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反收數特遣隊 (2002)
Shark Busters

Reviewed by: ororama
Date: 08/11/2021

A very odd mix of comedy and crime, Shark Busters involves loan sharks trying to collect debts from nearly every member of the police force. Well over half the movie is spent setting up the foolishness of the police officers in getting in over their heads financially (only producer Danny Lee's character is presented as having valid reasons for his financial situation, with everyone else involved in ill-thought-out get rich quick schemes) and the increasingly violent means used by the triads to collect the debts, outrageous interest and ridiculous fees. Eventually, the police remember that they are the police, and they have the ability to use state sanctioned violence to resolve their situation, with the fear of being investigated by themselves as the only serious obstacle to their actions. Arrests without sufficient evidence, illegal searches to obtain evidence and street brawls follow.

Danny Lee has little screen time and no involvement in the action. Brian Ireland is the only actor who fares well, proving funny (and fluent in Cantonese) as a white auxiliary police officer/lawyer, once the movie gets past the racist jokes and the ridiculous explanation for his joining the police. The rest of the large cast has too little to do, and the action that one would expect from a Danny Lee movie is largely confined to the last 15 minutes. The movie is obviously intended to deal with social problems that its audience will identify with, but it fails to address the issues with the seriousness that they deserve, while providing only minimal humor and action.

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/17/2005

On first looks, Shark Busters appears to be your average Danny Lee cop movie. But it tries to be something a bit different, with more social commentary than viewers may be used to. While I admire the film-makers for trying to switch things up, Shark Busters is such a schizophrenic movie that it ends up being (you guessed it) another average Danny Lee cop movie.

The film tells the story of a squad of cops (under the leadership of Lee) who get into financial troubles from bad real estate deals that were financed by credit card companies. In debt, many of the squad turn to loan sharks which results in trouble when Lee's name is splashed all over the front pages as being a deadbeat. Taking matters into their own hands, the squad begins to turn the tables and use the loan sharks' techniques on themselves.

This might have been good stuff, but director Herman Yau tries so hard to drive home his point that the film loses something in the process. Yau mixed commentary and drama succesfully with From the Queen to the Chief Executive, but with Shark Busters the point of credit card companies being no better than loan sharks is dealt with in an obvious and heavy-handed way. There is also some strange comic relief dealing with a gweilo lawyer (Brain Ireland) who moonlights as a cop. Like a lot of the movie, I wasn't exactly sure what the point of his character or actions were all about.

There are some good things about Shark Busters, mostly from the actors' performances. Danny Lee does his usual solid job portraying a cop, and the supporting cast also does well. Of particular note is Lam Suet, who steps from his supporting roles in Milkyway productions and creates a good villainous character as the top loan shark in the area. But even though the actors do well, they don't seem to have much to work with, and Herman Yau's direction leaves them (and the viewer) a bit lost, and so I can't really recommend Shark Busters to anyone but die-hard cop movie fans.

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Reviewed by: danton
Date: 08/17/2003

Shark Busters is an entertaining crime drama with a good script, nice ensemble cast and a satirical, political undertone that makes the film stand out from similar fare.

Directed by Hermann Yau (who also helmed the excellent and equally political From the Queen to the Chief Executive, as well as the underappreciated Nightmares in Precinct 7), this film is about a group of police officers in economically depressed HK who have fallen on hard times financially due to mortgages made prior to the collapse of the real estate market. They are harrassed by a group of loan sharks led by Lam Suet in a completely over the top performance.

The cops eventually decide to fight back and set up a "shark busting" operation that is semi-legal but very effective. It all comes to a final showdown with the loan sharks and their thugs in a streetfight that recalls the glory days of the Goo Wat Jai movies, except that here there's a very real economic motivation behind the machete-wielding mob.

The cops are portrayed by a strong ensemble cast including Danny Lee, the omnipresent Hui Siu-Hung, Alfred Cheung (in a smaller role) and most surprisingly, a gwailo actor who plays a Ferrari-driving lawyer moonlighting as an auxiliary cop because of a childhood fascination for guns. The interplay between these characters is great, and at times quite funny, especially when the white cop is involved (at one point, he arrests a criminal, rushes home, and then returns as the lawyer for the very same guy he just arrested). It was refreshing to see a white actor for once not as the villain, the boss or the butt of jokes but in a strong positive role playing a character who eventually is fully accepted by the Chinese characters; and it should be noted that Brian Ireland does steal every scene he's in.