If you are looking for a nice gentle
movie to help waste away a couple of hours I do not recommend watching
Dog Bites Dog. This latest release from Dragon Dynasty is one savage
beast, one that studies the darker side of humanity and is so thoroughly
downbeat it is almost unbelievable. That being said it is a finely crafted
movie that will stay in your mind well after it has drawn to a close.
Pang (Edison Chen) is a Cambodian assassin
for hire who, having been brought up knowing only violence is sent to
Hong Kong on assignment; the assignment being the brutal murder of a
lawyer. This chilling scene paves the way for the next couple of hours
or so in which Detective Ti Wai (Sam Lee) goes to any length and means
to bring the killer to justice.
What starts out as a seemingly black
and white cat and mouse police thriller soon plays with our perceptions
of what is right and wrong. The cold hearted killer does, it would seem,
have a heart, forging as he does a quite bizarre relationship with a
girl he meets in a garbage tip. Whereas Detective Wai does whatever
it takes to find his man, using more often than not very dubious tactics,
some of which really took me by surprise in their ferocity.
Dog Bites Dog is not a movie that glamorizes
or stylizes its violence and brutality; itís dirty, dark and depressing.
Instead it beats the viewing around the head as it careers towards its
inevitably shocking ending.
To tell the truth this movie surprised
me a lot. I was half expecting your average run of the mill Asian cop
thriller, in fact nothing led me to believe differently. What I got
though was a pleasant, for want of an infinitely more fitting word,
change of pace and tone. The whole movie being shot in washed out colors
which further added to the somber atmosphere. This all being complimented
by some fine acting, especially the two leads who top off a cast of
fairly unlikable characters, and some brutal yet restrained direction
from Pou-Soi Cheang.
Dog Bites Dog is a harsh film although
it is certainly not without its darkly humorous moments, in particular
the choice of song for the final song which could not be more out of
place, yet so fitting.
Before I wrap things up Iíll quickly
mention the extras on this release, which are spread over 2 discs. Thereís
an Audio commentary from Edison Chen and another fella Iíve never
heard of on disc 1. Then on disc 2 there are a selection of interviews
with the director and cast as well as a behind the scenes feature. You
also get a fair selection of trailers as you might expect.
Overall this is a surprising yet refreshing
release. At times the movie does drag a little, but the punch the movie
delivers more than makes up for this shortcoming. Definitely recommended
to fans of Asian cinema and gritty thrillers, and those that just appreciate
a damned fine movie.
Rating- *** 1/2