Detective vs. Sleuths

2022 [CN]

Action / Crime / Mystery / Thriller

Plot summary

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931.21 MB
Chinese 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 41 min
P/S ...
1.87 GB
Chinese 5.1
24 fps
1 hr 41 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ObsessiveCinemaDisorder5 / 10

A big, loud, formulaic crime mystery that's made for the money

Detective vs. Sleuths, written and directed by Wai Kai Fai, is essentially a Milkyway film produced through the China-Hong Kong co-production machine. It is a bigger-budgeted, louder and dumbed-down police actioner that's constantly speeding to the next scene. Sean Lau is as always an engaging lead but is unfortunately sidelined as a cog in a larger formulaic machine.

As a string of brutal killings storms Hong Kong, Jun Lee, once a brilliant detective in the police force who was let go after a mental breakdown, conducts his own investigation the victims are all connected to his past cases. Yee Chan, a police detective who was a victim of one of the past cases, enlists Lee Jun's help to find the killer.

Sean Lau Ching Wan is easily the best part of the film. He plays a rehashed version of his lead role in The Mad Detective as a cop who solves crimes with supernatural abilities, which Lau improves upon by acting out the ghosts that converse with him. It's entertaining watching Lau's rapidly changing facial expressions talking to himself.

Charlene Choi tries her best but is unconvincing as a distinguished police detective. She overplays her character's vulnerability, looking like she's constantly on the verge of tears and not communicating an investigative mind solving the case at hand. On top of that, her character is pregnant and questionably partaking in dangerous action head-on. It is not more ridiculous than say running from a dinosaur in high heels, but it lacked conviction. In an interview, Choi was asked about her role preparation and said she was only told what to do on the day and thus what we see is her genuine reaction to everything.

Carman Lee is wasted as the police madam explaining the plot to the audience. Based on acting chops alone, I could picture Carman Lee doing a better job as the female lead if this was made back in the day.

Who had the final say on Detective vs. Sleuths? I'll never know. It plays like a movie made by its money backers cashing in with established formulae, which outweighs the creative parts of the script.

Wai Ka Fai sets up the mystery in an interesting way, but he is completely uninterested in exploring his own high concept. The rapid-paced editing never gives a moment to breathe or contemplate the crime. Most of all, the film repeatedly drowns itself in long monotonous shootouts that lack weight or consequence. The "pew pew pew" way the guns were fired, the bullets may as well have been orange rubber darts.

What the film tries to sell as depth is ridiculous. What father lovingly teaches her daughter Friedrich Nietzsche quotes in German?

I would recommend rewatching Mad Detective instead.

Reviewed by fluffset6 / 10

detective war

I dunno cantonese but the meaning of the original title is Detective War which is far better than official english title, Detective VS Sleuth, really? Sleuth? Never heard people use that word.

For this movie, I guess it is too rushing, too many characters, and too chaos. I understand the director dont want to waste any time, he just want us to become breathless all the time watching this movie. Maybe if he give us some drama so we can take our breath. Or maybe I am too old to watch this movie, everything happen so fast...

Reviewed by Grethiwha9 / 10

Madder Detective

In 2007, Ka-Fai Wai wrote and co-directed, along with his much more internationally-famous colleague Johnnie To, the absurd crime thriller "Mad Detective", one of my all-time favourite films.

Now, after a 13-year absence from directing, Ka-Fai Wai is back, this time without Johnnie To or To's production company Milky Way, but with a film that seems like a new riff on "Mad Detective", almost a sequel. Ching Lan Wau is back, playing again an insane detective with some apparently supernatural crime-solving abilities lying underneath his madness.

It might sound derivative of the former film, but Detective vs Sleuths has some new tricks up its sleeve, and it honestly feels extremely fresh. Its twisty plot comes together beautifully in the end, the action scenes are some of the best in recent memory, and Ching Lan Wau's performance is bloody brilliant. His antics are crowd-pleasingly hilarious, but it never undermines the film's commitment to its increasingly outrageous narrative.

This film feels like a throw-back, to a level of creativity in Asian cinema that was much more common in the 2000s than what we've seen in the last decade. Certainly, I enjoyed this more than anything Johnnie To has directed since "Mad Detective". That film inspired me to check out more of Johnnie To's work, but now I'm realizing that Ka-Fai Wai deserves equal attention, and I'm very glad he's back after such a long absence.

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