Review by James McDonald
A scandal that shocked a nation: the biggest financial scam in Hong Kong’s history, with all 7 million citizens its unknowing victims. Chief Officer Luk of anti-corruption force ICAC has set a trap, but the web of greed, power, sex, and deception he uncovers reaches the highest levels of power in his own government – and beyond.
“Z Storm” is a taut, riveting thriller about a Bernie Madoff-style ponzi scheme that takes place in the city of Hong Kong. Chief Officer William Luk (Louis Koo), the lead investigator of ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption), who operates independently of the Hong Kong Civil Service, has been collecting evidence through covert surveillance in a case involving a mysterious company that will collect billions of dollars from the government and also the general public that will be combined into a Z Hedge Fund once it’s publicly listed.
When up-and-coming Superintendent Wong Man Bin (Gordon Lam) of the Hong Kong Police Department is accused of beating his wife, she not only appears at police headquarters sporting a black eye and wanting to press charges but also provides photographic evidence of his sports bag, filled with over $10 million the night before. This sets off an investigation by ICAC and as Officer Luk begins his inquiry, he will soon discover that its reach goes into the corridors of power and deep inside the Hong Kong Police Department.
The movie undergoes occasional melodrama but it more than makes up for it with some solid performances and a few genuinely effective tension-filled scenes. Sadly the finale, which suffers from a hackneyed, unexciting car chase followed by a substandard shootout at a safe house, almost ruins an otherwise intriguing movie. If you want an exciting Asian movie, check out some of John Woo’s earlier work including his masterpieces “The Killer” and “Hard Boiled.”
On Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand now