No shades of grey here, but plenty of murk and much bloodshed. The leading emotion on show in ZS is fierceness. Lead character William Luk is fiercely committed to rooting out corruption, wherever it may be and regardless of the cost, even to his family and himself. He can absolutely rely on his team, but on absolutely no-one else. As the investigation proceeds and the pressure mounts, allies weaken, turn against him, meet their deaths, often all three.
Reviewer Score: 8
Luk is Supt Wong's nemesis. Wong is fiercely cunning and resourceful. Despite being taken in for questioning and under a serious cloud, he is allowed to continue in his job, where he takes every opportunity to disrupt Luk and get in his way.
Michael Wong is back, and he's *very* bad. Michael hams it up outrageously as a monstrous and highly effective corrupter. The support cast is peppered with great old character actors.
Large scale financial embezzlement is not generally a promising premise for an action crime-thriller. The story uses a countdown of days as a device to keep up the tension and interest in the unfolding narrative. The countdown is the number of days until the pension fund float happens. Luk and his ICAC team must secure a watertight case against the bad guys before then, or else they will be such a powerful position that they can stall any charges for years and plunder the billions of dollars, which rightfully belongs to the HK people.
But it isn't simply goodies versus baddies glaring at each other. ICAC applies pressure to those involved to turn states evidence, but the resourceful baddies arrange nasty deaths before they can really talk. The body count is quite something, and the 'will ICAC get to them in time' keeps things cooking along at a considerable and even frantic clip.
The story paints a highly believable nuts and bolts picture of just how large scale corruption works. It is compulsive viewing, even though it is powerfully and proudly government propaganda.
If you are purely after an action thriller, you may find things take awhile to warm up, but pay attention to the details of the plot and you'll find ZS a highly watchable thrill ride.