Hong Kong’s Cold War <寒戰> started a media frenzy when the film’s producers and actors touted the film to be the best Hong Kong police thriller in ten years.
Many were unsure if the film would outperform 2002’s Infernal Affairs <無間道>, while others were more than eager to finally see another high-quality Hong Kong-made cop film. And judging from the film’s box office performance, it seems that Cold War may reach the success level that Infernal Affairs had set.
Cold War was released in Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China to full houses on November 8. Five days later, Cold War grossed over $100 million at the box office.
The film was critically acclaimed. Some critics agreed that Cold War has made Hong Kong’s film industry finally achieve another high level, while other critics simply gave the film two thumbs up and a big recommendation stamp.
Cold War stars Aaron Kwok (郭富城) and Tony Leung Ka-Fai (梁家輝) as two senior police officers who are competing in an internal political power struggle. According to Tony, Cold War is a movie “made by Hong Kong people for the Hong Kong people,” and that this local “Hong Kong flavor” has not been seen since Infernal Affairs.
“Hong Kong is known for its police thrillers. We produce the most amount of police thrillers in the world,” said famous Hong Kong scriptwriter, Khan Chan (陳汗). “But the quality of our films dropped in recent years. They are dumb and predictable. Many viewers are able to predict the ending when they are just halfway into watching the film. The climax would always be these adrenaline-rushing shooting scenes. It is very Hollywood.”
Khan Chan continued, “The trend slightly changed with the introduction of undercover cops in films such as Infernal Affairs. These films explored the psychological turmoil of the characters. Instead of selling on slick action and camaraderie, the writers focused on psychological thrills and human emotions. While these films brought a new light to Hong Kong cinema, they started a trend that quickly became a predictable formula for many newer Hong Kong crime films.”
Khan Chan highly praised the film Cold War, stating, “Cold War is a success because it is different. The film talks about the political struggles between the high power figures within the police force. It has elements of danger and suspense. Every small detail, every dialogue exchange, and every glance of the characters become important clues. Not only is the film a test on the scriptwriter’s intelligence, it also challenges the viewer’s wisdom and knowledge. This film has opened up a whole new layout for Hong Kong cop films.”
On the success of Cold War, the film’s promotional producer, Cheung Kit, said, “Hong Kong has many gangster films, and in these films, there is always a good side. In a similar fashion, Hong Kong cop films should also always have a bad side. Hong Kong is a very small place. There are many chances for contradictory conflicts to rise. This is a theme explored in Cold War, and it may be a reason why it is an interesting film for so many people.”
Cold War also opened in New Zealand, Australia, and Malaysia on November 8. The film was released in Singapore on November 15 and Taiwan on November 16.
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.
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