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Andrew Leyden | Chesapeake Beach, MD United States | 05/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is not an action flick, this is a film. A piece of cinema. There are some stylized scenes in this movie that stick in my head. A film noir in the glaring lights of Tsim Tsa Tsui. I really enjoyed the 'caper' quality of the film (i.e. everyone all connected to everyone else) but found the film just really interesting to look at, even with whatever quality film they were using."
Police Tactical Unit
Hizon | Makati Philippines | 11/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Johnnie To's police drama/dark comedy about a night with Hong Kong's PTU is a taut, efficient piece of cinema.
The movie follows the events that transpired when a roguish anti-organized crime police officer loses his gun after a confrontation with some young gang members. A roving team of PTU chances upon him. Since he is up for promotion, he asks the PTU not to report the loss of the gun. Despite objections from other officers, the squad leader (Simon Yam) promises to help him find it. These set a chain of events that will lead to major repercussions in the Hong Kong underworld.
The joy of watching PTU is in the intense, dead-pan performance and the chuckles brought by the darkly-humorous situations, even if the movie's plot and resolution is highly reminiscent of Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels with some elements of InterMission (although this came before the Irish movie).
A film about honor, duty, and commitment, PTU is well worth a watch, if not a purchase. It is not a "loud" movie, as compared to stereotypical HK police films. One of the best I've seen in the genre, the somewhat predictable ending notwithstanding.
What prevents me from giving this a perfect score is the VERY cheesy 80s era guitar/synth score. To think this film was made in 2003, Johnnie To could've used a less-grating/irritating musical score that would've accentuate the mood of the film. Normally, I wouldn't mind but the soundtrack was so intrusive and yes, I will say again, very cheesy, you cannot help but not notice it.
Although, not in the level of the first Infernal Affairs, PTU is still a solid addition to one's Asian movie collection."
(3.5 STARS) A Missing Gun: Stylish Noir from Hong Kong New W
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 01/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"`PTU' stands for Police Tactical Unit, which really exists as one special force in Hong Kong police. `PTU' follows a series of events triggered by one killing of young gangster in the middle of the night. The murder is followed by one police officer's blunder - he loses his gun - and the special police forces led by dead serious inspector Ho (Simon Yam, `Tomb Raider 2') searches the lost gun, using whatever method they can use. Ho knows that his decision could compromise the team's position, and that he has to find the missing gun by the morning. And there is another police force CID (Criminal Investigation Department) that is suspicious of Ho's moves.
Johnny To spent two years to complete the film and you can see he made great efforts to get the stylish shots. The lighting (and the spotlighting) in each frame of shots is beautifully done, and considering the fact that almost all the scenes were shot at night, the results are simply wonderful. Moreover, Johnny To provides dark humor in the most unexpected way, See how the disgraced cop loses his gun, for example. Some viewers might find it impossible and ridiculous. But if you are a Johnny To fan, you know he means it.
However, the film's story is not strong enough to sustain its 90 minutes. It starts brilliantly, and develops to some extent, but is finally reduced to a familiar theme of morality among the police. The theme itself is interesting, but the film dwells too much on it, and as a result the actions that interest us at the beginning of the film get slower as the film unfolds. Though the final chapter has a big shoot-out, the film's wrap-up is weak and slightly confusing.
`PTU' would never disappoint the fans of prolific Hong Kong director Johnny To with ultra-stylish photography and detailed descriptions of characters. But even the fans would not ignore the obvious weakness of the second half, which should be faster and simpler. Still, among many entries in his filmography, `PTU' is above average, if not as good as `The Mission' his best for me."
The Dark Streets Of Hong Kong
Ernest Jagger | Culver City, California | 08/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Directed by Johnny To, "PTU" is an excellent police drama. The films narrative explores the HK police going about their job during the night on Hong Kong's dark streets. This will not be a usual night for this police unit. Moreover, several events will begin to take place, which will move the films narrative toward different, yet converging directions. The film opens up innocently enough. A detective by the name of officer Lo, (Lam Suet) enters an eating establishment for some food. [I thought Lam Suet gave a very good performance in the film] Incompetent and bumbling, Officer Lo will find that this night will be unlike any he has ever had before, or will ever want to go through again. After leaving the restaurant, he is attacked by a group of thugs. But for what reason? Why do they want to draw him away from the area? There is mischief in the air tonight. Arriving on the scene will be a mob bosses son: And he will be the first casualty on this dark Hong Kong night.
Moreover, in the effort to draw officer Lo away from the scene, the police detective finds himself beaten up, and worse--his handgun is missing. Near retirement, this will mean the end of his career and pension. In order to help him find his handgun, officer Lo enlists the help of his friend, Sergeant Mike Ho (Simon Yam). Sergeant Ho is a veteran of the streets, and is in charge of his PTU [Police Tactical Unit]. Sergeant Ho knows that it is his duty to report the missing gun, but he decides to help his friend and fellow colleague. All the while, the murdered son of the mob boss has caught the attention of another police unit, CID [Criminal Investigations Division]. This is not going to be a quiet night for anybody.
I really liked the way that director Johnny To showed the night streets of Hong Kong. The great use of light illuminated in some areas, and darkened in other gives one the feel that they are really following this Police Unit while on patrol. As the police force journeys through the dark and dimly lit streets of their patrol beat, officer Lo begins his own quest in trying to locate the thugs who beat him up and took his handgun. Or did they? Moreover, what is officer Lo's connection to the slain mans father? A man who is a noted criminal. And more importantly for Officer Lo: Will he ever find his handgun? I liked how the film depicted the night scenes of the Hong Kong streets. Although I thought there would be shades of "Stray Dog" in this film, there were not. This is a very, very good film. Highly recommended."
This movie beats anything from hollywood
JustAForeignReader | Major Earthquake Faultline | 05/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"compare to this coolest noir out of hongkong, 'running scare' from hollywood, 'the missing gun' from china and all those from elsewhere, are nothing but peanuts lamer. this ptu is one of the best scripted cop stories i've ever watched. very very dark, cool and, of course, extremely noir. there're strong sense of humor in it too. the tension built up so smartly. the plot was also so wick and tricky. the running around, the desperation to find the missing gun, the vicious killings, the cover-ups, the brotherhood of the copland, all legally or illegally transcribed: who's absolutely innocent and not guilty? this is even better than 'the departed' or the 'infernal affairs'. it'll be on my top shelf as one of the best movies."