Matthew Lickona 11 a.m., June 24
Drug War (Du Zhan)
- Rated R | 1 hour, 45 minutes
Here’s one war that I loved being dragged through. Johnnie To’s latest logical progression of action scenes (and his first mainland production) is this nifty thriller concerning a high profile Chinese meth dealer (Louis Koo) forced to go undercover to avoid facing the firing squad. Captain Zhang (Sun Honglei) is a one man NSA, utilizing every technological device within reach to help smash a powerful dope cartel. Moments of unexpected comic relief — a plate-shuffling waiter continually obscures a camera hidden in a cigarette box — contribute to the film’s high-spirited momentum. Filmed in a manner that is neither forced nor flashy — cinematographer Cheng Siu-keung’s sleek camerawork alone justifies the cost of a ticket — To drums up just the right amount of social criticism to piss off the folks back home. Hands down one of the best times you’ll have at a movie all year. With Yi Huang and Jing Li. 2013.