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Review The Corruptor (1999): Could have been great, but they have dropped the ball!

genre: crime, drama, thriller

The Corruptor is a bit of a odd duck. It looks like they tried real hard to do a Heroic Bloodshed title a la John Woo or Ringo Lam set in the US with a supposedly more intriguing plot. But they failed.

I will tell you why that is. One can applaud the ambition for a more intricate plot. But if you are going that route you better back it up with something substantial. The Corruptor never does this. Instead you get a dime in a dozen plot with actors who deserve a whole lot better. I mean Chow Yut-Fat still manages to be the best thing in this film however I can't help but feel he should and could have done a lot more had he been given the chance. The few times Brian Cox pops up also shows what a truly great actor can achieve with very little. I would have rather seen him tag along with Chow instead of Mark Wahlberg. He is only good in certain roles and if anything The Corruptor points out how limited his range is. Also most Heroic Bloodshed titles never were truly complicated. However they usually did a good job of portraying themes like friendship and betrayal. The Corruptor completely skips the part where Chow and Mark bond. In this film it would have increased the dramatic effects concerning a plot element later. Or why not show theses characters struggle with how they have conducted themselves. Chow did it with his eyes. But Marky Mark? Please, he always has that same surprised look. 

Not going to lie. The action scenes are a whole lot better than I had remembered. I only wished they had stuck to the stylized action sequence from the opening. Chow Yun-Fat shooting guys in slow motion is something I never get tired off. I really don't understand why they had decided to let go of this style and just go for the generic shoot outs you often see in these types of films. I understand that in Hong Kong they take longer to do these action sequences. But it's one of the main reasons why often those actions sequences are so impressive. They should have taken this effort. It would have turned this generic title into a classic film. 

Overall The Corruptor is too average to be memorable. It's a real shame since Chow Yun-Fat proves he can carry a Hollywood film even without speaking. For that alone he should have been rewarded. 

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