Island Of Greed cast: Andy Lau, Tony Leung director: Michael Mak 120 minutes (18) 1997 widescreen aspect ratio 2.35:1 Hong Kong Classics DVD Region 2 retail RATING: 9/10 reviewed by Steven Hampton

Island Of Greed is a well-staged gangster drama of authoritarian corruption set in Taiwan. Super cop Fong (Lau) opposes the ideology and brash lifestyle of politically motivated triad kingpin Chau (Leung). The two men face off in a number of impressively slick stunts, and mind-bogglingly original action scenes. This mimics the magnificent urban scale of American movies like De Palma’s The Untouchables or Cimino’s Year Of The Dragon, but with 007 style flourishes and comedic asides. The Hong Kong superstars are both on top form here. At 40, Lau has already made over 100 films, and balances screen stardom with a successful pop singing career. Leung’s less prolific movie credits include New Dragon Gate Inn, A Better Tomorrow 3 opposite Chow Yun-fat, and controversial 1991 drama The Lover.
Full-scale street rioting between the drivers of rival taxi firms owned by crooks, and the unforgettable climax where a helicopter gunship intercepts the escaping convoy of villains, make this a thriller to savour but it’s the nuanced performances from Lau and Leung that hold it together.
The packaging wrongly states this film is only 95 minutes when it’s two hours. DVD extras comprise a stills gallery, biographies and filmographies, Dolby digital 2.0 sound with English subtitles, and a trailer.