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Mad Detective

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Director  Johnnie To, Wai Ka-fai
Initial DVD release  February 12, 2008
Language  Cantonese
7.2/10 IMDb

Genre  Action, Crime, Thriller
Screenplay  Wai Ka-fai, Au Kin-yee
Country  Hong Kong
Mad Detective movie poster
Release date  6 September 2007 (2007-09-06) (Toronto Film Festival) 29 November 2007 (2007-11-29) (Hong Kong) 18 July 2007 (2007-07-18) (VOD-US)
Writer  Ka-Fai Wai, Kin-Yee Au
Cast  Sean Lau (Inspector Chan Kwai Bun), Andy On (Inspector Ho Ka On), Gordon Lam Ka-Tung (Ko Chi Wai (as Lam Ka Tung)), Kelly Lin (May Cheung), Kwok-Lun Lee (Wong Kwok Chu (as Lee Kwok Lun)), Choi-ning Lee (Gigi (as Karen Lee))
Similar movies  Directed by Johnnie To, Detective movies, Crime fiction
Tagline  I can see a person's inner personality.

Mad detective trailer

Chan Kwai Bun (Lau Ching Wan) has the power to see peoples "inner personalities," making him a very capable, if unorthodox and unstable, police detective. He is invited back to active duty by Ho Ka On (Andy On), a cop investigating the disappearance of a fellow officer whose weapon has been used in multiple robberies. Ho and Ko Chi Wai (Lam Ka Tung), the missing cops partner, go after an Indian suspect. Bun, however, can see both mens inner selves and suspects something else at play.


Mad Detective movie scenes

Mad Detective (Chinese: ??) is a 2007 Hong Kong psychological thriller film produced and directed by Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai. Mad Detective was first screened at the 64th Venice International Film Festival, and later premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, before being released in Hong Kong on 29 November 2007. The films screenplay won "Best Screenplay" awards at various Asian film ceremonies.

Mad Detective movie scenes

A rookie cop teams up with a former detective with a supernatural gift to hunt down a serial killer.


Mad Detective movie scenes

Chan Kwai-Bun (Sean Lau) is a brilliant detective with a supernatural gift seeing a persons "inner personalities," or hidden ghosts. However, he is forced into retirement after severing his ear and presenting it to his retiring boss.

Mad detective 2008 movie trailer 1080p hd hq

Years later, Inspector Ho Ka-On (Andy On) is investigating the case of Wong Kwok-Chu (Lee Kwok-Lun), a colleague who went missing when he and his partner, Ko Chi-Wai(Lam Ka-Tung), were in pursuit of a suspect. Wong has been AWOL for 18 months, and his gun has been used in a series of armed robberies. Ho turns to Bun, who now lives in seclusion with his imaginary wife, May Cheung (Kelly Lin).

Mad Detective movie scenes It is obvious why Mad Detective threw so many mainstream critics in a state of mass confusion This film is unlike anything we have ever seen from Johnnie

Bun comes out of retirement and discovers that rather than being one man, Chi-Wai is a seven-spirit collective, with each perhaps representing an aspect of the seven deadly sins with the head, or brain, being a business-like woman. He also discovers that Chi-Wai had his gun stolen by an Indian, named Naresh Sherma, so he killed Wong to steal his gun.

Mad Detective movie scenes Mad Detective Opening Scene

When investigating, Bun takes Hos gun and identification and runs off. Chi-Wai assaults Ho, in an attempt to take his stolen gun. Bun meets Ho again later on where he sees Hos inner personality, a scared, bewildered child. Ho attempts to take in Chi-Wai by himself but, upon finding out that Chi-Wais gun, which was taken from Wong, matched Chi-Wais gun (Chi-Wai altered his guns information online), he begins to trust Chi-Wai. Bun sends an SMS to Ho, telling him that after Chi-Wai gets his old gun back again by killing Naresh, he would kill Ho, but the latter does not believe him.

Chi-Wai and Ho go to a warehouse and find Naresh, with Bun in pursuit. Bun tries to warn Ho of what will happen again, but Ho, not believing Bun and believing that Bun is the enemy, calls him to reveal his position. A shootout occurs, ultimately leading to Naresh and Bun pointing their guns at Chi-Wai and Ho pointing his girlfriends gun at Bun. Chi-Wai kills Naresh while Ho shoots Bun. Chi-Wai turns and shoots Ho, as predicted by Bun. Bun, however, begins to limp towards Chi-Wai, who shoots and fatally wounds him. Bun ultimately kills Chi-Wai.

Just as Bun dies, he sees Hos inner personality, the scared boy, being led by a business-like woman, which looks eerily similar to the woman that led Chi-Wai. Ho then begins to endlessly arrange and rearrange everyones guns to fabricate his own story, like Chi-Wai did.


  • Sean Lau as Inspector Chan Kwai-Bun, a former police detective.
  • Lam Ka-Tung as Officer Ko Chi-Wai, a policeman, who is considered a suspect in the disappearance of another officer, Wong Kwok-Chu.
  • Andy On as Inspector Ho Ka-On, a detective trying solve the disappearance of Police Officer Wong Kwok-Chu.
  • Kelly Lin as May Cheung, Buns imaginary wife.
  • Flora Chan also plays May Cheung as seen through Buns eyes.
  • Lee Kwok-Lun as Officer Wong Kwok-Chu, the missing police officer.
  • Jo Kuk as a cunning woman, who appears as Ho Ka-Ons inner personality
  • Jay Lau as a calculating woman, who appears as one of seven of Kos inner personalities.
  • Lam Suet as Fatso, one of Kos seven inner personalities.
  • Cheung Siu-fai as a violent man who is one of Kos seven inner personalities.
  • Eddy Ko as a retiring police chief.
  • Reception

    The film was awarded a Category III rating, an 18+ restriction rating in Hong Kong. Prior to the films release, Wai Ka-Fai discussed the films rating, saying that the rating was based on one exceptionally violent scene in the movie and since he felt the scene was crucial to the story he and his partner, Johnnie To, refused to delete it to get a Category IIB rating.

    Mad Detective was screened at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festivals Special Presentations, a showcase for daring and artistic films with high-profile stars or directors. It also premiered in at the 64th Venice International Film Festival where it was nominated for a Golden Lion Award.

    Critical response

    The film currently holds an 83% "fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 18 reviews. Another review aggretator, Metacritic, gave the film a 68/100 approval rating based on 7 reviews following under the "generally favorable reviews" category.

    Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote that the film is "insanely inventive and entertaining." Ty Burr of the Boston Globe wrote that Mad Detective "is equal parts gonzo inspiration and overwrought indecision", and nicknamed the film "The Lunatic From Kowloon."

    Box office

    Upon its release in Hong Kong, Mad Detective faced stiff competition with American films 30 Days of Night and The Heartbreak Kid. The film was released on 29 November 2007, making first place and grossing over HK$3.84 million; the film was considered a great success by its Hong Kong distributor China Star, which took it out on a midsized 30 prints. Finally, it had grossed over HK$10.67 million, which is considered to be a very good result for a film that received a Category III rating in Hong Kong.


    Independent film distributor IFC Films picked up the distribution rights to Mad Detective. The studio distributed the film in theatres and through VOD on 18 July 2008, the same day as part of its First Take program.

    Eureka Entertainment acquired the distribution rights for the United Kingdom, opening theatrically on 18 July 2008 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) London and nationwide after that, with DVD and Blu-ray Disc editions released on 20 October 2008 as part of their Masters of Cinema series.


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