review by Carrie
Gorringe, 20 June 2003
Seattle International Film Festival
To's latest work, PTU (Police Tactical Unit), is a Hong Kong
crime thriller that starts out strongly but ends up running out of
gas by the midway point. When
a gang leader is murdered under mysterious circumstances, it falls
to Sargeant Lo to investigate.
However, in the pursuit of a suspect, Lo loses his service
revolver, and this slipup could cost him a pending promotion.
He sets out on a double mission:
to find the killer and his gun.
One intriguing lead occurs at the crime scene:
there, he locates the victim's cell phone, still functioning,
with an unknown caller trying desperately to leave the victim a
message. All of this is
compounded by the obvious contempt that other investigative branches
of the police force have for Lo;
corruptible and clumsy, he's the local equivalent of the
Keystone Kops, but he does have enough friends on the force to help
him get by. The problem
with PTU lies in its overdependence upon the situational
humor engendered by Lo's attitude toward himself and the
buffoonery is supposed to act as a clever foil – and cover – for
his obvious skill as an investigator.
The problem is that its charming nature has a very limited
range; watching Lo
stumble through various leads soon becomes irritating.
The irritation is compounded by a plot line that meanders
aimlessly, weighted down by Lo's obsession with saving himself.
Even the payoff – in the form of a truly bloody shootout
between rival gangs that lasts over fifteen minutes – is more of
an anticlimax. This is no way to treat a crime thriller.
Seattle International Film Festival:
Frank Michael Liu
Kin Yee Au
NR - Not Rated.
This film has not