Sun Taam (Mad Detective) (2008)
Movie InfoA psychotic ex-policeman with a mysterious supernatural gift proves invaluable in the case of a missing police firearm and its vanished owner in this tense police thriller from co-directors Johnny To (Fulltime Killer) and Wai Ka-fai (Running on Karma). Bun is an outcast detective who always seems to crack the case despite having some rather serious personality flaws. When Bun slices off his ear and offers it up as a gift at a party staged to honor one of his superiors, he is promptly forced into early retirement. Subsequently withdrawn into his own world and tormented by the specters of his former vocation, Bun finds his unique ability to see the hidden personalities and inner demons of everyone he meets nearly driving him to insanity. As a policeman Bun's gift of second sight helped him to solve some of the department's most difficult cases, but now that the visions serve no purpose, they simply serve to erode his already fragile sense of reality. Yet despite Bun's bad reputation, ambitious inspector Ho (Andy On) still believes in him. Recently, Ho has been assigned the difficult case of a locating a missing policeman named Wong (Lee Kwok Lun), who disappeared after pursuing some suspects into the nearby mountains. While Bun is indeed eager to help out with the case, he soon finds his volatile personality clashing with the seven conflicting personalities of Wong's apparently schizophrenic partner Chi-wai (Lam Ka-tung). … More
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Critic Reviews for Sun Taam (Mad Detective)
A stylishly funky Hong Kong thriller from cult director Johnnie To and co-writer/codirector Wai Ka Fai.
Mad Detective doesn't always make sense, and you cannot always tell what is real and what is imaginary, but viewers will be having too much zonked-out fun to care.
If the insanely inventive and entertaining Mad Detective weren't so weird -- and in Cantonese -- hordes of action geeks would be lining the block to see it.
Fleeting confusion and bizarre literalization aside, Mad Detective is an effective mystery story, with an oddball hero -- like TV's Monk, but far crazier -- and some moments of visceral violence that raise the stakes.
Every moment in Mad Detective seems engineered for maximum oddity; it almost becomes overwhelming...Yet the movie feels adventuresome, too, a new bridge to Asia‚(TM)s soulful ghost canon. It‚(TM)s a metaphysical mystery masquerading as a doodle.
Even if you lose track of who's shooting whom and why during the abstract climactic face-off, the clever last shot shows you're not alone.
An inventive oddball pic that's diverting and borders on the ridiculous but never becomes uninteresting or completely loses its way.
Cleverly scripted, brilliantly acted and masterfully edited, Mad Detective explores the very human capacity to lose one's moral centre in a crisis.
More comical than compelling, but what do you expect of a chopsocky revolving around a head case of a hero begging to be buried alive in order to channel his psychic powers?
A freewheeling narrative that twists around its central themes with manic intensity.
It may make no sense to throw logic out the window, but that's exactly what makes Detective such an unhinged blast.
Director Johnny To's previous flicks are slicker affairs, but there's still plenty here to please the fans.
To and Ka-fai's widescreen lensing is both elegant and sharp, its distorted angles and flaring white lights generating a sense of unease that complements Bun's instability and Chi-Wai's fractured self.
The prolific Johnny To and his occasional collaborator Wai Ka Fai here put a new twist on the standard police yarn.
Another very, very solid crime drama from Johnnie To and Wai Ka-fai.
Audience Reviews for Sun Taam (Mad Detective)
An original and intriguing Hong Kong made thriller about a detective who claims to have the supernatural ability to see the inner personalities of people, something he puts to good use in his line of work. It's an interesting idea but I think it deserved a better story to play out the use of its gimmick. It kept my attention though and I was never really sure if the characters' "gift" was real or just in his imagination until all is revealed after the climactic Mexican stand-off. It's a good film but could have been better.More
edge of your seat thriller with an insane and/or psychic lead character keeps u guessing about what's real/not real. stylish and a lot of fun with ending straight out of lady from shanghai!More
Very original character for a police story. Enjoyed, even if I did get extremely confused in places!More
Good direction from To, solid performances from everyone (Andy On is just tolerable, nothing more) but the script doesn't help to make this something better. To works a lot better by himself.More
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