The good stuff
Great production values, some slick action scenes and a nice cast turn this film into an enjoyable little blockbuster, which can be refreshing in itself from time to time.
Low on kung fu and monsters. Lau's latest is a historic fantasy epic with strong comedy beats. The kung fu is inevitable but low-key, it's mostly big budget fantasy combined with a cuddly but deadly monster. Expensive blockbuster entertainment, not high quality cinema. It's perfectly acceptable filler though, just don't expect too much from 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.
Worthy but flawed
Straightforward sequel to Gordon Chan's Final Option. Lau delivers a decent but unremarkable Hong Kong police thriller that should feel very familiar to fans of the genre. The action is solid, the drama not so much, the overall finish mediocre. This is decent filler, but only for those who've already seen the myriad of better options.
Jing Wong introducing Andrew Lau. Say about Wong what you will, he helped a lot of important people in Hong Kong make inroads into the movie industry. Wong rarely did it with good films, then again it is quite normal in Hong Kong to learn the trade director some simple genre work.
That's pretty much what you're getting here. A very plain story about an undercover cop who starts to doubt his loyalty to his job. It's all pretty cliché, Jacky Cheung isn't really the man for the job either, but it goes through all the motions and it's clear that Lau took a few pointers from this film.
There are a few decent action scenes and some moody moments, I'm pretty sure core genre fans probably won't be disappointed by this film either, it's just that Hong Kong/Andrew Lau made way better action thrillers. To Live and Die in Tsimshatsui is decent but generic genre work, nothing more, nothing less.
A very classic, bombastic and overly sentimental thriller about a captain steering his airplane to safety. There are a few scenes that are effective in raising the tension, but they are few and far between. The rest is way too overdone and cheesy to make any kind of positive impression. A very disappointing Lau film, he can do so much better.
Poor Lau. He used to be one of the leading figures in Hong Kong's sprawling blockbuster scene, nowadays, he's putting out unseemly and schmaltzy propaganda that's rivaling even the worst of Hollywood cinema. Chinese Doctors is barely a film, instead you get a ridiculously colored retelling of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan.
Unless you've been living in a cave for the past two years, you're probably already familiar with the plot, even when this film isn't very interested in giving a proper, historically correct recount of the events. Early 2020 the corona virus suddenly hits Wuhan, a state of emergency is declared, and the hospitals do their very best to get a grip on the pandemic.
There's hardly a coherent plot, characters merely exist to symbolize the Chinese spirit, the way China handled the beginning of the pandemic is described as some kind of incredible success story and there's not a single ounce of critique or self-reflection. A film like this is really in bad taste, I generally don't care too much about a little extra heroism in films, but this was just utterly insane and completely tone-deaf.