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Mad Detective (4 stars)

(15) 86min

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Mad Detective

THRILLER

‘Apply emotions to investigate!’ is the motto of the mad detective at the centre of Johnny To and Wai Ka-fai’s follow-up to 2003’s My Left Eye Sees Ghosts. The an unfortunately-named Inspector Bun (Ching Wan-lau) is a police investigator with uncompromising strategy for solving cases. In the opening sequence, he gets a fellow cop to zip him up inside a suitcase and kick it down several flights of stairs. Such experiences allow Bun to plug into the emotions of others, but at a high cost; his madness causes him to slice off his own ear during a police ceremonial, resulting in a swift ban from the force. Bun is left to cool off until a vanishing policeman and a missing gun prompt young whiz-kid cop Inspector On (Andy On) to recruit the wayward Bun as a partner.

While structured like a bog-standard Hong Kong police procedural, Mad Detective has a deserved reputation for innovation due to To and Wai’s imaginative methods in depicting Bun’s state of mind; the personalities he’s channelling are shown in the frame with him, as if he was a tour guide leading them through the film.

After a slow start, the pay off comes in a dramatic hall-of mirrors shoot-out lifted from Welles’ 1947 noir The Lady from Shanghai – a mildly intriguing prospect for the casual viewer. Mad Detective is a must-see for admirers of Hong Kong action cinema, and with such a novel content, it simply begs for a Hollywood remake.

Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Fri 29–Sun 31 Aug.

Mad Detective

  • 4 stars
  • 2007
  • Hong Kong
  • 86 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Johnny To/Wai ka-Fai
  • Cast: Lau Ching Wan, Andy On, Lam Ka Tung

'Apply emotions to investigate!' is the motto of the mad detective at the centre of this follow up to 2003's 'My Left Eye Sees Ghosts'. The unfortunately named Inspector Bun (Ching Wan-lau) is a police investigator with an uncompromising strategy for solving cases. A must see for admirers of Hong Kong action cinema.

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