Colour of the Truth
AKA: Color of the Truth
Year of release: 2003
Directors: Wong Jing, Marco Mak
Stars: Anthony Wong, Francis Ng, Lau Ching-Wan, Jordan Chan, Raymond Wong, Chapman To, Pinky Cheung, Terence Yin, Winnie Leung, Patrick Tse
Rated IIB for violence
Version reviewed: Hiapmax VCD
What's this? A Wong Jing movie that doesn't rely on boobs or blood as its' selling point? You've gotta be kidding! Seriously, though, Colour of the Truth is a damn rock-solid crime drama. Yeah, it does have some of that Wong Jing flavor (to say that last year's hit Infernal Affairs was an inspiration for this movie is an understatement), but it's one of the best movies that I've seen from anywhere this year. It's loads better than a lot of the so-called "blockbusters" stinking up screens at this moment in time.
The movie opens with a rooftop shootout between a cop (Anthony Wong), a Triad (Francis Ng) and an undercover (Lau Ching-Wan), with Anthony ending up being the last man standing. Fast-forward fifteen years, and now Lau's son (Raymond Wong) is a rising detective under Anthony's wing, and Francis' son (Jordan Chan) is a young Triad hell-bent on revenge. During an operation when Anthony and Raymond are protecting a top gangster (Patrick Tse), the ghosts of the past come to haunt Anthony and set the stage for a final showdown.
Yes, the plot does hold some similarties to Infernal Affairs, but, come on, the whole "undercover cops versus the Triads" scheme is about as common to HK movies as the "mis-matched buddy cops" are to US action films. I will grant that the way the plot unfolds does get a bit muddled at times, but Wong Jing -- despite what his detractors might say -- can write good scripts and things gel together nicely at the end. Even when matters get a bit confusing, the film's visual style (through excellent editing by co-director Marco Mak) and bits of classic Wong Jing ultra-violence help keep things going, especially when bolstered by the top-notch acting.
Francis Ng and Lau Ching-Wan (as could be expected) are flawless in their painfully small roles, but it's Anthony Wong's work which really holds Colour of the Truth together. I am so glad that he actually seems to be trying nowadays, instead of just phoning in his roles as has been the case for much of his work the past few years (perhaps not coincidentally, he was also great in Infernal Affairs -- maybe he's found his new niche as the slightly dirty cop in HK movies). Other standouts include Raymond Wong, who actually makes a likeable character out of a standard "pretty boy" role and Patrick Tse, who demonstrates why he was condisidered such a bad-ass back in the day. Hell, even Chapman To does a good job, bringing some comic relief without being annoying.
Despite some minor problems, Colour of the Truth is a fine movie that even the biggest Wong Jing haters will dig if they're willing to relax their standards a bit. True, it's no Citizen Kane or anything like that, but it's a really good movie in its' own right. Even though there's no gratuitous nudity or violence, Colour of the Truth will likely be one of the most exciting times you'll have watching a movie this year.
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