Big, Bad Cops

When he's not making sugary chinese New Year trifles with Andy Lau, overemployed Hong Kong director Johnnie To prefers life on the city's cinematic mean streets. His 1999 film The Mission was a highlight of the low-life genre, a noirish masterpiece that lionized criminals and their ritualized codes of honor. But even while flirting with darkness, To has sought out the heroic in his antiheroes, never giving into nihilism. Redeemable bad guys will always be better for the box office.

With his latest film, PTU, which co-opened this year's Hong Kong Film Festival, To redefines his signature style....

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