Reviews | Written by Jacob Walker 27/07/2021

PTU (2003) [MASTERS OF CINEMA EDITION]

Eureka’s latest Blu-ray release is a fun little thriller, with Hong Kong itself acting as the protagonist. It does suffer from a frequent issue with Hong Kong cinema however, a confusing tone leaving the audience bewildered at times.

The heavy smoking Sergeant Lo Sa (wonderfully portrayed by the portly Lam Suet) loses his gun after a triad member is stabbed to death. Sgt Mike Ho (Simon Yam) who is patrolling with the PTU (Police Tactical Unit) of the title, convinces his deputy not to report it, deciding to help find the gun before sunrise. The setup is a fantastic one, and as mentioned, Hong Kong is displayed as an urban jungle, full of sweat, neon, and vice. What is jarring is the sudden mix between thriller (Simon Yam making a suspect rub his tattoo until it bleeds, while slapping him is particularly unsettling) and the tomfoolery of Lam Suet. Even more mismatched is the PTU discovering abused sex workers in an abandoned building to an upbeat soundtrack, more at home in a comedy farce.

The disc features interviews with director Johnnie To, Simon Yam, and actress Maggie Siu – To showing his appreciation for ambiguity. It is rounded off with a serviceable commentary by Asian film expert Frank Djeng. There is an English dub option, but you would be mad not to opt for the Cantonese original, which only exemplifies the film’s hectic nature. There is a lot to like in PTU - the plot, setting, and actors all point to an amazing ride. Even though it’s still a satisfying adventure, you just feel with a settled rhythm, it could have been fantastic

.