Beast Cops (1998)
Reviewed by: mrblue on 2003-09-18
Tung (A. Wong), a slightly dirty cop, has managed to keep a truce between the local gangs through his friendship with the local Big Brother (Cheung). However, when Big Brother must flee to the mainland after a botched hit, a young Triad named Push-pin decides to step in. Things go from bad to worse when Push-pin finds out Tung's new boss, Mike (M. Wong), is sleeping with Big Brother's ex-girlfriend. Tung must decide which side of the fence he is on and who to support.

Despite the title, Beast Cops is not the over-the-top action extravaganza you might expect. Rather, it is a GoodFellas-style look into the lives of the cops and Triads. The film has an almost documentary-like feeling in parts, such as when characters speak directly into the camera or through the use of steadicams. Like GoodFellas, Beast Cops also has a healthy dose of violence, often popping up when you least expect it.

All of the leads are good -- even Michael Wong, one of the worst actors I have ever seen on either side of the ocean, who can simultaneously butcher lines in both English and Cantonese is suprisingly decent. However, the real standout is Anthony Wong. A little paunchier than in previous films and with a scraggly goatee and perpetual rings under his eyes, it's very easy to see him as the world-weary Tung. And his over-the-top psycho performance at the end is just simply great. It's worth seeing this movie just to see the young Triads run like schoolgirls from the crazed, seemingly invincible Tung.

I only have a couple of nitpicks with Beast Cops. While the soundtrack is very good for the most part, the Pulp Fiction-ish surf music at the end really takes away from the ultra-violent turn in the action. Also, the last scene is far too cheery and seems to have been tacked on to please the audience. Overall, though, Beast Cops is one of the best crime movies I have seen in years. The ending leaves room for a sequel, which I would happily welcome.

As a side note, I was quite happy when I heard Beast Cops took home a few Hong Kong Film Awards, including best picture, best actor, best supporting actor, best director and best screenplay.