set of circumstances dripping with irony just as surely as they will wind up awash with blood. To was influenced by the Akira Kurosawa film Stray Dog, which also unfolded as a cop lost his gun and desperately attempted to retrieve it, though his efforts here were more attuned to the Hong Kong at the turn of the millennium, post-1997 when the industry began to change.

Years later, the Chinese film market is huge for many studios across the world, and Hong Kong projects, once the gem of East Asian filmmaking, have been somewhat lost in the shuffle amidst a barrage of big, brash, patriotic action and melodrama from their far larger neighbours. This means even PTU from 2003 seems to come from a different age, a throwback to the territory's glory days of its New Wave in the nineteen-eighties, and as a result it comes across as a little more precious, something to treasure, more than it did when Westerners initially clapped eyes upon it mid-noughties. Despite that, it did resemble more of a sketch, an extended vignette, than a prime example of its craft.

It is Fatty who loses his gun in an almost slapstick series of events as he chases down the gang members responsible for murdering Ponytail - but more importantly, for ruining his car. This brings in the attention of Simon Yam's PTU leader, basically a special forces police service, who understands they really need to get that firearm back or it will have serious and unhappy repercussions; Maggie Siu was also there as an officer who is more by the book yet is dragged into the corruption no matter what happens. There was a leisurely pace to the drama that belied the urgency of the scenario, and you may find yourself admiring To's way with the gleaming cinematography more than being invested in this roguish bunch, as it was a very good-looking production, there was no doubting that. As an almost last gasp of a once-great local industry, PTU was full of interest for established followers of Hong Kong thrillers, and those who wanted to delve into the genre. Intrusive guitar music by Chung Chi Wing, mind you.

[Eureka release this on Blu-ray with the following features:

Limited Edition O-Card Slipcase featuring new artwork by Grégory Sacré (Gokaiju) | 1080p presentation on Blu-ray | Cantonese audio (DTS-HD MA 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 options) | Optional English dubbed audio | Optional English Subtitles and English SDH | Brand new feature length audio commentary by Asian film expert Frank Djeng (NY Asian Film Festival) | Archival interview with director Johnnie To | Archival interview with actor Simon Yam | Archival interview with actress Maggie Siu | Trailers | PLUS: A Collector's Booklet featuring new writing by David West (NEO Magazine).]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 792 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith


Last Updated: