Drug War


Drug War

Critics Consensus

A taut, solidly constructed action thriller with uncommon intelligence, Drug War delivers exhilarating set pieces without skimping on sophisticated filmmaking.



Total Count: 53


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,581
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Movie Info

Manufacturing just fifty grams of meth in China will earn you a death sentence, and Timmy Choi (Louis Koo) has manufactured tons of it. After a violent lab accident, he's in the custody of Captain Zhang (Sun Honglei), and now he has only one chance to avoid execution: turn informant and help Zhang's undercover team take down the powerful cartel he's been cooking for. But as the uneasy allies are forced to compress months of police work into just 72 sleepless hours, the increasingly desperate police are quickly stretched past their limits. As things spin wildly out of control, the line between duty and recklessness is blurred, and it becomes unclear whether the cop or the criminal truly has the upper hand. (c) Variance

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Critic Reviews for Drug War

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (18)

Audience Reviews for Drug War

  • Dec 16, 2014
    Chinese cinema strikes again with another solid effort; Drug War. A man is saved after his meth lab explodes by the cops and is then turned into a snitch by a greedy captain to get the bigger fish. At least, that's how I felt about the captain. For one, the snitch turns so easily because he's looking out for numero uno, which is a key component throughout the film. While it's not necessarily an action movie, there are a few gun fights. While not as intricate as The Departed with all the twists and turns and undercover cops, this had the feel of a Chinese version of that movie. I watched it on Netflix, and apparently, the subtitles were a problem for them. They scrolled to fast or flat cut out when actors were speaking too quickly. You miss a few lines here and there because of it. Now...since I don't know Chinese...it irritated me, but not to a point where I couldn't use common sense to figure out what those few words were or what was meant. Overall, Drug War is a fine crime drama with some good acting from the leads. What I like best about these films is how little dialogue there is compared to American films. The payoff will have most of you content enough to sit through it the entire way.
    Lane Z Super Reviewer
  • Apr 27, 2014
    Foreign films tend to be far better than mainstream Hollywood releases because they have a take no prisoners attitude, they're more confident in the way they're filmed, and they are much more exciting than many other films released by big studios. That is very much the case with Drug War, a film that effectively blends kinetic action, drama and thrills into one picture. The acting here is top notch, with not one single bad performance, the direction moves at a face pace to move the action along, and it makes for a truly riveting, and engaging film experience. I felt that the action scenes were well done, and overall I was pleasantly surprised by how much Drug War was good. This is a very well crafted picture that is a must watch for any genre fan. The script is solid and the story is very good and it mixes thrills, action perfectly well into one picture that manages to stand out among the more mainstream Hollywood efforts. If you're tired of the same old action thriller, Drug War is a better outing, one that is refreshing and riveting from start to finish. I expected a standard actioner with this film, but I got a film that really went beyond the action and went in depth with its storyline and that made this a memorable picture to watch. The idea is simple, the filmmakers are able to get much more out of the concept because they keep you involved with enough thrills at every turn, and it makes for a truly tense, action packed roller coaster ride from start to finish. If you want a well crafted action film, Drug War is such a film, brilliantly acted, directed and with a good story, this is a memorable film to watch, and one not to be missed.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Jan 30, 2014
    From the very awesome director Johnnie To( Election, Triad Election, Mad Detective, etc) comes an awesome little movie with a big bang called "Drug War". What a thrill! Louis Koo absolute kills it as Timmy Choi, a meth manufacture who is arrested after he is caught shipping a huge amount of drugs. He is sentenced the death penalty, but the detectives give him a chance to get out of it if he plays along with them and helps take out the big wigs. Only thing is, Timmy is truly unpredictable, but he's there only shot. You never really know if he is helping the cops or planning an escape and you feel that tension the entire time. The supporting cast, such as Honglei Sun are great as well, and both the screenplay and fantastic direction takes you into this drug ring without ever falling into cliches and always keeping things interesting. Cinematography is also top notch in this as well and really make the film a more immersive experience. Then, there is the explosive climax. Easily the best shoot out of 2013 without question. Accept no substitutes. It's lengthy, it's mean, it's violent, and very much electric until the very end of the movie, leaving you with a hell of an impression. 'Drug War" is a bad ass flick. If you're into great action movies, crime dramas, or you just want to see one hell of an action sequences, look no further. This film will kick your ass.
    ZACHO D Super Reviewer
  • Dec 17, 2013
    Watching shootout scenes in Johnnie To movies is like watching poetry in motion. There's something really graceful about them and the way they're choreographed, almost like gun ballet really, and this film is no different, even if the shootout scenes themselves are left for when it's absolutely necessary. The film relies, mostly, on its surprisingly taut and compelling story to draw you in rather than using its action sequences, and that's a smart choice to be perfectly honest. I think the movie does an incredible job at selling the exhaustion, as the events take place during 72 sleepless hours for the cops, and the desperation to bring down this giant drug cartel using one of their own as an informant. There's enough intrigue here, because you're never sure, at least until the climax, which is incredible, about whether or not to believe Timmy and whether he really wants to change his ways or if he's just playing everybody. I thought that was really compelling stuff, especially when you find out that, MASSIVE SPOILERS here...so skip ahead, Timmy was actually pretty much manipulating everybody in order to get both sides, the cops and the cartel, both of whom want him dead, to eliminate each other in order for him to escape with his life. The best thing about him is that he's just a complete and utter coward, using the information he has on other drug smugglers/dealers/suppliers, etc. in order to buy his freedom. This is a man who will do or say absolutely anything in order to get his freedom because he's afraid of dying. You don't see many movies where one of its main antagonists, who really isn't an antagonist until the last act, is a complete and utter coward with no redeemable qualities whatsoever. Timmy is loyal only to himself and that leads to some of the film's best moments near the end. As mentioned, the shootouts themselves are fantastic, in particular the climactic scene, it is incredible and there's a certain grace to them, and it makes them a joy to watch. I really enjoyed this movie, it's got a compelling story with many twists and turns and some pretty tremendous shootouts, so I cannot complain about this at all.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer

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