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Pick of the week: China’s dark and dirty “Drug War”

I don’t know for sure whether the phrase “Drug War” carries the same dark ambivalence in Chinese as it does in English, but veteran Hong Kong director Johnnie To’s new film of that title certainly does. To has made more than 50 movies in many different genres, including romances and comedies, but remains closely identified with violent crime dramas, including the international hits “Election” and “Triad Election.” This is To’s first production in mainland China -- the Hong Kong film industry remains autonomous, even 16 years after reunification – and the big budget and big social canvas have called forth one of his best movies, a dense and involving police procedural with a dash of the grotesque and a persistent undertone of doom.

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