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Original Title:
Hak bak sam lam

Hong Kong 2003

Thriller, Action

Wong Jing
Marco Mak

Anthony Wong Chau-Sang
Raymond Wong Ho-Yin
Jordan Chan
Francis Ng
Lau Ching Wan
Gillian Chung
Tse Yin
Chapman To
Pinky Cheung
Terence Yin

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Colour of the Truth

Story: Police Officer Seven-Up (Lau Ching Wan) is bribed by gangster boss Blind Chiu. At one of their meetings Officer Huang (Anthony Wong Chau-Sang) appears, who is after Blind Chiu for quite some time. Huang and Seven-Up are actually good friends, but only Huang surives the showdown between the three on a rooftop. Officially, Seven-Up was accidentally shot on duty by Huang. The son of Seven-Up, Cola (Raymond Wong Ho-Yin) is still just a little child, but in the following years his hate for the murderer of his father, Officer Huang, grows and after his training he becomes a good cop. Since Cola's mother married again two times, his name changed and he can secretly keep an eye on Huang.
As chance would have it, Cola is transfered to Huangs division. On his first case with Huang, the protection of a retired gang boss against a vietnamese terrorist, Cola learns to know Huang's human side. It seems as if Huang is one of the good cops, but did he possibly kill his father anyway?
Businessman Ray (Jordan Chan) is the son of Blind Chiu and also bears a grudge against Huang. At a meeting with Cola he makes himself clear, that he wants Huang to die. If Huang in fact killed his father, Cola could be the one to fulfill his wish...

Review: "Colour of the Truth" has been produced during the peak of the "Infernal Affairs"-hype, and you can't miss that because there is a lot that feels familiar. Fortunately, the movie isn't a cheap copy, but an extremely thrilling Hong Kong Cop-Thriller!

While the movie is thrilling until the end, it doesn't abstain from action sequences and shoot-outs, like his big brother did. The main reason, why the movie stands out from the mainstream good-for-nothing cop-thrillers, is its intelligent story and its numerous twists. The narration style also adds to the high tension. The viewer knows just as much as Cola and only gets to know what Cola finds out about the events, that took place at the rooftop between his father, Huang and Blind Chiu. But apart from this main plot, there is also a well done and exciting gangsterboss-story, that offers enough space for twists, questionable characters and traitors.

The movie has been directed, produced and written by Wong Jing, who is actually more or less famous for his at best average movies. So it is surprising that not only the story is pretty good, but also the direction has been done with quite some skills. At least the credits for the direction could go out to Marco Mak, who was helping out Wong. Therefore, the movie has some nice camera shots, that sometimes remind us of "Infernal Affairs", and even the action sequences have been choreographied quite well. Sadly, at some certain points you can see, that some of the more bloody scenes have been cut out in the last minute to make the movie available for a wider audience.
There is also some good use of stylistic tricks, for example the use of added explanations for some certain scenes or even visions of the protagonists of what might happen next.

Nonetheless, the best movie is only half as exciting if you can't identify with the characters. Luckily, "Colour of the Truth" lets you identify with them. Actually, some of the characters are portrayed so well, that it's just fun watching them. Of course, the true master Anthony Wong Chau-Sang overshadows them all. You instantly can identify with his character, although it's not even clear if he is one of the good or bad guys! The role of the officer, who is plagued by a dark secret, seems to be made just for Anthony Wong, although we already know that he can play everything.

Unfortunately, the movie is in a sore need of Wong's great performance, because his on-screen partner Raymond Wong Ho-Yin hasn't been the best choice for the role of Cola. He oftentimes gives us a wooden performance and behaves quite distanced.
The rest of the cast is filled with some big names. Aside from Lau Ching-Wan in a little cameo, there is also Patrick Tse Yin or Gillian Chung as supporting cast, and not to forget Jordan Chan and Francis Ng. And of course, no one else than Chapman To is responsible for the funny part of the movie.

Those who like exciting cop-thriller with an intelligent story, nice character drawings and a bunch of twists, shouldn't miss "Colour of the Truth". Of course, you shouldn't be bothered too much about the fact, that most of the protagonists are named after some soda pop... Because apart from that, we get a action-packed and at every moment thrilling movie.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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