A brilliant detective is forced into early retirement after losing eyesight. Making ends meet by solving cold cases for reward money, he teams up with a rookie lady inspector to solve a case from her personal past.
User Reviews: Johnnie To’s latest film marks a long-anticipated reunion of Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng, the rom-com triad has chalked up magical box-office draw and successes in the Aughts (most victorious ones are LOVE ON A DIET 2001, 7/10 and NEEDING YOU 2000, 8/10), and after a 9- year-hiatus (since YESTERDAY ONCE MORE 2004, 6/10), this "iron triangle" has notched up an inspiring comeback which ingeniously imbues a lighthearted rom-com into an out-of-left-field detective thriller with an adequate whodunit revelation in the end.
For international territory, Johnnie To is mostly appreciated by his grim and stylized portrayal of Hong Kong’s crime and gangster underbellies, a patriarch ruling world of ambitious figures seeking for money, women and power, but his collaboration with Lau and Cheng is a consistent offshoot from To and his own MILKY WAY IMAGE COMPANY’s prolific filmography, not to mention is his most popular and profitable ones. So the innovation banks on how To would mingle his trademark darker traits into the audience-friendly couple (Lau and Cheng, indicates their 7th on-screen alliance as lovers), which could allure both To’s hardcore fans and a wider general appeal from a maturer demography. Judging by the finished film, the tentative stab is a smart move, BLIND DETECTIVE is on its way of becoming To’s most money-earning film in mainland China market (previously the record was just freshly held by To’s earlier drug-cartel undercover drama DRUG WAR 2012).
A posh Andy Lau, a former police officer who has been blind in lieu of his negligence of his own health in order to track suspects, teamed with a wealthy policewoman (Cheng), who is obsessed with the disappearance of her friend 20 years ago, together they manage to crack a few unsolved cases while put their own lives in danger. For Lau’s method of deducing, if you are familiar with the new series HANNIBAL, imaging oneself at the murder scene and incarnating one’s identity as the culprit to visualize what had happened is not new, but the mind-cum-body default (Lau is the mastermind while Cheng is the right-hand woman does all the action labor) works wonder here, with Cheng’s ongoing crush on Lau, the pair sparks off a flavorful rib-tickling screwball casualness allies with the horrid cases they are working on, a superb visual stunt comes from the mortuary slaughter, gallows humor galore.
Sammi Cheng is burdened with a great quantity of physical endeavor out of her slim frame, furthermore she is exhorted to deliver her career-best stretches as the film demands, i.e. the myriad avatars of heartbroken female victims, and her comical timing with Lau is another linchpin to the success. Lau, an epicure more than a sleuth, is amiable and emits his deadly debonair all over the devil-may-care script. Among supporting roles, mainland players Tao Guo and Yuanyuan Gao are sidelined only as comic relief, while a cocktail of veteran Hong Kong thespians is shortchanged by the brevity of their presence.
Strictly speaking, the process of disclosing the perpetrators is not as cogent as it seems, the hyperbole of Lau’s knack (against his blindness) is sometimes pulling audiences out of the picture a bit, but BLIND DETECTIVE is a paradigm of To and his team’s great attempt to concoct a genre-blender which is both entertaining and ruminative, it is an earnest piece of work, a precious gem considering the plight of China’s mainstream cinema (potboilers are brimful while the market is rising at an exponential rate), Johnnie To, is the last straw of the once-glorious Hong Kong film industry and he is the trailblazer refuses to compromise or pander for the unique policy-oriented requirements, calling for emulators and successors.