Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Film Review: Cold War (2012)

Cold War (Review)
China/2012
Format Viewed For Review: DVD (Lionsgate)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...as rewarding as it may be in the end, it can be equally punishing throughout."

In Hong Kong, the safest city in Asia, a bomb goes off and five highly trained police officers and their high-tech equipment disappear without a trace within the same hour, leaving the Hong Kong Police force shaken...

Cold War continues as rival Deputy Commissioners Sean Lau (Aaron Kwok) and Waise Lee (Tony Leung Ka-fai) are at odds concerning how to handle this crisis and who should head the operation titled "Cold War". The stakes are high with five hostages to rescue and a public image to uphold. Furthermore, the tension rises with the explanations or possibilities of the crisis: either there is a significant flaw in their technology and communication, or there is a mole in the police force. The first half focuses on the crisis at hand and the internal conflict, while the second half continues into a deeper conspiracy and features a surprising revelation. The ending of the film is a bit ambiguous but promising.

Cold War is a great addition to the dozens and dozens of great Chinese crime films. This crime thriller throws you into a complicated situation with little time to settle in, and it doesn't take much time to explain some of its bigger ideas. But, most viewers will be able to adapt eventually, and, when you do, the plot is very rewarding. There are a few action sequences, but, like Infernal Affairs, Cold War focuses more on suspense and tension through dialogue. One particular exchange between Lau and Lee left me impressed with the amount of emotion and tension it built. I was hooked from beginning to end, particularly thanks to this style of suspense building. As I previously stated, Cold War starts of complicated and it can be occasionally difficult to keep up later on the film; as rewarding as it may be in the end, it can be equally punishing throughout.

Aaron Kwok is a fantastic leading man; his performance is great, especially when it requires great emotion or tension, and he is very charismatic. Tony Leung Ka-fai works perfectly as his counterpart, as well, with an equally impressive performance. The music can be ill-fitted, but the score itself is great; a very epic soundtrack to keep suspense high. The film is beautifully shot, and the camerawork compliments the cinematography well. Writers and directors Longman Leung and Sunny Luk create a suspenseful film with an engaging story; however, the story feels like it could've benefitted from a longer run time as it does feel compressed -- the longer runtime could've added room for some explanation and clarification.

Overall, Cold War is a great crime thriller. It had me on the edge and guessing from beginning to end; it's a suspenseful and tense film, much like Infernal Affairs. It offers so much plot, though, I feel like it didn't have enough time to fully spread its wings; and, the short runtime indirectly contributes to the difficulties some audiences may endure, even I got lost once or twice.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood, some gore.

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