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Drug War (2012)

Du zhan (original title)
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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

Writers:

Ka-Fai Wai (screenplay) (as Wai Ka Fai), Nai-Hoi Yau (screenplay) (as Yau Nai Hoi) | 2 more credits »
10 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Honglei Sun ... Captain Zhang (as Sun Honglei)
Louis Koo ... Timmy Choi
Yi Huang ... Yang Xiaobei (as Huang Yi)
Yunxiang Gao ... Xu Guoxiang (as Gao Yunxiang)
Wallace Chung ... Guo Weijun
Guangjie Li ... Chen Shixong (as Li Guangjie)
Tao Guo ... Senior Dumb (as Guo Tao)
Jing Li Jing Li ... Junior Dumb
Hoi-Pang Lo ... Birdie (as Lo Hoi Pang)
Siu-Fai Cheung ... Su (as Cheung Siu Fai)
Ka Tung Lam ... East Lee (as Lam Ka Tung)
Michelle Ye ... Sal
Suet Lam ... Fatso (as Lam Suet)
Ting Yip Ng ... Hatred (as Ng Yuk San)
Philip Keung ... Darkie (as Keung Hon Man)
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Storyline

After losing control of his car and crashing into a local restaurant, a man loses consciousness on the street. Later, while working on a case, the police's anti-drug division captain, Zhang Lei (Honglei Sun), realizes that the man in the crash is drug lord Tian Ming (Louis Koo). In order to avoid the death penalty, Tian Ming helps the police put a stop to the entire drug trafficking circuit, but just as soon as the police are ready to make a large bust, Tian Ming makes a decision that shocks everyone involved. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

High risk high return


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

China | Hong Kong

Language:

Mandarin | Cantonese

Release Date:

4 April 2013 (China) See more »

Also Known As:

Drug War See more »

Filming Locations:

Tianjin, China

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Box Office

Budget:

CNY 100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,926, 28 July 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$127,877, 8 November 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Jinhai" is actually "Zhuhai". At the end of the movie, the street war happens at the side of dormitories of BNU - HKBU United International College. See more »

Goofs

In the opening scene when Timmy is driving erratically he vomits on the driver side window. After he crashes the vomit is gone. It is still missing when Captain Zhang arrives on the scene shortly after. See more »

Connections

Remade as Believer (2018) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Meth in the Mainland
8 January 2014 | by space_baseSee all my reviews

After his meth lab explodes, leaving him scarred and his wife dead, Timmy Choi (Louis Koo) is apprehended by the Chinese police for a crime that warrants the death penalty. In the custody of Captain Zhang (Sun Honglei), Choi sees only one option to avoid execution; turn traitor and help Zhang's undercover unit bring down the powerful cartel that he has been cooking for. As the stakes get higher, it becomes increasing unclear as to who has the upper hand, and who will dictate the endgame.

Director Johnny To is a master of the crime film, and with "Drug War," he's created a near masterpiece of the genre. He never convinces us of being in anything but complete control of his multifaceted thriller, and exudes an unparallelled confidence in every scene and phenomenal set piece.

To's electrifying picture recalls some of the best work of his great contemporaries. "Drug War" possesses the technical brilliance of Scorsese's "The Departed," the ground-level knowledge and surveillance of David Simon's "The Wire," the gritty realism of Michael Mann's best work, and by the end the blistering, double-fisted action of John Woo's prime. These elements don't come together as a derivative; To is a filmmaker at the top of his game, and makes the most of his cast, his influences, the Mainland setting, and a little of the grotesquerie that often has Hollywood shuddering; in a singular whole.

Disparate from most Hong Kong action films, "Drug War" is a methodical, meticulous procedural first, exploiting a street-smart screenplay that knows the Chinese crime scene; and if that statement is indeed false, it never feels less than authentic. Much of the intensity derives from dialogue exchanges, and how rigorous both the cops and criminals try to not get made. Because of this well paced, equally well played dynamic, we never know who we should root for, and that's exactly the point. Mr. To's drama is incredibly intense... but then he pulls out all the stops.

The last 20 minutes of "Drug War" is the show-stopping action set piece of the year. An extended shootout that's brutal, ambitious, and a masterpiece of it's kind. It's a marvel of physical filmmaking that also works as an unexpected plot device, violently flipping our conceived notions of these characters on their ear; clearing the way for a fittingly ironic, ice-cold conclusion.

"Drug War" might just be the best pure crime film of 2013. Technically and narratively stellar, it already seems like a minor classic of the genre.


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