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Genre: Drama/Crime
Starring: Eason Chan, Tony Leung, Anthony Wong, Natalie Meng, Kate Tsui, Bowie Lam, Alex Fong, Wong Jing
Director: Wong Jing
Rating: M18 (Some Violent and Sexual Scenes)
Year Made: 2009



- Trailer




Languages: Mandarin
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0
Running Time: 1 hr 52 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: InnoF
orm Media




In the 1960s and 1970s, Hong Kong was a corrupted place where law existed only in theory and an anti-corruption agency was created to solve these problems. The leader of the corruption practices is Senior Inspector Lak (Tony Leung) who soon becomes increasingly arrogant. The Hong Kong governor set up an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) to deal with the corruption and Yim (Bowie Lam) is in charge of arresting Lak. Through sheer perseverance, they successfully bring down the corrupted police force.


Wong Jing may not be the best filmmaker in Hong Kong, but he certainly is the most prolific, writing, producing and directing at least two or three films in a year. The fertility of the Jing factory comes at a cost, since many of his movies are only slightly better than ripped-off crap. But it’s hard not to regard “I Corrupt All Cops” with more respect- easily his most ambitious film in years and also an unusual venture for Wong Jing into semi-serious territory.

This is a film about the origins of Hong Kong’s famed ICAC, the powerful anti-corruption agency who has been immortalized in several TVB drama series. Wong Jing’s telling goes right back to the 1960s and 1970s, examining the impetus that led Britain to set up this taskforce, as well as its subsequent tenacity in cleaning up the colony’s corrupt police force, which ultimately led to its revered status today.

The first half of “I Corrupt All Cops” sets the backdrop of the state of the police force then- the head of the corruption syndicate a brash, egotistical senior inspector Lak (Tong Leung), aided by his middleman cum loan shark collector Gold (Wong Jing in a trademark smarmy performance), and loyal right-hand man Gale (Eason Chan). There’s also Unicorn (Anthony Wong), a lowly detective under Lak’s command whom he has little regard of.

Being Wong Jing, the writer-director focuses much of his time on essentially two vices- corruption and promiscuity. Under pressure from Lak to deliver, Unicorn rounds up innocent folk and pins unsolved crimes in order to meet some KPIs. Under pressure from Lak’s wife, Gale finds himself married to nine wives, his multiple marriages a cover for the women whom the wife finds Lak with.

Only in the halfway mark does Wong Jing introduce the ICAC, led by a stoic-looking Yim (Bowie Lam) and filled with fresh university graduates easily cowered by the mean, dirty-handed police they are meant to police. So Yim recruits Unicorn into this fledging outfit, Unicorn’s inside knowledge and street-smart tactics an immediate boost for the morale and efficiency of the ICAC.

It’s not easy juggling the multitude of characters in “I Corrupt All Cops”- from the first half, Lak, Gold, Gale, Unicorn, and in the second half, Yim and the rest of the ICAC- as well as the relationships between them. And this is precisely where even the veteran Wong Jing flounders. Clearly spreading himself too thin, Wong Jing glosses over the events of the second half, indeed the very difficulties and challenges that the ICAC faced in cleaning up this so-called “empire of corruption”.

So much so that the 112-minute movie feels rushed, uneven and unfocused all at once. Yes, the very notion of this film- delineating the setup of the ICAC- becomes reduced to a mere sideshow in the presence of too many parallel story threads running through the various characters. Luckily then that the heavyweight cast each shine in their respective roles- especially notable is singer Eason Chan who displays an admirable dramatic intensity to hold his own against the rest of the A-list cast.

Certainly, “I Corrupt All Cops” is one of Wong Jing’s most daring, and also perhaps his best, film in recent years. It is best appreciated as entertainment masquerading as serious drama, for to regard it as anything else would no doubt diminish its merits. Anyone hoping for a deep, meaningful insight into the establishment of the ICAC should wait for a filmmaker of a different pedigree to approach it. Interested, Andrew Lau?


Just the trailer.


The disc’s visual transfer is excellent, vividly bringing to life the detailed 1960s and 1970s Hong Kong backdrops of the movie. The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio has enough life (and bass) to give the action scenes that added oomph.



Review by Gabriel Chong

Posted on 31 August 2009


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This review is made possible with the kind support from InnoForm Media


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