What a downer! This film, directed by actor David Chiang, is like a really depressing episode of an American cop show from the 1970s.
Drug addict Kuan Cheng-Chun (Ti Lung) is a mess. Wandering around with the shakes, he bumps into old friend Tseng Chien (Wong Chung) who helps cure him. By locking him in a shed!
I am just thankful that this film didn't resort to any Joe Friday-Dragnet-style montages during this sequence to show the very 1970s-eseque Evils of Drugs!.
No, Kuan Cheng-Chun cleans up and is back teaching kung fu almost immediately. It's then that the police recruit the guy to help them crack a big case.
Oddly, police detective Paul Chun wants Kuan Cheng-Chun to help catch drug dealer Tseng Chien! Talk about irony.
As this thing progresses into a standard sort-of-crime thriller, I need to say one thing: the drugs angle is just a device, a gimmick, if you will.
Now, I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way but if you buy/rent The Drug Addicts and expect a look at the cost of addiction in 1974 Hong Kong, you are in for a rude surprise.
If, however, you want to see a film where two of the biggest stars of the Shaw studio are pitted against each other -- and directed by an even bigger star in the process -- then you might enjoy this film.
I'm not going to recount more of the plot as the film depends on the twists-and-turns and surprises for its limited power.
I watched it on VCD, but you can order The Drug Addicts on DVD here.