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r (2006)
Dog Bite Dog


Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 04/07/2012
Summary: disturbing. good.

When I first saw this film in 2006, I didn't really like it so much. I was surprised by director Soi Cheang Pou-Soi's choices. I was hating on Edison Chen like everybody else, I guess. As time went by, some of the disturbing images kept popping into my mind's eye. To me, this is a sign of some very good film making.

Recently, I had a chance to see the film again. Edison Chen and Sam Lee are really good in the film. I've always dug Sam Lee's work and this is one of his best performances. There is Wayne Lai, Lam Suet, and a plethora of interesting Thai faces to look at. This is not a film for people who are disturbed by violent images.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 01/27/2008
Summary: Brutal, violent yet moving

A cat 3 rating is deserving of this film.
Edison Chen is a with no remorse and
Sam Lee is a cop who doesnt play by the rules.
They clash as Sam pursues Edison for a murder of a barrister and the husband of a judge. But keeping Edison in cuffs does not prove effective. He's REALLY hard to catch!!

The sub stories include Edison finding a love interest and Sam's relationship with his father, who is accused of being a model cop yet a potential drug dealer.

And just when you think the movie is over, it continues.
Just the brutal violence and the characters themselves make this movie watchable,the plot, when you think about it, is quite simplistic. All the actors are great in this film, espcially Edison chen, though he doesnt say too much. Sam Lee, with his skinny frame, doesnt look the part of a tough cop but impresses me with his serious acting.

I feel this is one of the best movie for 2006, the flm has a lot of energy yet warmth for its characters, though none are that likible

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 11/26/2007
Summary: Nasty

The husband of a barrister pays to have a Cambodian hitman (Edison Chen) kill his wife. The killer’s getaway is thwarted by the police headed by Wai (Sam Lee) and is cornered, taking more lives before making a spectacular escape. Wai then comes after the killer with everything he’s got, even going well outside of the law to get revenge rather than justice.

Dog Bite Dog is an exceptionally squalid, gritty, dirty and distressing film. The excessive (but realistic) gore just keeps on coming and coming. No wonder this received a Cat III rating – I would seriously advise against eating while watching this film. It is also one of the bleakest, starkest and most nihilistic films I’ve seen in a long time. It doesn’t quite make THE DEER HUNTER look like a Three Stooges film, but it’s still pretty grim.

The cast are brilliant - including Edison Chen, believe it or not. He plays a young man raised in brutal fight camps in Cambodia who then progresses to assassination, and is man with nothing to lose. The main reason for Chen’s success here I suspect is the fact that he barely speaks, and when he does, it is in Cambodian. Against him is Sam Lee as Wai, a cop with his own problems – his father is currently in a coma and who will face accusations of drug dealing if he should wake. I only know Lee from comedic roles and I was initially sceptical of his ability to play it straight. However, he pulls it off, giving a great and natural performance. The cast is rounded out with the always watchable Wayne Lai, and Johnny To regulars Eddie Cheung and Lam Suet (who seems to be in just about everything I watch these days!). The only real female presence come from newcomer Pei Pei Wei-Ying, who is an abused young woman who forms an attachment with the hitman when he kills her bullying father.

The hatred of Wai for the hitman is handled in a believable manner and it is quite exciting when the two men meet for the first hour and a half of the film. One thing that did seem a little unnecessary was the inclusion of dog snarls and animal noises when the two start knocking each other about – yes, they’re like animals, I get it, stop hitting me over the head with the metaphor!

Without going into too much detail for those who are yet to see it, the film seems to wrap up in a satisfactory (if inevitably grim) way after about an hour and a half. Instead though, we get another fifteen minutes tacked on which I could have done without and do the film no favours whatsoever. The whole tone changes after this, and becomes a little predictable in my view. Also, do we really need another montage scene with a pop song playing over it? In 2006? In a film as dark as this? I do believe the director shot himself in the foot quite badly with this ill-considered coda. And when you thought the violence and gore had stopped once and for all, it’s time to get the sick bags out one final time for the climax.

There’s a reasonably good film in here, for sure, but it’s too uneven and the relentlessly dark tone makes it a bit of a hard slog to get through and I can’t honestly see myself ever wanting to sit through all that again. If you do watch DOG BITE DOG, don’t expect many chuckles – and it might be an idea to lay off the popcorn unless you want to see it again later.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 11/28/2006
Summary: 8/10 - refreshingly bleak

Edison Chen plays a Cambodian sent to Hong Kong to perform an assassination. Sam Lee plays the cop who nearly catches him but instead loses a colleague, which makes him rather angry. What follows is not cat and mouse but dog and dog, as instincts of vengeance and survival drive the two men to a level of animalism that we should probably all hope never to experience ourselves.

I've long held that Soi Cheang is perhaps the most interesting of the "new" directors in Hong Kong - well, for about 2 years anyway, since LOVE BATTLEFIELD convinced me of the fact. DOG certainly confirms by belief, as it's hard to think of any other director currently working in Hong Kong who could have made it. The film is singular of purpose, and unrelenting in its pursuit. The message is plain - man is only one step removed from beast, and can become one under duress. It's a dark, bleak film with barely a glimmer of hope or redemption to be found from start to end. I'm hard pushed to recall the last time Hong Kong produced a film so unforgivingly nihilistic - certainly have to look well past SPL... it's refreshing :-) It must be admitted there are a few places where it goes a little too far in its quest, slipping into "silly" on the other side - a little bit of editing might have been advised.

It wouldn't be fair to not mention the acting, with a good performance from Edison Chen (remarkable, since he seems to be such a twit in real life) and a nearly great one from Sam Lee - definitely not playing the clown here. Some strong supporting players too.

The production values are high throughout, with quite a unique look and some impressive cinematography. It's a skillfully made film that's not trying to pander to some imagined market demographic, just taking a premise and a theme and following them to their bloody conclusion - cinema as art rather than product.... the sort of film Hong Kong needs to make more often if the industry is to survive.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 11/16/2006

One of the more hotly anticipated titles to come out of Hong Kong this year, Dog Bite Dog doesn't disappoint. It doesn't quite live up to the hype, but it is one of the more satisfying experiences this reviewer has had with a movie this year, both foreign and domestic. While it's not an all-time classic, Dog Bite Dog is a refreshing change from the derivative romantic comedies and computer-fu "epics" Hong Kong seems determined to crank out nowadays.

The basic plot is pretty simple. Edison Chen plays an un-named hitman from Cambodia whose upbringing in the world of underground pit-fighting makes him a ferocious killer. After a particularly bloody job by Edison, a cop named Wai (Sam Lee) whose life is already on the edge of burnout becomes obsessed about catching him. As the chase continues, the lines between cop and killer become increasingly blurred, which leads to a climatic confrontation that will change them both forever.

This sort of plot has been done many times before, especially after the success of The Killer, but Dog Bite Dog adds enough into the mix to stand out on its' own. For starters, the movie looks great. Director Soi Cheang got his start with horror movies, and he uses many of the same filming and editing techniques here to great effect. It provides enough of a visual punch to make things interesting without going overboard. Speaking of punches, Dog Bite Dog is definitely one of the most violent works Hong Kong has produced in quite some time. While there have been some that say that the violence felt gratutious, the bloodshed is necessary to the story. It shows how far the characters have fallen and how far they are willing to go.

Finally, some note must be made of the acting. Sam Lee has always been a fairly strong actor, so his output here is not surprising (though it is much more serious than his usual role). What is, though, is Edison Chen. The man who once made audiences cringe with his "gangsta" attitude delivers an actual performance here that might actually transform him into a "real" actor, and not just a pretty singer who also happens to act in movies.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 10/11/2006
Summary: if only it was only 83 minutes long...

edison chen is a cambodian hitman; he's been raised as a fighter and a killer. he comes to hong kong to kill the wife of a judge, which he does. clinically. sam lee is a cop; his father is in a coma, he's the good cop, who's image he can never compare with. as a result, lee operates a little outside of usual procedure and is in danger of losing his fragile grip on reason.

after chen kills lee's partner, lee persues chen through the fringes of hong kong, moving closer to a final confrontation between the two.

now, if this film had ended at a 'fade-to-black' transition, that occurs around the 83 minute mark, it would've been great. sure, there's a couple of fishy moments, but only one or two. on the whole, it's a tense and unrelenting, knife-wielding, gun-toting film, that doesn't pull many punches (if any!), it looks fantastically grimey in the very best way and oozes style. chen, lee, pei pei wei-ying (a damaged young woman, who chen becomes attached to) and the supporting cast all put in fine performances. director, soi cheang crafts a solid, tense slice of cop/killer hong kong action, the likes of which we haven't seen for a while.

it's just a shame that they felt the need to end the film, the way they did.

so very nearly great.


Reviewed by: LisaM
Date: 10/08/2006
Summary: Amazingly nihilistic - and brilliant

Soi Cheang moves to the forefront of Hong Kong directors with this stylish and ultraviolent noir thriller that turns every cop movie convention on its ear. This amazingly nihilistic film also puts the lie to the recent trend in horror films at evoking shock with gratuitous scenes of torture and violence; DOG BITE DOG delivers shock after shock as it explores the causes and effects of violence, moving from urban to rural to primeval settings.

Edison Chen gives a breakout performance as a Cambodian hitman on the loose in Hong Kong, and Sam Lee resurrects his career as Wai, the mad-dog cop who nearly matches the Cambodian in the trail of bodies he leaves in his wake. But the cast is rounded out by a fantastic performance from the young female lead (who I believe is credited as "Pei-pei"), as the damaged-goods romantic interest for the hitman.

Cheang's always had style to burn, but here his style takes an amazing turn into almost cinema verite style, with deliberately-strobed shots, dark lighting, and trash-strewn locations.

Be warned - DOG BITE DOG is not for the squeamish. But viewers willing to step out of the bounds of their usual cinematic experience may be richly rewarded by this hardhitting little gem.

Reviewer Score: 9