Drug War (2013) – By Duane L. Martin

In China, producing just 50 grams of meth will get you a death sentence. In this film, two things happen pretty much simultaneously. First, a busload of people who had had drugs stuff up into their bodies to smuggle them are busted in a huge drug bust which was orchestrated by an undercover cop who had infiltrated the smuggling ring. At the same time, a meth lab blows up, killing the cook’s wife and her two brothers, and leaving him with chemical burns on his face and hands. He attempts to get away in his car, but because of the chemicals involved and the shock of what he’s been through, he passes out and crashes his car through the door of a restaurant. Captain Zhang, the head of the anti-drug division in the Jinhai Province, has the cook’s cellphone, which has been receiving repeated calls from a couple of guys in a big box truck that the police have been tailing that’s loaded with meth cooking supplies. The cook’s name is Tommy Choi, and he has one option if he wants to avoid the death penalty. He must help the cops to take down the drug syndicate. That’s the deal, but will he take it, or will he simply use it as a way to escape? You’ll have to watch the film to find out.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this film. I knew it was a drug themed crime action thriller and that it had received great reviews, but aside from that, I knew nothing about it going in. Let me tell you my first reaction to this film, and it’s a reaction that stuck with me most of the way through the film. As I’m sitting there watching it, all I can think is…

"My god, these cops are freakin’ sharp! I mean they’re just totally on the ball, on top of everything and freakishly organized. I’ve never seen cops this sharp in any other film that I can remember."

Seriously, it’s shocking how together the cops in this film are. When you watch one of these films, you usually expect to see this big cat and mouse game between the cops and the crooks, with one side or the other getting the upper hand depending on what’s going on in the film. In this film, the cops just dominate until very near the end. It’s not until the final action sequence and the conclusion of the film that things start to unravel for them and they have to fight for their lives against the drug kingpins. Once that happens, the tension rises exponentially, because suddenly you have two sides that are basically standing toe to toe beating the snot out of each other, only with guns rather than fists.

The fact that the cops are so on the ball in this film, and the tightness you need in the script to to contain such a story and keep it moving, doesn’t allow for a lot of character development. That’s about the only area this film falls short in, because the story focuses more on what’s going on as a whole far more than it focuses on any individual characters. That’s not to say the character development is non-existent, but it’s not the main focus of the film. This film is more of an outsider’s view of the overall events rather than being something that sucks you into the middle of it all on a personal level, and that’s absolutely fine, because the outside view works for this film. I actually think if it had been more personally immersive, it wouldn’t have worked as well because there was just too much going on all over the place.

I can’t go into too much detail about the story, because there are elements of it that would ruin it if I gave them away. Suffice it to say that the whole thing was pretty solid, the absolutely huge cast all played their roles well, the action was tense and exciting, and the events at the end will surprise you.

This new release from Well Go USA only has the film’s trailer and previews of some of their other releases for special features, but the overall audio/visual quality of the release is excellent.

As far as action thrillers go, this one is a bit different from a lot of the stuff I’ve seen lately, but in a good way. I found it to be a very tense and thrilling ride, and I’m sure you all will as well. If you like a good action thriller, be sure you give this one a look. You won’t regret it.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its page on the Well Go USA website here, and if you’d like to pick up a copy for yourself, you can get the DVD or blu-ray from Amazon, or from any of the other usual outlets.