This movie won director Cheang the Lotus Action Asia award at Deauville Asian Film Festival in 2007. The story is very basic, a cop hunting a criminal on the rundown urbanscape of Hong Kong, but what sets it apart from other crime thrillers is the style of the movie. Moreover, it is a great study of characters told in a gritty, dark, intense manner with lots of ultra-violent actions thrown in.

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A hired Cambodian hitman Pang, (Edison Chen) is sent to Hong Kong to carry out his assignment. Fresh off his boat, he calmly does his job, but in extreme cold blooded way. As he tries to flee Hong Kong, he runs into the police team of Inspector Wai (Sam Lee) and his men who are investing the murder case. Consequently, this leads to the very exciting and intense manhunt between these two rabid dogs. The lunatic Wai will stop at nothing to catch the equally brutal Pang, who kills both cops and hostages without blinking, as long as he can get away, accordingly leading to the high body counts along the way.

During this confrontation between Pang and Wai, we get to learn more about their past and how they become what they are, all through flashbacks. Pang is an orphan, brought up and trained as a merciless killer in Cambodia. Wai has his problem too, since his father, also a policeman, is in a coma after being shot doing his job. While on the run, Pang comes across an abused girl, Yu (Pei Wei-ying) living in a local landfill rubbish dump. Pang is touched by Yu’s good hearted nature, and the two soon bond and a friendship develops consequently leading Pang to take her to Cambodia. Of course, Wai is not far behind them, waiting for his chance to settle the score with Pang.

Edison Chen plays the heartless, violent Pang with ease, though he hardly speaks, his actions are mean and brutal. At the same time, he is able to convey caring emotion towards Yu. Equally outstanding is Sam Lee, as we can feel his pain and frustration as the tormented cop. Moreover, these two actors make us believe they really hate and are ready to kill each other if given the chance. The supporting actors are all good too, especially Lam Suet who is always likable. Although all the main characters speak very little, their behavior speaks volumes about their tormented souls and this actually pushes the story forward.

This is definitely Director Cheang Pou-soi’s best movie since 2004’s ‘Love Battlefield’. Here he takes us to the Hong Kong that is very unfriendly, with dimly lighted streets, gritty, and full of violence in every corner. The Cambodian setting at the end is even more harsh and sinister, shot in mostly dusty orange hue, a complete contrast to Hong Kong’s cooler but eerie atmosphere. The music used is sober, but harrowing and petrifying at the same time. Together with the chillingly filmed, brilliant visuals, he has created a Hong Kong and Cambodia that most tourists will not dare to go.

Overall, “Dog Bite Dog” is not a movie for everyone, the story is depressing, dealing with endless suffering of tragic characters; furthermore, the disturbing violence might even put some viewers off. But if you have a strong stomach, you will be rewarded with a truly great manhunt Hong Kong crime thriller of old, sadly missing in recent Asian cinema. Both unforgettable and powerful, “Dog Bite Dog” even manages to throw in a little romance that packs in some emotional punch. Highly recommended.

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