Updated: Aug 3, 2021
This crime film is a surprisingly one of ''Happy New Year" film (賀歲片) genre products for this Chinese new year in Hong Kong. Why is it so outstanding among other comedies? The certain reason is that standard of ''Happy New Year'' film practice is to make a slap stick comedy genre in general.
One of ruling party figures of Hong Kong, estate conglomerate Emperor Group mainly funded, produced and released this film which intended to be the first part of trilogy of Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) crime films.
On the contrary to ICAC franchise Z, S, L Storm (2014; 2016; 2018), Integrity (Dir. Alan Mak; 2019) is more nihilistic and twisted in its characteristic of storytelling.
The film can be summed easily that the trade company which is a smuggler of cigarettes skilfully evades taxations by hiding unlawful interests by putting together with millions of financial products.
The chief investigator of ICAC Chan King-chi (Sean Lau)'s childhood friend Hui Chik-yiu (Nick Cheung) does a spy job in the smuggler company even after he mysteriously fleets to Australia just before the summoned court appearance as a witness of the crime of the company. 114mins is spent for the investigation and completion of the persecution.
However, The chief investigator of ICAC Chan King-chi (Sean Lau) knows everything what Hui Chik-yiu does even after he fleets to Australia, and Chan King-chi's fatal mistake finally throws out everything ICAC team does during the most of the time in the film, and the mysterious manipulator kills corroborators of his coordinated crimes.
Chan King-chi's mistake is that he does not officially record and register the spy Hui Chik-yiu. As the result, all proves and evidences are ineffective at court. It is fatally unintelligent and lack of professionalism, and it makes us not indulgent to the most of the time they spent in this film before the moment.
Furthermore, ICAC is incapable to deal with the smuggling scheme and it is unsolvable throughout the film. The only solution to the ultimate manipulator of both smuggling and killing is that police arrest him after he kills two crime partners from a helicopter.
The invincible enemy of ICAC is turned out to be the most stupid mafia who openly kills his corroborators in a cinematically exaggerated way.
In technical aspect, its obvious tendency is ''transition within one shot''. The most memorable montage is that Hui Chik-yiu's flashback sequence of his divorced wife and a ceased child panned from the door which his wife exists to Hui Chik-yiu and Kong Suet-yee (Karena Lam) in present. It's a quite obvious desire of Alan Mak to do transition within one shot visually like many similar solutions in his master piece Infernal Affairs (2002). In fact, it's a layered work of different shots in Aftereffect-like VFX software.
I could not get any enlightenment from this film however audience can enjoy luxurious shopping at EMPEROR WATCH & JEWELLERY-like store and life in the gorgeous independent house where managed by EMPEROR GROUP-like estate company in this film. The unnecessarily exaggerated cinematic citation of these commercial signatures is something unessential to its story-telling.
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