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Issue #163a HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES June 9th, 2003

Organized Crime and Triad Bureau
(1994; Magnum)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Chung ngon sat luk O gei
Mandarin: Chong an shi lu O ji
English: True Record of Important Case: Department O

Although it doesn't quite possess the bracing intensity of director Che-Kirk Wong Chi-keung's two other police procedurals from the period, CRIME STORY (1993) and ROCK 'N ROLL COP (1994), this is a well-mounted, often exciting actioner which benefits from solid performances by its three leads, embodying their stock characters with laudable conviction. Obsessed with the capture of violent fugitive Tung (Anthony Wong Chau-sang) and his mistress, Cindy (Cecilia Yip Tung), O.C.T.B. leader Inspector Lee (Danny Lee Sau-yin, looped by another performer) leads his team on a lengthy pursuit through Hong Kong to a small coastal island. Angered by the noise and police interference in their lives, the residents drive Lee's men off the island, allowing Tung and Cindy to escape. Complicating matters further are a turncoat cop, who is providing Tung with information by blackmailing Lee's debt-ridden girlfriend (Elizabeth Lee Mei-fung), and an overzealous Internal Affairs officer (Ricky Yee Fan-wai) with a serious grudge against the bureau and its quasi-illegal procedures. The chase resumes in Wanchai, with the climactic shootout unfolding tautly amidst a huge traffic gridlock.

Those opposed to police brutality will be put off by the interrogation scenes (though they are not nearly as explicit as their counterparts in THE UNTOLD STORY and TWIST, two other Danny Lee productions) but Wong has a gritty, exhilarating style that draws one in and Wong Bong's superior score gives the film added stature. Anthony Wong and Cecilia Yip are also major assets, offering vivid characterizations that nicely contrast Danny Lee's familiar but effective police persona. Wong strayed over to the right side of the law the next year for the director's ROCK 'N ROLL COP, which is even better.

Lee's team here also includes Parkman Wong Pak-man, Fan Siu-wong, Li Fai (a Mainland martial arts champion who also played "The Witch" in IRON MONKEY), and Eric Kei Kar-fat, while Roy Cheung Yiu-yeung (also looped by someone else) plays a fellow detective.

Cover art courtesy Tai Seng.

Danny Lee. Image courtesy Tai Seng.

Anthony Wong and Cecilia Yip. Image courtesy Tai Seng.
Tai Seng #51364 (U.S. label)

Dolby Digital 1.0

Cantonese, Mandarin, and English Language Tracks (all post-synced)

Optional English Subtitles

18 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With Grabs

Letterboxed (1.65:1)

Coded for ALL Regions

NTSC Format

91 Minutes

Contains brutal violence, torture, and coarse language

DVD menu courtesy Tai Seng.

British Columbia: 14 YRS (Some Violence)*
Hong Kong: II [Cut for Classification]
Ontario: R (Violence)*
Singapore: PG [Passed With Cuts]

* The pre-cut HK version


ORGANIZED CRIME AND TRIAD BUREAU suffered several cuts in order to avoid a Category III rating but is presented intact on this release. The film's color scheme is very subdued, even during sunny exteriors. The color correction here seems slightly off at times and grain is evident in spots but the transfer is reasonable. Tai Seng's DVD improves upon their tape and LD editions in several ways. Digital video noise reduction has cleaned up most of the flaws in the source material, the hues are purer, there are newly translated, removeable subtitles that read much better (though they do change Lee's nickname from "Crazy Dragon" to "Rambo"), and there is now an English dubtrack for those that want it. Most noteworthy of all is a commentary by Wong (who enjoyed a successful Hollywood debut in 1998 with THE BIG HIT but has pretty much been in a holding pattern ever since). He occasionally starts watching the picture and forgets to talk but offers some interesting trivia about the production, Danny Lee's obsession with playing cops and why he uses the same martial arts move in every movie, shooting on the streets of HK without a permit, and problems they had dealing with the inhabitants of Cheung Chau island, where a good portion of the film takes place. The disc also includes detailed, accurate filmographies for the director, Lee, Anthony Wong, and Cecilia Yip, and some video promo spots. The master tape has several glitches, which are a bit of a distraction.

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