Dark War (HK 2000)

Rating: **
Review Date: 7/9/06
Cast: Peter Ho, Yasuaki Kurata, Pinky Cheung

Ken Tsui (moody Peter Ho) is a professional hitman working for Yasuaki Kurata in the Philippines. When he breaks the rules of the underworld by sparing the life of a target, he sets into motion a tragic sequence of events for everyone he cares about.

A mediocre thriller at best, the film's greatest strength is its stylish and attractive camera work. The pacing is sluggish and the narrative is severely broken up by too many flashbacks. The film is also bookended by two completely inexplicable sequences, and the climax of the film is baffling. More than anything, the film is a showcase for Peter Ho's smoldering charisma, and he broods and poses his way through the film to stunning effect. He's also a pretty good martial artist, although the action scenes are rather minimalistic. Action veteran Yasuaki Kurata has one fight scene (in a flashback, no less), but otherwise has very little to do. Like many of the films that came out of Hong Kong after the Chinese takeover, "Dark War" is overly conservative in its depth and scope, and does nothing to distinguish itself from similar fare.