The Tigers 1991: A surprisingly dark and gritty crime thriller

Cops find their careers and their lives in jeopardy when they spend a gangster’s bribe money after releasing him from custody during a drug bust.

A surprisingly dark and gritty crime thriller that taxes your sympathy as five of the best cops in Hong Kong take some dirty drug money and proceed to watch everything go to hell. TVB’s Five Tigers (Andy Lau, Tony Leung or Luong Trieu Vy, Felix Wong, Miu Kiu-Wai) play four of the tigers, with Leung Ka-Yan as their captain.

The fifth TVB tiger (Ngu Ho Tuong: Doan Tuyet) doesn’t play one of the good guys – he instead plays the viciously evil bad guy Tung.

During a routine drug bust, Leung Ka-Yan lets Tung go because he was once his brother-in-law. Tung lets the cops have $10 million HK dollars, and in probably the film’s biggest suspension of disbelief, the five cops take the money. All except Felix Wong, that is, who manages to be righteous even while his cop brothers take the money with varying degrees of guilt. Sadly, the whole thing goes insane as Tung returns to blackmail the cops, and each step they take to stop Tung is met with an increasingly depressing darkness.

Some energetic action and dark moments make this flick work. But the disbelief at watching everything go to hell is a difficult problem. How could these five cops be so stupid? With that in mind, it’s hard to root for some of our heroes. Andy Lau (Luu Duc Hoa) turns in one of his more unrepentant performances, though his final act is worth sticking around for. Everything aside, there are some entertaining moments in this otherwise routine cop thriller.

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