The Corruptor (1999) – Review

2 Stars

The Corruptor constantly flirts with becoming a better movie but it never fully takes off. This is a stylish, slickly produced, complicated film that is at war with itself. The director James Foley struggles to mesh the script’s adult themes with the studio’s requirements of the prerequisite number of action scenes. These variances in mood and tone are sometimes jarring, but when the action comes it is thunderously staged and a break from the dour atmosphere and overly talky characters.

Danny Wallace (Mark Wahlberg) is newly assigned to New York City’s Asian Gang Unit. The division is headed by veteran Nick Chen (Chow Yun-Fat), who is attempting to quell an impending all-out gang war between the Triads and the Dragons. When a gang leader’s plot to take over Chinatown explodes, Nick guides and protects Danny, but Danny thinks Nick is in too deep with the Triads and sets out to turn his partner into Internal Affairs.

It is a bit of a shame that Chow Yun-Fat never found a proper star vehicle in his bid for acceptance by western audiences. Of the two action movies he did in America; I’d have to marginally recommend 1998s’ The Replacement Killers. Mark Wahlberg is too young looking for the role and he doesn’t develop any chemistry with his co-star. However, three scenes between Brian Cox and Wahlberg are sprinkled throughout the film and they are the best moments in the entire picture.

Director: James Foley
Stars: Chow Yun-fat, Mark Wahlberg, Byron Mann

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