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The Boston Globe


Movie Review

In ‘Drug War,’ think of Jinhai as Albuquerque east

Brand-name Hong Kong action director Johnnie To (“Election”) teaches us a few things with his newly imported crime thriller, “Drug War.” For starters, we’re shown how closely China’s narcotics trade mirrors the West’s, from desperate mule runs to undercover busts. At the same time, we learn that the country has a zero-tolerance policy on meth manufacturing: Get caught cooking even a couple of ounces, and you get the death penalty. (Try doing that math, “Breaking Bad” fans.)

Something else we get from the movie: another inkling of the style limitations perhaps most responsible for To’s lower visibility stateside compared with, say, his countrymen John Woo and Wong Kar-wai.

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