Chasing the Dragon (NC16)
Starring Donnie Yen, Andy Lau
Directed by Wong Jing & Jason Kwok
It’s a two-biopics for-the-price-of-one special: In one corner, it’s Donnie Yen as drug dealer Crippled Ho; the other Andy Lau as corrupt cop Lee Rock. The dual epic, set in Hongkong in the 1960s-70s, is a remake as well: Ho was previously played by Ray Liu in To Be Number One, while Lee has been portrayed by Andy Lau in two movies, which all came out in 1991.
The gangster tale is ambitious but is occasionally marred by hammy acting, overwrought dialogue and patchy plotting. Things get exciting when Yen and Lau are in the same scenes, less so when they’re apart. It’s hard to believe that this is the first time these formidable heavyweights are working together. Even harder to fathom: Lau doesn’t seem to have aged much since 1991. Does he sleep in a hyperbaric chamber? (**1/2)