The Corruptor

Film, Thrillers

Time Out says

'The end is bullshit. The means is what you live with.' Thus alcoholic ex-cop Cox to son Wahlberg, engaged in undercover double games in New York's Chinatown. You might think the means is bullshit, too, if the NYPD is setting Irish cops to infiltrate the Triads. 'You're worse than white, you're green,' sneers the head of the Asian Gang Unit, Chow Yun-Fat. Yet the newcomer's enthusiasm wins him over - that and his readiness to get his hands dirty if it gets the job done. This is a satisfying, serious reprise of traditional cop-thriller quandaries about ambivalent father figures, integrity and betrayal, public and private moralities. Director Foley frames it in the restless surveillance style of '70s films like The French Connection and Serpico. On the other hand, the movie is also designed as a star vehicle for Hong Kong action hero Chow, which means that the prevailing naturalism is chained to HK-style eruptions of spectacular gunplay and a death toll in keeping with '90s bloodlust. Affecting a cynicism that's even-handed if hardly progressive, it finds its most compelling culture clash in the John Woo-like play-off between Chow's delicious, extravagant scene-stealing and Wahlberg's fretful, internalised approach. They build up an affection that's only a whisker short of homoerotic.

By: TCh


Release details

110 mins

Cast and crew

James Foley
Robert Pucci
Chow Yun-Fat
Mark Wahlberg
Ric Young
Paul Ben-Victor
Andrew Pang
Byron Mann
Elizabeth Lindsey
Brian Cox
Kim Chan
Jon Kit Lee
Tovah Feldshuh
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