Organized Crime & Triad Bureau
In another example of how small video manufacturers are taking greater advantage of the DVD format than larger ones, Tai Seng, the primary American source for the fascinating world of Hong Kong cinema, has jumped on the DVD bandwagon. Among the company's earliest releases is Organized Crime & Triad Bureau, a 1994 police drama from New Wave director Kirk Wong (Crime Story, Rock 'n' Roll Cop, and the recent Mark Wahlberg action comedy The Big Hit). The film stars Danny Lee (The Killer) as a relentless cop, nicknamed "Rambo," in pursuit of equally relentless gangster Anthony Wong. Lee leads a group of unconventional, unethical agents who are not above resorting to elaborate methods of torture in their pursuit of justice. Wong does a nice job establishing a morally ambiguous tone by making Wong as likable (or unlikable) as his pursuer, especially in the tender way he portrays Wong's relationship with girlfriend Cecilia Yip. It's stylishly shot, especially the action scenes, an early one of which features a gunfight conducted by people sliding down a muddy hill. By Hong Kong standards, it's only above average (which is still pretty damn entertaining), but it illustrates as well as any film the potential of the DVD format. In addition to being presented in widescreen with English subtitles, the disc gives viewers the choice of watching the film in the original Cantonese, Mandarin, or English, which was previously possible only by releasing multiple tapes of the same film. Further features include filmographies, trailers, and a commentary by Wong that offers considerable insight both into the filmmaking process and the movie's sources. By Wong's account, he received inspiration for the brutal police methods from the first-hand accounts of police friends. And while knowing that the jewelry store used in the film also served as the site for the robbery that inspired the scene may not make Organized Crime & Triad Bureau a better movie, it's still good to know.