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the corruptor is a big silly mess of an action movie , complete with pointless plot turns and gratuitous violence .
it's not abhorrent , or even blatantly unlikable , but it doesn't make a shred of sense .
and whose idea was it to have the director of glengarry glen ross direct an action film ?
james foley knows a lot about characters and acting , and those are the strengths of the corruptor .
but the quiet scenes clash with the ludicrous action nonsense , and the result is less like a movie and more like a derailed train .
at least we have chow yun-fat in the lead role .
chow plays nick chen , a chinatown cop .
he's a good cop , as the first few scenes establish , and he's very familiar with chinatown .
that's probably why the powers-that-be decide to team him up with a rookie named danny wallace ( mark wahlberg ) .
nick and danny begin by stepping on each other's toes , but finally end up liking each other once they both get a chance to save the other one's life .
what happens after that is kind of a mystery to me .
i'm fairly certain that the villains are all part of the fukienese dragons , led by a young chinese psycho named bobby vu ( byron mann ) .
i'm also pretty sure that nick is on the payroll of henry lee ( ric young ) , a gangster dealing in prostitutes and other neat stuff .
i'm not quite sure why henry lee decides to employ danny , although this makes for some ridiculous ( albeit unpredictable ) plot twists along the way .
there's also an interesting subplot revolving around danny's father ( brian cox ) , but it doesn't have much to do with the main story .
one of the problems , as i said , is that the movie doesn't make any sense .
i don't blame this entirely on foley , because he's obviously a good director .
i'm more inclined to point my finger at robert pucci's script , which doesn't seem to be in tune to the way normal people act .
one scene early on had me particularly annoyed : nick confronts his boss because he's angry about his new white partner .
he's shouting and pointing his finger and stepping on the furniture , and i was thinking that i would have fired him if he had done that to me .
( in addition , the film takes a bite into race-related issues , and never develops them at all . )
there are a lot of scenes like this one , and none of them are very coherent .
there's also a considerable language barrier , given that chow and some of the other actors have thick chinese accents .
the plot itself never straightens out .
i'm not sure who or what the fukienese dragons are , or why henry lee is associated with them , or what they do as a group .
the corruptor is an action movie , and so all these weird plot developments are decorated with loud and violent action sequences .
the sequences aren't bad , but they're not new ; how many car chases through chinatown have you seen ?
on that note , how many chinatown cop movies have you seen ?
one too many , i'd imagine .
foley's strength is clearly in characterization , and he does a pretty good job here .
the scenes between nick and danny are very good , and i actually got a feel for their characters ; a bond forms between them that holds parts of the film together .
chow and wahlberg are both good actors ; chow is a pro , and can do this kind of stuff in his sleep .
wahlberg seems less at home in this atmosphere , but he's still fun to watch .
i also liked the subplot involving danny's father ; brian cox's performance is powerful , and his character makes a compelling moral compass for danny .
but the film ultimately fails , mostly at the hands of insane incoherence and overly-familiar action scenes .
a complicated plot can be successful , but the story needs to make sense when it's over .
the corruptor never manages to make any sense -- it just keeps spinning out of control until , finally , there's nothing left to hold on to .
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