Issue #268            HOME          E-mail:        BACK ISSUES            June 20th, 2005

Task Force
(1997; Golden Harvest/Golden Icon Entertainment/Harvest Crown)

Cantonese: Yit huet jui keung
Mandarin: Re xue zui qiang
English: Hot Blood Is the Strongest


  RATING: 8/10


Young, straight-arrow cop Rod Lin (played by pop star Leo Koo Kui-kei) gets involved with flaky hooker Fanny (who is up to her ears in trouble and faces death if some loansharks manage to get their hands on her) in this offbeat effort that juggles genres surprisingly well. Difficult to summarize, the film mainly looks at the above two characters, while also devoting some time to LuLu (Eric Tsang Chi-wai), a perpetually horny sergeant, whose marriage disintegrated when his wife caught him fooling around; Rod's other co-worker Shirley (Karen Mok Man-wai), whom he has unrequited feelings for; and a killer (Allan Moo Kei) who may, or may not, be a fantasy figure in one of the elaborate lies concocted by Fanny (Charlie Yeung Choi-nei).

Leo Koo Kui-kei Charlie Yeung Choi-nei

Almost entirely unpredictable, the film slides back and forth between comedy and drama in surprisingly effective fashion, mixing tone and emotions far more satisfactorily than director Patrick Leung Pak-kin's previous efforts, BEYOND HYPOTHERMIA and SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME (both 1996). Along the way, there are worthwhile insights about memories, relationships, and parents, winning performances from Koo and Yeung (the last on-camera role she essayed until her comeback last year in NEW POLICE STORY), plus send-ups of John Woo's FACE/OFF (Woo himself cameos as a police officer in the final reel) and the Bruce Lee/Chuck Norris fight in RETURN OF THE DRAGON. There is also some rather witty casting (would you believe art film director Lawrence Ah Mon as Fanny's street smart pimp?). While there are some similarities to Wong Kar-wai's work (particularly FALLEN ANGELS), TASK FORCE transcends this and emerges as a highly satisfying work in its own right from a director who had previously shown a shrewd grasp of the medium but little ability to tell a story or involve the viewer. Edmond So Chi-wai, Waise Lee Chi-hung, Clifton Ko Chi-sum, Stephen Tung Wai, Chin Kar-lok (also the film’s action choreographer), and John Lone also appear.

Karen Mok Man-wai Eric Tsang Chi-wai


One of Universe’s earliest DVDs, the disc is bearable, but certainly looks its age. The non-anamorphic transfer boasts decent hues, though the image is soft, and a low bit rate has been utilized to cram the film onto a single layer. Fast movement often smears and background instability is also apparent at times. The stereo mix has some very good separations, but like most of these early 5.1 re-mixes, it sounds a bit thin. The film’s trailer is included, along with trailers for the Bruce Lee vehicles THE BIG BOSS and GAME OF DEATH, and Stars’ Files for Leo Koo, Charlie Yeung, Eric Tsang, Patrick Leung, and producer Chin Siu-wai.

Charlie Yeung Choi-nei Eric Tsang Chi-wai (left), Leo Koo Kui-kei (right)

This DVD is available at:

Images in this review courtesy of Universe Laser & Video Co. To read captions, hover mouse over image.

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Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2005. All Rights Reserved.


- Hong Kong Release

NTSC – Region 0

Universe Laser & Video Co. Ltd. #5046

Dolby Digital 5.1

Sync Sound Cantonese and Dubbed Mandarin Language Tracks

8 Chapters

Subtitles (Optional): English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese

4:3 Letterbox (1.80:1)

100 Minutes


- Hong Kong: IIB

Ontario: AA

Quebec: 13+

Singapore: PG (cut)

Contains moderate violence and mature themes

10 A Masterpiece
9 Excellent
8 Highly Recommended
7 Very Good
6 Recommended
5 Marginal Recommendation
4 Not Recommended
3 Poor
2 Definitely Not Recommended
1 Dreadful