Director: Jason Kwan
Cast: Andy Lau, Gordon Lam, Eddie Peng, Simon Yam, Cya Liu, Hedwig Tam, Philip Keung, Lam Suet, Kevin Chu, Terrance Lau, Kent Cheng
Runtime: 1 hr 55 mins
Rating: NC16 (Violence and Some Drug References)
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Opening Day: 11 January 2024
Synopsis: The secretive and complex dark web has become the breeding ground for drug trafficking, and has targeted Hong Kong, the centre of Asia. Four tons of new-type drugs have entered into Hong Kong under the cover of a strong typhoon, pending to be sold across the dark web. The police have no choice but to expose its undercover agents to arrest the "Big Boss". In the centre of the storm, drug lords, undercover agents, police officers and the "Big Boss" ended up in a fateful showdown.
Andy Lau is such a busy man that you are going to see him on the big screen for consecutive three months. He is still currently chasing Tony Leung’s character in Goldfinger and this month, you will see him playing a different kind of role in I Did It My Way and the next, playing an “actor” in The Movie Emperor. Just merely reading it exhausts the hell out of us. It’s a shame, the man is already 64 and he is more energetic than most of us out there.
Well, back to I Did It My Way. Lau plays a barrister named George Lam (a dig at the once popular Canto pop singer), a smart cunning aide to a drug trafficker, “Big Boss” (Philip Keung). Also in the picture is Sau (Gordon Lam), a hitman for the duo and also an undercover cop. In the meantime, the head of police cybercrimes unit, Eddie (Eddie Peng) and his superior (Simon Yam) are hot on the heels of “Big Boss” and his drug trafficking operations. But before they could lay their hands on “Big Boss”, he kills himself at the police station.
Lam decides to take over the drug operations and assumed the role of “Big Boss” and moved the operation to the dark web, selling tonnes of drugs online. Sau struggles to carry on his role as an undercover. It’s either migrating to the UK with his family or risk the lives of his love ones and himself and bring Lam to justice.
Surprisingly, I Did It My Way is more character-driven than offering over-the-top action set pieces. Lau once again plays a drug lord after Protégé (2007), an evil, menacing man that doesn’t display much emotions to others except to his pregnant girlfriend (Cya Liu). Lam is portrayed as a man who doesn’t think twice about piling the drugs onto the younger generation on the streets. His character did mentioned casually he became a changed man after his girlfriend got raped. That’s about it. Without a fully developed backstory, it’s hard to get into the mind and motives of this villain. He is essentially being bad for the sake of being bad.
For better or worse, Gordon Lam did paired up with Andy in Firestorm (2013) playing an undercover cop as well. Unlike the previous attempt, the role of Sau is far more developed and established giving Gordon a chance to flex his acting skills as the second leading man. By contrast, Eddie Peng’s appearance as a righteous cop gets overshadowed by the two veterans Lau and Lam who easily command the screen with their charismatic performances.
Those audiences yearning for some bombastic action sequences (The White Storm 3 for example) might be a slight disappointed by what the movie offers despite the involvement of action choreographer Chin Kar Lok. With the exception of some forgettable gun battles and a sequence which had Eddie battling it out with one of Lam’s hired killers, the narrative spent most of its time with the police and Lam looking at gigantic computer screens. We are pretty sure a movie on keyboard warriors isn’t going to crack the box-office after all.
While Protégé (2007) packs a punch with it’s storytelling and intense drug raids, I Did It My Way is lost in its many unfulfilling messages about cybercrime, drugs and brotherhood. Director Jason Kwan (Chasing the Dragon) seems ready to break the mould of HK action cinema but the generally weak storytelling and direction fails to deliver a satisfying action thriller let alone an effective one.
(Watch this solely for Andy Lau and Gordon Lam, the rest is familiar stuff)
Review by Linus Tee