Wai Ka-Fai, Ryker Chan, Mak Tin-Shu
Lau Ching-Wan, Charlene Choi, Carmen Lee, Carlos Chan
Hong Kong is rocked by a series of brutal murders. The victims are suspects in cold cases who have eluded arrest for many years. The group of killers, who call themselves “The Chosen Sleuths”, are vigilantes taking justice into their own hands, and openly challenging the Hong Kong police. In response, the police form a task force of their own “chosen sleuths” to stop the criminals. Jun Lee (Lau Ching-Wan) was a legend in the police force as an ace detective before a mental breakdown. Once nicknamed “The Chosen Sleuth”, Jun now lives on the streets after he was disgracefully dismissed from the force. To prove that he is not a lunatic, but the real “Chosen Sleuth”, Jun joins the fight against the vigilantes, to stop their elaborate plans. Racing against time, Jun and pregnant police detective Yee (Charlene Choi) must solve cases both new and old to bring the Chosen Sleuths to justice.
“He who fights against monsters,” the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once advised, “should see to it that he does not become a monster in the process.” Those words inform every frame of the new film from Hong Kong filmmaker Wai Ka-Fai, whose idiosyncratic brilliance has been absent from screens for far too long. The intense and gritty DETECTIVES VS. SLEUTHS reconnects Wai with Lau, the star of his second-to-last feature before a decade-plus hiatus, 2007’s MAD DETECTIVE. Like most of Wai’s filmography, that one was co-directed with the great Johnnie To, but DETECTIVES VS. SLEUTHS finds him steering the ship by himself again—writing, producing, and directing a distinctive, effective crime thriller that once again explores the line between genius and madness. – Rupert Bottenberg