140 user 94 critic

The Corruptor (1999)

0:30 | Trailer
With the aid from a New York City policeman, a top immigrant cop tries to stop drug-trafficking and corruption by immigrant Chinese Triads, but things get complicated when the Triads try to bribe the policeman.


James Foley


Robert Pucci
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Yun-Fat Chow ... Nick Chen (as Chow Yun-Fat)
Mark Wahlberg ... Danny Wallace
Ric Young ... Henry Lee
Paul Ben-Victor ... Schabacker
Jon Kit Lee ... Jack
Andrew Pang ... Willy Ung
Elizabeth Lindsey Elizabeth Lindsey ... Louise Deng
Brian Cox ... Sean Wallace
Byron Mann ... Bobby Vu
Kim Chan ... Benny Wong
Bill MacDonald Bill MacDonald ... Vince Kirkpatrick
Susie Trinh Susie Trinh ... Amy San
Ho Chow ... Black Eyes
Olivia Yap ... Tai
Lynda Chiu Lynda Chiu ... Kim


Nick Chen is one of New York City's most martial police officers and the first Chinese-born immigrant on the force. Chen's job is to keep the peace in Chinatown from a turf war that has broken out between the Triads and the ruthless, and dangerous Fukienese Dragons. Chen teams up with Danny Wallace, who is terribly unaware of this situation. When the Tongs boldly attempt to bribe Wallace, Chen is forced to keep his faithfulness. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


If you have a secret, he knows it. If you have a weakness, he exploits it. If you have anything good in you, he destroys it... See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Kim Chan plays a crime-lord named Benny Wong nicknamed Uncle Benny. Chan also played a crime-lord nicknamed Uncle Benny in Lethal Weapon 4 (1998). See more »


During a car chase Chen drives down an alley scraping both sides of his car then he and his opponent bang the sides of their cars into each other but there is no sign of any damage to Chen's car even after the bad guys fire machine guns at it. See more »


Danny Wallace: The ends justify the means, Pops.
Sean Wallace: The ends is bullshit. The means is what you live with.
See more »

Alternate Versions

German VHS release was cut by ca. 6 minutes to secure a "Not under 16" rating. See more »


Song for a Jolly Gathering
Written by Bobby Chen & Huang Lian Wang
Performed by Bobby Chen
Courtesy of Rock Records Co., Ltd.
See more »

User Reviews

Doesn't quite work
21 September 1999 | by AnardilSee all my reviews

"The Corruptor" is a movie that can't quite decide what it wants to be. For a long time I couldn't figure out why I didn't like this movie as much as some of Chow Yun-Fat's earlier work. Unlike many, I enjoyed "The Replacement Killers," and I was looking forward to this one, his second American effort. Upon seeing it for a second time, I think I have it figured out.

The classic Chow/Woo collaborations that came out of Hong Kong in the late '80s and early '90s worked so well because the storylines were fairly simple, and the emphasis was on mind-blowing action. Themes such as brotherhood, loyalty and redemption were strongly emphasized. In short, they were myths. And they worked exceptionally well.

Then, when all the Asian stars came to Hollywood, starting with Jackie Chan and followed by Chow, Woo, Jet Li, etc. this classic formula was imitated, but American film makers just haven't got it right yet. "The Replacement Killers" tried, and I think succeeded in a limited sense. The action was good, but Chow's acting ability was not fully used. Still, it stayed successfully away from the "American phenomenon." Too often, American film makers take successful film concepts, then throw a bunch of sex and profanity in, seemingly at random, to make it "grittier," or "more realistic." Unfortunately, this just makes a good concept confused and reduces its impact. "The Replacement Killers" remained focused on action at all times and thus succeeded to a point.

Other times one genre is unsuccessfully grafted on to another. Thus we have "The Corruptor." It takes the Hong Kong "heroic bloodshed," format and for some reason tries to make it into "L.A. Confidential." The excessive violence so popular in the HK films seems out of place and gratuitous here, because it is presented in the same context and the same world as where illegal immigrants are tortured and killed and corruption works its way throughout the NYPD. Somehow, both legitimate genres are denigrated as a result. The action seems anemic if you take the movie as heroic bloodshed, and if it's taken as film noir, the violence seems unrealistic and stupid. So it fails on both accounts.

Still, its great to see Chow acting in an American movie, and he has an undeniable screen presence here, as always, while Wahlberg is competent enough and the supporting cast is pretty good.

So, to summarize: The story is a little too convoluted and remains somewhat unconvincing; the action, such as it is, is good, especially the chase scene, but doesn't work in context because it is presented in a framework of gritty realism. Finally, at the end of the movie, there seems to be no clear point to the film; unlike with the HK films, the viewer is left with no understanding of what the whole thing was really about. Add to that the rather unsympathetic main characters, who more often than not come across as pathetic losers than anti-heroes, and the movie really doesn't work.

Rating: 6.8/10, but it would be less if it didn't have Chow Yun-Fat, my favourite actor, who does his best to try and save the film.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 140 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.





English | Cantonese

Release Date:

12 March 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Corruptor See more »


Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,765,300, 14 March 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed