Some equilibrium must be sustained when you mix crime and police corruption. Where The Corruptor fails is the lack of originality. Where it succeeds is the conflicting personalities of Wahlberg and Yun-Fat. Yun-Fat plays that familiar rogue cop whose ethics and morality dissipates as his career as a NYC cop matures. Wahlberg plays that new cop who's seen some action, but not like this. Pitted together in a thinned out undercover Asian gang unit, Yun-Fat is a crooked cop playing guardian angel behind Wahlberg's back to keep him on the right side of the law, while Wahlberg is slipping deeper into Chinatown corruption that rules New York's underworld. And if you buy into Wahlberg and Yun-Fat's charisma then you just want to know how these two crooked cops get themselves out from under the thumbs of their own conscience and the men that put them there. The first quarter of the flick fattens you up on low-calorie action sequences before getting you into the thick of the plot. James Foley does a pretty good job bringing the action squealing around the pre-skid marked corners and lucked out with some good hub cap-flying sequences during the fishtails and bumper kisses. The beautiful colors used in the movie are well-placed and accented against the corpses flying through a glass window propelled by a 12-gauge blast. But with all the slick and stylish violence in the movie it's not a perfect one. There's a scene where Wahlberg is alone in a Chinatown basement and uses a flashlight to find his way around, but there's second light in front of him to make sure he doesn't trip on anything and we, the audience, can see the lock on the door before he kicks it in.
Where this movie slumps is the fact that this is just another Hollywood action flick in lust with Hong Kong cinema. And HK flicks are fun to watch, but like everything else they seem to have run their course and we need to slim down on those imports before we're sick of them. Oops, too late.
Trailer, Music Video, Behind the Scenes with the un-rated and expanded car chase, Director Commentary, Script-to-Screen DVD-ROM.
Other Recommended American/Asian Hybrids:
Year of the Dragon not to be confused with Kiss of the Dragon and the Black Rain that falls on The Replacement Killers.
The Corruptor (3 out of Four)
R, 1999, 110 min., New Line Home Video.
Chow Yun-Fat, Mark Wahlberg, Ric Young, Paul Ben-Victor, Byron Mann, Brian Cox, Music Score by Carter Burwell, Executive Producers Oliver Stone, Terence Chang, Bill Carraro and Jay Stern, Produced by Dan Halsted, Written by Robert Pucci and Directed by James Foley.