PTU (2003)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2005-06-26
Summary: Very deliberate, quite enthralling
The characters in PTU move v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y through the deserted Hong Kong nightscape as two sets of police officers and two triads converge for a final showdown. They are connected by Sgt. Lo who is a tough, corrupt and not very fastidious anti-crime cop.

Sgt. Mike Ho of the PTU is beautifully underplayed by the indispensable Simon Yam. Ho is a cop to be feared—-he is willing to kick a witness half to death, break enough regulations to have his entire team fired and lie without hesitation to superior officers. Sgt. Kat, played by Maggie Shaw, is his counterbalance on the team. She is a by the book officer or at least as much as she can be in Ho’s amoral universe. Kat turns out to be the best of both worlds, trying to keep Ho in line while at the same time being loyal to him. Ruby Wong plays the stiff, efficient and organized CID officer Leigh Cheng. Cheng wants to solve a murder and also discover how the scurrilous Sgt. Lo is involved in it. She is a tough “Yes, Madam” throughout most of the movie.

There are some beautifully lit and brilliantly composed shots by Cheng Siu-Keung—and the way that Johnnie To and editor Law Wing-Cheong allow the film to linger over some of them shows how languid this film is. The seemingly lethargic pace—characters often get where they are going by walking or driving very leisurely—is effective in building anticipation toward outbreaks of violence. The effective score by Chung Chi Wing matches the mood of the film quite well.

Reviewer Score: 8