Now that Jackie Chan and John Woo have crossed over to Hollywood success, can other Hong Kong action thrillers be far behind? Well, yes — judging by Organized Crime & Triad Bureau, an undistinguished police procedural chosen by Tai Seng (the leading U.S. distributor of HK tapes) to introduce its action films to a mainstream audience. Too bad the label didn’t choose a film with a little more… action.
True to its literal title, the fitfully stylish movie clatters along in a workmanlike fashion, following a maverick cop (Danny Lee of Woo’s The Killer) as he tracks down a ring of jewel thieves. Along the way, our hero breaks more rules than heads, which will likely disappoint genre fans; director Kirk Wong (Crime Story, starring Chan) just doesn’t provide enough slam-bang for the buck. Sure, there’s one exciting martial-arts flurry during a daring courtroom escape, but it has none of Chan’s balletic genius. There’s also a chase through crowded city streets, but though everyone is firing, the scene doesn’t approach the dazzling pyrotechnics of a Woo shoot-out.
For all its frantic pacing, OC&TB is more exhausting than exhilarating. Indeed, with its slapdash plotting and subtitles flying by faster than Lee’s fists, this movie is often work to watch, and that’s something a Hong Kong action thriller should never be. C