Meandering and deliberately uneventful, PTU is almost a total waste of Johnny To regular Simon Yam (Election). PTU seems intentionally to subvert audience expectations, suggesting an action that never occurs. This is no gung-ho SWAT squad; there are no ballistic showdowns. Rather, Yam’s police inspector seeks to keep the law quietly while covering up for the coppers that break it.
To’s aiming for a Waiting for Godot quality, where the waiting is all, and nothing much happens. Even his triad picture, Election – surprisingly lauded by the critics - shared this snails-pace sensibility.
Ever since Andrew Lau wooed eastern and western audiences with Infernal Affairs, contemporary Hong Kong cop ‘n’ gangster thrillers have been in demand. And Johnny To has risen to the call. Sadly, he hasn’t risen very high. And nor will PTU.