films seen
average score
Hong Kong - 59 years old
Alive and kicking
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One of the prominent figures of Hong Kong crime cinema, though often overlooked by the international press. Mak doesn't have the clearest personal signature, but if you're looking for solid crime filler his oeuvre has plenty of modest gems.


Extraordinary Mission

Fei Fan Ren Wu
2017 / 117m - China
Action, Crime
Extraordinary Mission poster

Overheard 3

Sit Ting Fung Wan 3
2014 / 131m - Hong Kong
Thriller, Crime
Overheard 3 poster

A very solid sequel that offers a nice blend of financial thriller elements, surveillance police antics and some kick-ass action scenes. Add a bunch of famous Hong Kong actors and a lofty budget and you have a film that may not be all that original, but delivers on its premise. Prime big-budget entertainment done well.

The Silent War

Ting Feng Zhe
2012 / 120m - Hong Kong
Thriller, Crime
The Silent War poster

Overheard 2

Sit Yan Fung Wan 2
2011 / 121m - Hong Kong
Action, Thriller
Overheard 2 poster

The Lost Bladesman

Guan Yun Chang
2011 / 109m - China
The Lost Bladesman poster


Sit Ting Fung Wan
2009 / 100m - Hong Kong
Thriller, Crime
Overheard poster

Initial D

Tau Man Ji D
2005 / 107m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Romance, Action
Initial D poster

One of those somewhat uncanny attempts where Hong Kong tries to adapt Japanese anime. It rarely works very well, but Initial D is one of the better efforts. In the hands of Andrew Lau, one of Hong Kong's prime genre/blockbuster mixers, it delivers impressive car chases and decent production values. I admit I never watched the anime this is based on, but I don't think fans should worry too much going into this film.

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Fujiwara used to be a tofu deliverer for his father. To meet the delivery deadlines, he became quite the driver. Fujiwara develops an affinity for the racing sport, and after winning his first race, he feels determined to make it his ultimate life goal. He directs his focus on drift racing, but becoming the best will require more than just technical skill.

It's a bit odd characters kept their Japanese names, but the solid cast is sure to make you forget about that quickly. Jay Chou, Anne Suzuki, and Jordan Chan are perfectly cast. The races are lovingly shot and edited, the drama is a little light but it doesn't annoy and the pacing is on point. Quite a bit better than I expected going in, Lau did well.

Infernal Affairs II

Mou Gaan Dou II
2003 / 119m - Hong Kong
Thriller, Crime
Infernal Affairs II poster

A series that gets better with each film. This second part is a prequel to the first film and is best enjoyed after watching the first part, though it is also possible to see it as a stand-alone film. Everything is just a little bit more refined here, a bit more precise, and a bit better balanced. I never quite got the hype for this series, but if you're looking for a good crime flick, you won't be disappointed.

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The plot is a simple twist on the first film. A young police offer infiltrates as a mole in a dangerous Triad gang. The Triad gang is playing a similar game and sends one of their guys to infiltrate the police force. Fate has it that both will need to work together when they are facing a common enemy, a second Triad gang that is marking its territory.

Andy Lau and Tony Leung are gone, but Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang are just as good (if not a tiny bit better still). The editing is a little slicker, the music a bit more fitting, and the plot just a tad edgier. The finale has a few too many reveals, which drives up the runtime, but other than that this was a perfectly fine crime thriller. Hong Kong and Lau know how to hone their skills.

Infernal Affairs III: End Inferno

Mou Gaan Dou III: Jung Gik Mou Gaan
2003 / 118m - Hong Kong
Thriller, Crime
Infernal Affairs III: End Inferno poster

The third and final part in the infamous Hong Kong Triad/spy trilogy. I liked this one the best, and upon watching it again I still think it's the best of the three. It's just not quite as slick and cunning as I remembered it to be. It's a rare example of a third film beating out its predecessors though.

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The story is both a sequel and prequel to the first film. Part of the film sees how Ming picks up his job again, suspecting another promising superintendent to be a mole for the Triads, while the other half harks back to the past, following Yan on his first undercover mission.

Leung and Lau are both splendid, the film ties together some remaining strands in interesting ways and the switch between both timelines is interesting. The presentation is a tad basic though, with too strong of a focus on the narrative. A fun film and a worthy finale, but not impressive enough to be a personal favorite.

A War Named Desire

Oi Yue Shing
2000 / 89m - Hong Kong
Romance, Action, Thriller
A War Named Desire poster


Lian Zheng Feng Yun
2019 / 114m - Hong Kong
Mystery, Crime
Integrity poster

A pretty decent but slightly dusty crime investigation flick that hinges on a more than solid cast. Ching Wan Lau, Nick Cheung and Karena Lam do a great job. The plot is amusing enough, there are a few proper twists and even though the ending could've been a tad slicker the film doesn't outstay its welcome. Integrity is nothing grand, just good, solid filler.

Confession of Pain

Seung Sing
2006 / 110m - Hong Kong
Drama, Thriller, Crime
Confession of Pain poster

Lau's attempt to recreate the success of Infernal Affairs is a bit too obvious. On paper, there isn't too much wrong with this film, but for all the money and talent that went into it, Confession of Pain struggles to stand out from the crowd. My expectations were a tad higher going in, though I will say that I never got bored while watching.

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Hei is a police detective who is investigating the murder of his father-in-law. Even though he does a very thorough job, every angle or detail he checks out leads to another dead end. Hei is faced with a perfect crime, and so he calls in the help of Bong, a private detective. Bong is dealing with mental issues, but he is known for digging into a case like no other.

The performances are solid (but what did you expect, with Leung and Kaneshiro as leads), the presentation is slick and the film hits all the genre notes. The twists are a bit basic though and Lau puts a strong focus on the story, which draws out the runtime. Confession of Pain is a more than adequate blockbuster, it's just that the potential was there to do more with it.

Commissioned anthology that was made to lift the spirit of Hong Kong during the SARS epidemic. The who's who of Hong Kong cinema participated, but the result is a little uneven. Not too surprising considering the exterior motives behind this anthology, and there are a couple of worthwhile entries, but overall it's probably best to lower your expectations when watching this.

Infernal Affairs

Mou Gaan Dou
2002 / 101m - Hong Kong
Thriller, Crime
Infernal Affairs poster

Infernal Affairs is one of the most internationally recognized Hong Kong films, but the first time I watched it I was mightily disappointed. My head was too wrapped up in (very stylized) Japanese cinema back then, and this was one of the first Hong Kong films I watched purposefully. It was just too close to the type of Hollywood cinema I hated. Revisiting the film in the wake of The Departed did some good, but this will never be a personal favorite of mine.

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Yan is an undercover cop who worked himself up in a big Triad organization. After ten years, he finally made it to where he wanted to be. Ming is a Triad mole who joined the cops when he was 18. With the help of his bosses, he was quickly promoted to a meaningful position. When Ming is ordered to arrest his Triad boss, the two moles will have to get very tactical if they don't want to blow their cover.

Leung and Lau are good but Wong and Tsang are better. The plot is fine, but not all that special, the cinematography (and certainly the editing) felt a little hasty. Infernal Affairs is a perfectly serviceable blockbuster filler, though I actually liked the sequels better. At least it wasn't bested by Scorsese's remake, but that's hardly praise coming from me.

Moonlight in Tokyo

Ching Yi Ngor Sum Gi
2005 / 95m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Drama
Moonlight in Tokyo poster

Final Romance

Yuen Mong Shu
2001 / 97m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Drama, Romance
Final Romance poster

Nude Fear

Zhui Xiong 20 Nian
1998 / 88m - Hong Kong
Nude Fear poster

Very early Alan Mak film. I never realized he started off doing Cat III work, though I'm not all that surprised either. It's a pretty common route for directors of his time. Like most of these films, the quality really isn't there yet, though splashes of Mak's talent can be seen. At least it's short and quite gruesome, but nothing more.

Lady Cop & Papa Crook

Daai Sau Cha Ji Neui
2008 / 92m - Hong Kong
Comedy, Thriller, Crime
Lady Cop & Papa Crook poster

Rave Fever

Zhou Mo Kuang Re
1999 / 90m - Hong Kong
Mystery, Thriller
Rave Fever poster

Alan Mak dives into the rave scene to make a little mystery/thriller, but it's way too obvious that he has no feeling with the scene at all. The parties look ridiculous, the music is an insult. The plot itself isn't all that great either, with some predictable twists and the same scenes retold from different perspectives. Not his best film.