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公僕 (1984)
Law with Two Phases

Reviewed by: ekisha
Date: 09/21/2009
Summary: The royal police is no nurse!

Law With Two Phases is not only Danny Lee's first award winning film but also my first attempt in watching a Danny Lee film!
As a Frankie Chan fan i decided to collect all of his movies including this one(where he apprears as a producer). But I couldn't imagine that this movie would steal the crow from Chan and give it to Lee Sir! There are certain reasons to that. First Lee's charismatic persona and second the gun-porn.

While others say Better Tomorrow and Hard Boiled are the best in this genre but in my opinion the best is LWTP. Cause John Woo always tries to shoot romantic action scenes which might look beautiful but they are not realistic. Cause the good guys always take all the baddies easily. Or more accurate Chow Yun Fat against army of triads.
But Danny Lee is not Chow or Woo so he tries his best where both sides are equal and plus everything is believable. Don't forget Lee's satirical and fierce dialogues.

Overall LWTP is my favourite film after OCTB.

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 07/21/2006
Summary: GOOD!!

Better than expected, Danny Lee shows he has charisma which is enough to carry this movie.

His character takes a rookie cop, who knows more about theory than actually experience and molds him into a better cop!! But two rival gangs are causing trouble which eventually leads to a homicide but who is to blame??

The plot/story is nothing new,its almost like Danny Lee just goes through the motions, showing the rookie cops tactics used against the bad guys.

The unexpected part of this movie is the laughs you get from it!! This is a pleasant suprise!!

There really isnt that much i can say that is negative about this movie, it is still watchable in todays age. Just dont expect too much action and you will enjoy this movie

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 04/29/2005

In Hong Kong movies, as with other centers of cinema, there are certain actors known for particular roles: Chow Yun-Fat as a suave assassin, Jackie Chan as a comic kung-fu fighter and, of course, Danny Lee as a hot-headed cop. What might surprise many Western viewers is that Lee actually got his start in kung-fu movies (and the occasional oddity like Mighty Peking Man) before making his "true" on-screen persona known with this film, which was also his directorial debut. While it might be considered slow-moving by today's audiences weaned on MTV-inspired fare such as Gen-X Cops, Law with Two Phases (in this reviewer's opinion) still remains a powerful police drama that many modern films cannot match.

As someone who always wanted to be an officer (but for unknown reasons couldn't get into the police academy), Lee has always seemingly been obsessed with showing "real" police procedures in his movies, and Law with Two Phases would be the first in a long and continuing career trend for Lee. Not only would the movie bring him to stardom with a Hong Kong Film Award for his work in front of the camera, his HKFA-nominated work behind the lens would also provide inspiration for many poilce dramas to come. Though largely unrecognized by Western fans of the genre, Law with Two Phases is one of Lee's most solid films to date, even though there is an almost total absence of the ultra-violence which would later come to characterize his work.

Hong Kong police films before the 1980's were by and large drawn in shades of black and white. Lee himself appeared in a few of these, such as The Executor (a picture that also marked an early appearance of Chow Yun-Fat), which depended more on broad comedy and stilted action, rather than emotion and "blood and guts", to tell their stories. But movies like Dirty Harry inspired film-makers to bring a more true-to-life representation of life "behind the shield" to the screen. It is probably no small coincidence that Lee later named his production company "Magnum", after Harry Callahan's weapon of choice.

Along with pictures like Kirk Wong's The Club, Law with Two Phases helped usher in a new version of the police drama, where everything is painted in shades of grey, and tinged with social resonance and blows of violence. The gritty, almost documentary-like style was a bold charge against the almost cartoonish look of many action films of the time, and audiences, critics, and fellow directors responded. Within the span of a few years, the crime/cop drama was turned almost upside down. While it took John Woo's A Better Tomorrow to fully complete the transition, certainly Law with Two Phases had a large part in the evolution of the genre.

Desite the impact it would later have, the plot in Law with Two Phases is pretty simple. Danny Lee plays a CID officer named B who takes a "new fish" named Kit (Eddie Chan) under his wing. As you might expect, B doesn't exactly play by the rules, as he gets most of his busts through a relationship with Blackie, a local hood (played by Parkman Wong). But B also has a sensitive side, as shown through the relationship with his mother, which Kit respects. The two being to form a solid friendship and all seems to be going well until a series of events turns B's world inside out and makes him question why he became a police officer in the first place.

While this kind of thing might not appeal to patrons looking for Tarantino-esque plot antics, this kind of simple -- but effective -- story telling, in my mind, is refreshing in this day and age, where too many film-makers equate complication with compentency. I would much rather see a simple story told well than a more involved one done half-way. The viewer should not necessarily need to be in the director's frame of thinking to enjoy a movie. Even though the simple plot might not give the impact of later movies like The Killer, the results here provide a much more enjoyable experience than many more experimental films.

Though there really is not much in the way of action in Law with Two Phases, what puts the film above similar fare is the power of the performances. Of particular note is Danny Lee's work. Unlike the straight-forward, almost robotic cops he would for the most part portray later, B lets his facade fall in parts and this makes the character more human and more appealing to the viewer. The supporting cast also does a good job, and Lee's style allows enough pathos into the movie without letting it becoming melodramatic.

If you want to see a film that conveys power through emotion rather than gunpower, and also represents some of Hong Kong's best work in the crime/police drama genre, you could do much worse than Law with Two Phases. Even though you won't see any slow-motion shots of people diving down with dual pistols, it's still a powerful movie that will stick with you after you finish watching it.

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Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 08/15/2002
Summary: Average

As most honest Danny Lee fans would agree, once you've seen one Danny Lee cop film you've seen them all. This is just another example of that. It's far from original and pretty uninteresting. Even the action on the whole is not the top quality you'd expect from a Danny Lee film, and despite this being an action film, it's actually very limited.

His acting on the other hand is quite notable in this, and you see a complete different side of him when he's not running around shooting people. Tai Bo on the other hand ruins it, he just can't act.

Overall, if you've seen all his others and not this one, it's worth checking out. Otherwise, look at other titles like Law Enforcer, City on Fire etc instead as they are much better.


Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: Yellow Hammer
Date: 05/10/2001
Summary: gritty drama showing the working-class side of HK

Chief B (Danny Lee) is an unconventional CID member who relies more on instincts rather than by the book to resolve situations. He's a down-to-earth fellow who's a mamma's boy, not too well-educated, and an outstanding member of the CID. Police Officer Kit (Eddie Chan) has just been promoted from the rank-and-file to CID, and at the same time is studying for the test to become an Inspector. Chief B takes him under his wings to investigate numerous gang-related cases. Kit, previously a by-the-book type of police officer, learns a lot from Chief B.

The real story unfolds two-thirds of the way through the movie, when two tragedies occur, one that Chief B is directly involved with, and one that he had no control over. These tragedies really play on the mind of Chief B and tests his mettle.

Danny Lee won the 1984 HKFA Best Actor award for his portrayal of Chief B in the movie. He was also nominated for Best Director for this movie. This movie was his breakthrough movie and the springboard for his movies later on such as City on Fire and The Killer. He had been an actor for many years in many non-descript roles until this movie.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Interesting drama about a cop (Danny Lee) who after several yearsof loyal service as a policeman, will get in the heat after having accidentally shot a 6 years old boy. It's worth to be seen even if we saw that kind of story several times afterwards. The best part of the film is what follow the death of the kid, which is the second half of the picture. This is the film that made Danny Lee a star, as a matter of fact, he won several awards for his performance.

[Reviewed by Martin Sauvageau]