Dog Bite Dog- -
A young Cambodian man who has been trained to fight for money in his country is hired to kill someone in Hong Kong. He performs the hit and then flees from Hong Kong police, who are wrestling with internal problems of a model cop and his son, who is also on the force and who was told by his dad not to become a police officer. The father goes into a coma after being shot, and internal affairs suspects him of dealing drugs on the side. The assassin then befriends a young girl who is molested and abused by her father. They both plan to get back on a ship to Cambodia but have to get past Hong Kong police, who do everything they can to catch him.
Soi Cheang has given the Hong Kong crime thriller a fierce overhaul in Dog Big Dog, building on his achievements in the 2004 actioner Love Battlefield with a uniquely engaging approach to the genre’s onscreen action and characters.
Continuing his shift from the standout horror work he made an international name with, Cheang this time pulls out all stops and ditches subtlety to grip and unsettle his audience with a tale of bloody pursuit.
A border-crossing thrill ride begins as a starving, animal-like Cambodian hit man (Edison Chen) is sneaked into Hong Kong for a job. He has a magistrate’s wife to kill in a restaurant and the mission goes without a hitch until the police show up to investigate. When quick-tempered and unorthodox cop Wai (Sam Lee) spots the suspicious-looking killer in the street, a showdown soon ensues. An arrest is made but it’s all for naught when the killer escapes, finding temporary refuge in a rubbish dump. The Cambodian soon heads for home, picking up a retarded girl (Pei Pei) and stabbing her abusive dad as he goes, but Wai isn’t going to give up the chase, even if that means journeying deep into Southeast Asia to find his man.
Playing out in brown-tinged images and set in a string of decrepit locales, from a junkyard shack to underground boxing joints to centuries-old ruins, Dog Bite Dog unfolds within its own vision of filth, violence and personal torment. Both the hunter and the hunted are deeply troubled, each emotionally scarred by cruel father figures and driven to emotional extremes by their pasts. Action is primal and direct, not extravagantly choreographed, and superb sound work adds to the film’s escalating savagery, pumping up onscreen duels with loud snarls and thuds. Lead actors Edison Chen and Sam Lee are equally up to the job for their harsh material whether duking it out in dusty boxing rings or, in Chen’s case, spitting out curt lines in Cambodian. Lam Ka-wah anchors a bleak side story as Wai’s father while Pei Pei makes a strong Hong Kong debut as the barely speaking girl the killer is able to bond with in hopes of starting fresh. The woman’s role brings on a radical turn toward romantic material near the final act, bringing a touch of much-needed light to Dog Bite Dog’s otherwise relentless charge, but there’s never any question that a vicious showdown is what’s ultimately in store.
Thanks to Far East Film Festival