PIFFF 2022: we saw Detective vs. Sleuths, an old

Seeing good old-fashioned HK action thrillers in theaters is still possible at PIFFF. The proof with Detective vs. Sleuths.

We are often pointed out in comments: there is not onlyAvatar in life. That’s why between two articles about James Cameron’s camera bolts, we go into exile at the Paris International Fantastic Film FestivalPIFFF for those close to you, where fantastic nuggets and welcome exports are screened from December 6 to 12.

In addition to the opening film, the very pleasant ShinUltraman (which we had already talked about after its screening at the Utopiales), Asian industries are still largely in the spotlight out of competition, with the Japanese-Korean missingexcellent surprise to the ruptures of your arch-mastered and the Chinese (finally Hong Kongese) Detective vs. Sleuths. The feature film directed by Wai Ka-fai was eagerly awaited by fans of HK cinema of the heyday, because of his filiation with a certain Mad Detective

Front gun

Mad Detective, it is perhaps the most famous work of this brave Wai Ka-fai, forever associated with his colleague Johnnie To, since he co-founded his legendary production company Milkyway Image and assisted him or accompanied many times. The two filmmakers have directed more than ten films together, not counting the productions of Johnnie To written by Wai Ka-fai, such as Drug War in 2012. It is also together that they staged Mad Detective in 2008, a pop thriller that became a model of post-Retrocession entertainment in the eyes of his admirers.

The director’s first solo feature film since Written By in 2009, Detective vs. Sleuths more or less uses the same principlealways with the awesome Ching Wan Lau (seen recently in the blockbuster Warriors of Future) in a detective role with paranormal powers that no one takes seriously. The actor also seems delighted to resume his character of sweet crazy in uniform since he is once again in absolute overspeed, screaming the replicas of his imaginary enemies in the streets of Hong Kong.

Detective vs.  Sleuths: PicturesBurn, baby burn

But it’s more a spiritual sequel than a remake, since very quickly the confrontation of the title takes shape, between a band of vigilantes who call themselves “the chosen ones” and the local police. With, as a hatchet promptly unearthed, a series of murders apparently without connections, neither one nor two, the story deploys its intrigue at top speed. It connects at a frantic pace of good ideas (like these shootings between rocket launchers and outstretched fingers) which leave on the kneecaps… but entertains non-stop for more than 1h30 with a lot of embedded twists and delirious pursuits, and this until a climax that explodes everywhere, literally.

A gigantic race all in bubble shots and daring deviations, which intends to pay homage to the golden age of HK thrillers (in addition to an amusing nod to Memories of Murder), and in particular the careers of Johnnie To and John Woo, whose Foolproof hangs over the last act. A Saturday night treat which proves once again that Hong Kong cinema did not die with the Retrocession and that it sometimes even manages to rediscover the ardor of the 1980s and 1990s… provided that its transgressive value is omitted. Sometimes spectacular, but totally harmless, Hong Kong cinema continues somehow to shake up the programming of European festivals. And so much the better.

PIFFF 2022: we saw Detective vs. Sleuths, an old-school boosted HK thriller