until the crackdown on the Umbrella Protest Movement, the Hong Kong police had
remained popular even when the government was not. Despite what we see in Johnnie
To and John Woo movies, the police had always kept the city safe, while
maintaining a reputation for integrity. That all might come to an explosive
halt in Longman Leung & Sunny Luk’s Cold
which screens as part of the tribute to Star Asia Award winner Aaron Kwok at
the 2015 New York Asian Film Festival.
bad guys will be busy while the PR-sensitive police commissioner is attending a
conference in Copenhagen. Soon after a bomb explodes in a Mongkok cinema, an
emergency response police van is hijacked, along with the five cops assigned to
it. “M.B.” Lee Man-bin, the grizzled deputy commish for operations swings into
action, putting the force on a war footing and pulling manpower off everyday
duties. Unfortunately, all he recovers during the first twenty-four hours are
five mannequins wired with explosives.
Deputy Commissioner for Administration Lau Kit-fai believes his colleague has
over-reacted, perhaps because his son is one of the hostages. When Lee
overplays his hand, Lau will move to replace him as acting commissioner. Of
course, he might just regret taking ownership of the cluster-dustup codenamed “Cold
War,” especially when Internal Affairs starts investigating the aftermath.
Cold War is a fine vehicle
for Kwok, showcasing his steely, well-tailored lawman’s chops, much like the
relentlessly by-the-book prosecutor in Silent Witness, selected for last year’s NYAFF. Yet not surprisingly, “Big” Tony
Leung Ka-fai out hardnoses everyone as the from-the-hip Lee. He and Kwok generate sparks
together, like a seat belt dragging down the highway. In fact, the best part of
Cold War is the way their
relationship evolves from rival into something different.
Cold War also boasts an
all-star supporting ensemble, but it does not always fully capitalize, such as
when Andy Lau briefly parachutes in, flashing his winning smile as Lau Kit-fai’s
political patron. As the public information officer, Charlie Young holds her
own with Leung in a key early scene, but she is mostly on exposition duty aside
from that. However, Eddie Peng shows hitherto unseen grit as the kidnapped Joe
Leung and Luk try too hard to manufacture twists, but the way they merge office
politics and urban warfare is definitely entertaining. Just watching Leung and
Kwok go at it is seriously good fun. Recommended for fans large scale cop
thrillers, Cold War screens this
Saturday (6/27) at the Walter Reade, as part of this year’s NYAFF.
Labels: Aaron Kwok, Charlie Young, Hong Kong Cinema, NYAFF '15, Tony Leung Ka Fai