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t (2001)
Dark War

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/18/2003

Dark War is an effective Triad action/drama that manages to deliver some thrills despite it's low budget, spotty script and lack of A-list talent. The movie stars Peter Ho as a Triad hitman who is sent to prison in the Phillipines after a botched job. During his stint in the joint, his brother rises to the top of the ranks, while Peter is put on death row. During Peter's transport to another prison, a crazed policeman tries to blow up the van he is being taken in. The attempted hit fails, and Peter escapes with the help of Yasuaki Kurata, who plays a kindly former gangster. Things seem to be going normally for a while, until the psycho cop once again finds Peter.

Probably Dark War's main problem is its' script. It employs an annoying structure that is too heavily dependent on flashbacks and leaves the viewer confused in parts. A lot of the characters (most notably Peter's brother and the killer cop) are under-written, and their place in the story seems vague. Lastly, a good deal of the dialogue is hammy and heavy-handed; this takes away from some of the story's momentum as characters stop to deliver empty speeches.

However, the film redeems itself with a nice sense of style -- it doesn't look as flat as many productions shot in the Phillipines, nor does it over do it with MTV-wannabe editing and effects. Also, there is a good deal of action here, some of it quite bloody. You're not going to confuse this with Hard Boiled by any stretch of the imagination, but Dark War does offer some solid squib-popping gunfights, as well as a bit of fisticuffs. Those viewers wanting to see what Sammo Hung's son, Timmy, can do in the action department will probably be disappointed though, as all he really does in here is get the crap kicked out of him.

At any rate, with the well-constructed action being bolstered by some strong acting from the leads (even Pinky Cheung, normally used in "jade vase" roles, does a good job) Dark War turns out to be a solid, if unspectacular, Triad picture. It might not be as good as some of the stuff produced during the genre's heyday, but it is better than a lot of the Young and Dangerous ripoffs that Hong Kong has been cranking out lately. If you're into the genre, this movie is definitely worth a look.

Reviewed by: AV1979
Date: 05/17/2001
Summary: Decent Little Actioner

The only reason why I thought Dark War was good was because of the wonderful performance of Peter Ho as an ex-Triad member jailed for a crime in the Philippines. When he gets out, he seeks refuge from Yasuaki Kurata, who hires him as a hitman. Meanwhile, Ho's brother, now the crime boss, sends a psychotic man dressed as a police officer who find Ho. Peter Ho displays a dark side with some wonderful acting in his role of Triad member Ken. Timmy Hung (Sammo's son) is sadly a punching bag in the film, yet he does do some fighting (very minimal) and stunts as well. Kurata-san, still in his prime, fights in the beginning of the film with some intensity. I liked Dark War.