Gangsterism as a Poor ‘Career’ Choice

Johnnie To’s modern classic film ‘PTU’ (Police Tactical Unit) is a cops and gangsters flick. But it is not just another one. In it is featured one of the most realistic scenes in the genre yet. A cocky gangster and his gang enter a restaurant and throw their weight around a little, before taking over a customer’s table. He even gets into a tension-filled staring incident with a cop who drops in for a meal. But when the cop leaves, shortly after his gang left to check ‘their territories’, the non-descript customer that he bullied, who had shied away earlier, brandishes a knife from a bag and stabs him, before swiftly disappearing via the backdoor. Turned out that he was an assassin biding his time in open ambush.

Now, why is this realistic? Since the earliest gangster movies I had seen, there has always this bugging thought… Why be a gangster who enrages the whole wide world, which includes those you bully, plus all cops and all gangsters from other rival gangs… when you can so easily be killed out of a single stroke of merciless vengeance? One’s life becomes super cheap, while filled with super tension most of the time. It’s just pointless to lead such a life – even for an instant. How can one escape all karmic fruits of violence when one continually scatters so many seeds of violence around? Each is a timebomb ‘waiting’ to explode. Kudos to undercover cops who choose to rough it out, with the moral greyness and all.

Related Articles:

Review of ‘Election’ & ‘SPL’
Cowardice Behind Gangsterism
PTU: Slips & Falls, Time & Again

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