23 user 69 critic

Mad Detective (2007)

San taam (original title)
2:01 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

A rookie cop teams up with a former detective with a supernatural gift to hunt down a serial killer.


, (as Wai Ka Fai)


(as Wai Ka Fai), (as Au Kin Yee)
6 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Exiled (2006)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A friendship is formed between an ex-gangster, and two groups of hitmen - those who want to protect him and those who were sent to kill him.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Nick Cheung, Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, Francis Ng
Election (2005)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Rival gang leaders are locked in a struggle to become the new chairman of Hong Kong's Triad society.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Louis Koo, Suet Lam, Tony Ka Fai Leung
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Police inspector and excellent hostage negotiator Ho Sheung-Sang finds himself in over his head when he is pulled into a 72 hour game by a cancer suffering criminal out for vengeance on Hong Kong's organized crime Syndicates.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Andy Lau, Ching Wan Lau, YoYo Mung
The Mission (1999)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Triad boss Lung, who has just escaped being killed in an assassination, hires five killers for his protection. Their grown solidarity is under compulsion when Lung gives a special order.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, Francis Ng, Jackie Chung-yin Lui
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

As election time nears, current Triad chairman Lok (Yam) faces competition from his godsons. At the same time, Jimmy (Koo) looks to increase his business relations with mainland China.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Louis Koo, Simon Yam, Nick Cheung
Sparrow (2008)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A gang of pickpockets roam the streets of Hong Kong.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Simon Yam, Kelly Lin, Ka Tung Lam
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Three people - a criminal, a bank officer and a cop - end up in a catastrophic situation in the midst of a global economical crisis and are forced to betray any morals and principles to solve their financial problems.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Richie Jen, Ching Wan Lau, Terence Yin
PTU (2003)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Over the course of one night, a team of cops frantically search for their colleague's missing gun.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Simon Yam, Suet Lam, Ruby Wong
Breaking News (2004)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

When an ambulatory TV news unit live broadcasts the embarrassing defeat of a police battalion by five bank robbers in a ballistic showdown, the credibility of the police force drops to a ... See full summary »

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Richie Jen, Kelly Chen, Nick Cheung
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A cop is forced into early retirement due to retinal damage. But after witnessing a bank robbery along with a female inspector - who believes he has acute senses - they team up in hope to solve the case.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Andy Lau, Sammi Cheng, Kerry Chan
Vengeance (2009)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A French chef swears revenge after a violent attack on his daughter's family in Hong Kong, during which her husband and her two children are murdered. To help him find the killers, he hires three local hit-men working for the mafia.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Conroy Chi-Chung Chan, Chi Ping Chang, Gwendolyn Chen
Drug War (2012)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A drug cartel boss who is arrested in a raid is coerced into betraying his former accomplices as part of an undercover operation.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Louis Koo, Honglei Sun, Yi Huang


Cast overview, first billed only:
Bun (as Lau Ching Wan)
Inspector Ho Ka-on
Ka Tung Lam ...
Ko Chi-wai (as Lam Ka Tung)
May Cheung
Kwok-Lun Lee ...
Wong Kwok-chu (as Lee Kwok Lun)
Choi-ning Lee ...
Gigi (as Karen Lee)
Flora Chan ...
May Cheung - in Bun's eyes
Violent Man - Ko's Inner Personality (as Cheung Siu Fai)
Suet Lam ...
Fatso - Ko's Inner Personality (as Lam Suet)
Jay Lau ...
Calculating Woman - Ko's Inner Personality (as Lau Kam Ling)
Eddy Ko ...
The Chief
Jo Kuk ...
Cunning Woman - Ho's Inner Personality (as Jo Koo)
Ling To Yuen ...
Policeman (as Yuen Ling To)
Jonathan Yat-Sing Lee ...
Weak Boy - Ho's Inner Personality (as Jonathan Lee)
Ronald Yan ...
Ko's Boss


A rookie cop teams up with a former detective with a supernatural gift to hunt down a serial killer.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


I can see a person's inner personality.


See all certifications »





Release Date:

29 November 2007 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Mad Detective  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,682 (USA) (18 July 2008)


$4,629 (USA) (25 July 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


At the beginning of the movie, when the main character is cutting his ear off, we can clearly see the half of it. (at around 63 mins) when the ear unfolds from the bandage we see a whole piece of it. See more »


Ho Ka-on: [to Bun] Whenever I get stuck, I'll imagine how you'd crack it.
See more »


References Sarhad Paar (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Nutshell Review: Mad Detective
27 November 2007 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

Mad Detective had been touted as the long awaited re-team of Johnny To and Wai Ka Fai, who together have made Running on Karma back in 2003. The return of Lau Ching Wan to a To-Wai movie (since My Left Eye Sees Ghosts) is also more than welcome, and Mad Detective to me lived up to its hype, despite having certain obvious recycled elements from To's earlier films.

But this doesn't mean that the movie felt familiar. Sure, the iconic elements of a To movie were all there, including the saga of the missing police handgun, and the oh-so-stylish Mexican stand-offs (that we've seen in recent To movies in Exiled and Triangle) and the inevitable resolution, though how this one panned out, deserves the loudest of applause for its edge-of-your-seat-who-comes-out-unscathed revelation. And the end result is both satisfying, for a movie that had engaged through all its minutes, and yet frustrating, though the good thing was that there isn't any cop-out edits just to satisfy censors or sooth faux morals.

Mad Detective tells the story of Bun (Lau), who is termed as the title says because of his extremely unorthodox methods to solve crime - he re-enacts them at the very venues they are committed, getting into the minds of the criminals, and through this manner, able to identify who the perpetrator is. Needless to say his crime solving rate is high and he beocomes a legend, until a crazed moment saw him cut off his right ear to present to a departing boss, and with that, an early discharge letter from the Force.

The story fast forwards 5 years later, with detective Ho (Andy On) investigating a case of a missing cop and his gun, which was found to be used in a series of armed robberies. While suspicion is strong on the partner Chi-wai (Lam Ka Tung), there is absolutely no shred of evidence linking him to the crime. In his desperation, Ho turns to Bun, very much against protocol, and enlists his help in solving the case.

That's basically it, as we see in more detail what Bun's abilities are in depth. He's part profiler, part sage, and to many, all insanity with his constant talking to himself, and banged up attire sans socks. What I thought made it a close to perfect thriller, was that it constantly kept you guessing whether Bun is indeed what the title is, if it had taken a leaf out of Oxide Pang's creation of the C+ Detective with some supernatural moments, of if it was solely a disorder of the mind. If it shows you compelling evidence that you deem is a smoking gun, in no time are you presented with doubts that will cloud your judgement. You're given a glimpse of how the method in the madness works, and more often than not, find yourself second-guessing all the time, just like how Ho does.

And to that effect, I would warrant a guess that some in the audience will be left perplexed and confused, but my advice is not to give up on it. There are many wonderful moments especially when Bun's ability is fleshed out for the audience to see, and as such provided plenty of cameo appearances like Lam Suet and Cheung Siu Fai, playing personalities that were personifications of an inner man's thoughts, desires and fears. A pity though that not all personalities shown were provided screen time to do something more. A cautionary tale too about not judging a book by its cover, as even uncanny abilities to read a person might not be able to sniff out something that's regressive and well concealed, the true intentions of anyone.

Lau Ching Wan took a long hiatus before returning to the big screens here (since The Shopaholics, and the lovely My Name is Fame only made it straight to disc), and this comeback is nothing short of majestic in having him in his element, doing almost a one- man show if you will. You laugh at his antics, cry at his predicament in being so dogged in his persistence, admire his unorthodox methods and philosophy approaching investigations (to use emotions), yet cry along in pity when you suspect he's slowly degenerating into madness. Lau has charisma enough to make you empathize with his Bun, into a character you root for, despite his obvious difference. Andy On holds his own as the greenhorn investigator well enough in scenes opposite Lau, while Lam Ka Tung is just plain menacing as the accused, expressing his frustration in being the prime suspect, being both the cat and the mouse in the hunt for the truth.

What I admire about the movie, is how a simple idea can be branched into something complex, but yet within grasp, so hats off to the writing-directing team of To and Wai Ka Fai. In essence, this is a story that is told with its cards close to its chest, providing great balance in letting the multiple cats out of the bag at the right time. Simply superb!

41 of 56 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
English translation spoiled the movie? dsbydt2
awesome movie ssf_sunny
MoC-dvd!!! DignanSWE
Mad Detective = MPD Psycho ? eoffermann
Girl in the convenience store tlo-otl
Soundtrack sebaa
Discuss Mad Detective (2007) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: