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PTU File - Death Trap
Chinese: PTU女警之偶然陷阱
Anya ponders her next career move
Year: 2005
Director: Tony Leung Hung-Wah
Producer: Tony Leung Hung-Wah
Writer Tony Leung Hung-Wah, Eric Lung
Action: James Ha Chim-Si
Cast: Kristy Yeung Kung-Yu, Anya, Hanabi Kim, Michael Wong Mun-Tak, Terence Yin, Andrew Lin Hoi, Hui Siu-Hung, Eddie Peng Wai-On, Otto Wong Chi-Hung, James Ha Chim-Si
The Skinny: Triple yawn. PTU File - Death Trap has some minor camp value, but confusing it with quality filmmaking would be a grievous error. No, it has nothing to do with the Johnnie To film!
by Kozo:

If you picked up this film thinking it was a sequel to the Johnnie To film PTU then we feel your pain. PTU File - Death Trap is not only NOT a sequel to the Johnnie To noir film, but it's barely even a film. Former A-lister Kristy Yeung stars as Fong Fong, the only PTU member in the film, and she's more concerned with her personal life than her actual job. Her marriage to husband Ka Ho (Andrew Lin) is on the rocks, and he seems to be much happier spending time with his partner in dentistry Mary. Meanwhile, there's some sort of dirty deal going down between some Euro-badguys and Yu Fei (Terence Yin). However, Yu Fei is being shadowed by an undercover cop (Anya) working for Hong Kong's other actor who plays cops (besides Danny Lee), Michael Wong. Plus there's a rollerblading wannabe rock band (two of which are played by members of HK band EO2), who get involved in a jewel heist to finance their new album. And, there's a roving Japanese cop/babe (Hanabi Kim), who seems to be running around Hong Kong for no other reason than to chase any available criminal. There's probably even more stuff going on in this movie, but I forget.

Director/writer Tony Leung Hung-Wah hails from television, which could explain the incredibly overstuffed plot of PTU Files - Death Trap. However, the plot isn't overstuffed with Byzantine crime thriller clichés or hidden agendas; instead, it's an abundance of personal detail and motivations that make PTU Files - Death Trap simply too much. A lot of the stuff feels like television drama details, i.e. the story of the wannabe gang, and how they're driven to criminal desperation by the need to produce their first album. Plus the convoluted romantic entanglements (both Ka Ho and Fong Fong have possible work paramours) are pure soap stuff. Leung tries to crisscross his characters and situations in semi-intriguing ways, but the details don't seem to do much more than provide a way for certain actors to run into other ones - a dubious benefit because these aren't A-list stars we're talking about. PTU File - Death Trap is populated with actors who've had, or should have had better careers. Given HK Cinema's drop in output, these sorts of B-grade starring vehicles are expected. One just wishes they were better than this.

Ultimately, PTU File - Death Trap is just also-ran stuff that's more useful for its pop culture kitsch than actual cinematic value. The film is barely cinematic anyway, as its undone by wooden staging and the lack of anything resembling cinematic energy. Characters react incredibly slow to situations, the action is limp and uninteresting, and the up-and-down emotions don't seem to register. The rollerblading rock band seems more silly than serious, such that the ultimate detour into life-and-death hostage crisis seems more bizarre than compelling. Furthermore, the acting makes next to no sense. In a strange turn of events, Michael Wong plays mentor to Anya's undercover (the two even get Infernal Affairs-like scenes together), and Wong speaks mostly Cantonese while Anya speaks entirely in English. If director Leung was attempting some sort of minor commentary on Wong's usual shtick (i.e., he speaks English in response to everyone's Cantonese), then that's points for him, but the film doesn't appear to be smarter than its material. It's not dumber than its material either, but that only shows that the material isn't very good. Hopefully Johnnie To won't sue. (Kozo 2005)



DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Kam & Ronson
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese subtitles

image courtesy of Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen