Thursday, June 13, 2024

I Did It My Way movie review & film summary (2024)

Like a few other contemporary Hong Kong policers, “I Did It My Way” pits sweat-soaked Hong Kong cops against a respectable-looking crook and his vast criminal organization. Lau plays the crook, George Lam, a taciturn barrister who’s suspected of dealing all kinds of drugs on the “dark web.” George peddles Super Molly and other illegal substances under the watchful eyes of Officer Fong Hing (Eddie Peng), the baby-faced Super-Intendent of the Hong Kong police’s cyber-crimes unit. Fong’s determined to stop the drugs, but his secret weapon is actually a double agent: Sau Ho, Lam’s all-purpose “cleaner,” played by Gordon Lam.

The melodramatic stakes are set high enough in some ancillary scenes, like when George Lam asks his pregnant wife Vivian (Yase Liu) to marry him. “I’ll think about it,” she says. These brief moments don’t change how conventional the rest of the plot tends to be, between Sau Ho’s unclear motivation—he either wants to emigrate with his family, or to beat Lam and remain a cop (first choice)—and the ultimate fate of Vivian’s pregnancy.

“I Did It My Way” helmer Jason Kwan doesn’t always focus on his actors; more often than not he’s advancing a formulaic cops-and-crooks plot. Still, Kwan (co-director of both “Chasing the Dragon” and its in-name-only sequel) delivers a superior programmer whenever he slows down long enough to highlight Lau and Lam’s work. As Sau Ho, the prolific Lam nails suggests a lot with his usual hyper-tense physicality. Lau still sweeps him and everyone else off the screen, whether he’s smiling broadly at the cops, brooding quietly in his car, or texting his guys to “eliminate” various enemies. Lau single-handedly knocks the movie into a higher gear when Lam snarls, “Let’s see if you can escape” from behind the wheel of his Rolls Royce and prepares to run over Sau Ho and his family.

Then again, the best scene in “I Did It My Way” doesn’t feature Lau at all. Peng’s stern superintendent briefly grabs the spotlight long enough to rescue Sau Ho from a young-ish looking killer. Fong valiantly body-slams through various plates of glass and shelves of bottles in a private wine cellar. It might be the first great action scene of year, and while anybody could’ve filled Fong’s shoes, Peng commits at least as much as the adrenalized scene requires.

“I Did It My Way” may still leave you wanting more if you don’t want to adjust your expectations so much. Maybe you expect more from a movie that features several supporting cast members who can and sometimes did out-do Lau in their earlier collaborations. Like, why isn’t there more of Simon Yam, who plays a constipated-looking cop, and mostly leans on empty chairs and/or puts his hands on his hips? And what’s the deal with Super Molly, a synthetic drug that’s apparently too strong for its users, as we see in a to-the-bone cutaway scene? Any way you slice it, you’ll likely forget most of “I Did It My Way” soon after watching it; there’s only so much to see between dark web hacking and police raid shoot-outs.

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