The Corruptor

The Corruptor


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Practically all the clich├ęs of the cop movie are here, which is not to say it's worthless, just second-hand. If French Connection set the trend, it certainly didn't stop there. The ingredients are as before: goodies and baddies in bed together, drugs, gangs, violence, easy women, harder men.

The location is Chinatown, New York. Two rival gangs snipe at each other. Power struggles involve assassins with bleached hair. Killing is more of a turn on than sex. The NYPD have a hit squad on site, except they're not hitting, because their main man (Chow Yun-Fat) has his finger in the cookie jar.

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A young, inexperienced white cop (Mark Wahlberg) is assigned to the unit. It seems odd and a real pain for Yun-Fat, because this greenhorn has to be taught how to survive. It turns out he has a hidden agenda, as well as a dysfunctional father (the ever excellent Brian Cox), who gives him a tough time.

It is fashionable these days to be deliberately confusing, adds a frisson of reality: life, after all, is a cock-up. The director, James Foley, imitates handheld street camerawork, so popular in the Seventies and a style beloved by NYPD Blue. The result is unnaturally fast.

Yun-Fat has a massive following in Hong Kong. Quite rightly. He is excellent. Always. What drags the movie down is Wahlberg's performance. In an attempt to appear strong-and-silent, he becomes a tree.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Top cop tries to stop drug-trafficking, only to find his problems worsen when a rookie joins his squad.
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Director: James Foley

Writer: Robert Pucci

Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Mark Wahlberg, Ric Young, Paul Ben-Victor, Jonkit Lee, Andrew Pang, Elizabeth Lindsey, Brian Cox, Byron Mann, Kim Chan, Bill MacDonald

Year: 1999

Runtime: 110 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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