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Task Force
|     review    |     awards     |     availability     |
Charlie Young and Leo Koo
Year: 1997
Director: Patrick Leung Pak-Kin
Writer: Chan Hing-Kai
Action: Chin Kar-Lok
Cast: Leo Koo Kui-Kei, Charlie Young Choi-Nei, Karen Mok Man-Wai, Eric Tsang Chi-Wai, Edmond So Chi-Wai, Alan Moo, Waise Lee Chi-Hung, Chin Kar-Lok, Stephen Tung Wai, John Lone, John Woo, Clifton Ko Chi-Sum, Fung Wai-Hung, Lawrence Lau Kwok-Cheung, Sammy
The Skinny: A truly Hong Kong creation, Task Force pays tribute to Hong Kong Cinema's rich genre history while leaving its own indelible mark.
by Kozo:
     Easily one of 1997’s most original films. Director Patrick Leung’s latest is a nearly plotless police drama that swings from the dramatic to quirky in a moment’s time, and never ceases to be less than interesting. 
     Leo Koo is Rod Lam, a young cop whose life takes a strange turn when he finds himself involved with wacky prostitute Fanny (Charlie Young). Rod struggles to be a good cop while contending with the shadow of his father (a former cop) and the presence of his colleagues. Partner Lulu (Eric Tsang) is a womanizing sergeant who must deal with his ex-wife’s remarriage. Officer Shirley (Karen Mok) has an insensitive boyfriend as well as a father who’s dangerously ill. And then there's Fanny, who has a fixation on a hitman she once encountered.
     All these random plot threads don't seem like much, but the filmmakers handle things superbly. Chan Hing-Kai’s script is extremely creative and Patrick Leung’s direction is sharp. Occasionally he’ll borrow a moment from a film like Face/Off, but Leung is clearly aiming for homage as each of his action sequences references a particular Hong Kong genre (i.e., heroic bloodshed or swordplay). And John Woo actually appears in the film (in a brief cameo as a cop), so it's apparent Leung had his blessing.
     This film is similar to all the other “cop soap opera” flicks (i.e. Option Zero or The Final Option), but it transcends those films thanks to a splendid sense of human poetry. Leo Koo is excellent as Rod and Eric Tsang and Karen Mok turn in effective supporting roles. Charlie Young is the revelation here. Though she’s still too squeaky-clean to play a hooker, she manages to be charming and compelling in this role. An excellent film, but more to the point: an excellent Hong Kong film.
(Kozo 1997)
Awards: 4th Annual Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards
• Winner - Best Screenplay (
Chan Hing-Kai)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Universe Laser & Video Co., Ltd. Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen