CATEGORIES Drama, Foreign Language, Independent, Mystery & Suspense, Review Roundup, Cinematical Indie, Reviews, CinematicalDown-on-his-luck private eye Tam (Aaron Kwok) is asked by a man to find a woman who is trying to kill him. Tam takes the case but instead of locating the mysterious woman he starts turning up dead bodies. Welcome to the off-kilter world of The Detective, directed by Oxide Pang. He and his brother Danny Pang made Bangkok Dangerous, which they are remaking in English with Nicolas Cage, The Eye , which is being remade by two French directors in English with Jessica Alba, and The Messengers, which isn't being remade because it was shot in English and made a good deal of money in relation to its budget.
The Pang Brothers are quite prolific; in the last five years or so, they've made three other films together as a team, Oxide has directed four others on his own and Danny has made three solo efforts. I very much enjoyed the energy and style of Bangkok Dangerous and The Eye, admired certain elements of The Eye 2, and was bored silly by The Messengers, but I haven't seen their other work. The Detective opened strong in Hong Kong last week, earning HK$1 million on its first day of release, according to Hong Kong-based entertainment news site batgwa.com. The Detective also opened in Singapore last week and opens today in Malaysia. Reviewer Kozo of LoveHKFilm.com calls it "more of a ride than a complete experience, but Oxide Pang puts together a very enjoyable ride." Stefan Shih of movieXclusive.com had some reservations yet wrote: "still recommended for the visuals, sound design and [Aaron] Kwok's charismatic one man show." The film also received a positive nod from Cammy Zulkifli of Cinema Online in Malaysia.
Aaron Kwok has been a romantic pop idol for many years while also starring in movies in which his dramatic talents have sometimes been questioned. Entertaining blogger Soupdragon commented in her review: "He's an obsession just biding its time before it takes over all over again. ... Sometimes you rediscover [old obsessions] and find it's going to be a blatant case of not-stalgia ... Other times you remember exactly why they were obsessions [in the] first place. This is a clear case of the latter." She puts the film on the top of her list for 2007. Sadly, The Detective doesn't appear to have North American distribution yet.