Tactical Unit (film series)

Tactical Unit (機動部隊, kei tung bou deui) is a series of films produced by Johnnie To with studio Milkyway Image, featuring the adventures of two columns of PTU officers, the Kowloon West Police Station and its CID officers, of Hong Kong. The films are in Cantonese.

The film series spun off from the feature film directed by Johnnie To, PTU: Police Tactical Unit, giving it five sequels.[1][2][3] Original conception on PTU started before 2002.[4]


Films in the series include:

International title Traditional Chinese title Cantonese title English translation Year Director Notes References
PTU: Police Tactical Unit PTU PTU PTU 2003 Johnnie To
Also called Tactical Unit: Into the Perilous Night [5]
Also called Police Tactical Unit[6]
Tactical Unit: The Code 機動部隊─警例 Kei Tung Bou Deui: Ging Lai Mobile Tactical Unit – Police Cases 2008 Wing-cheong Law
This film is sometimes called PTU 2[11][12]
Tactical Unit: No Way Out 機動部隊─絕路 Kei Tung Bou Deui: Juet Lou Mobile Tactical Unit – Road to Ruin 2009 Lawrence Ah Mon [16][17][18]
Tactical Unit: Human Nature 機動部隊─人性 Kei Tung Bou Deui: Yan Sing Mobile Tactical Unit – Humanity 2009 Andy Ng [19][20][21]
Tactical Unit: Comrades in Arms 機動部隊─衕袍 Kei Tung Bou Deui: Tung Pou Mobile Tactical Unit – Colleagues 2009 Wing-cheong Law
This film is also called PTU 2[22][23][24]
This film is also called Tactical Unit[25]
Tactical Unit: Partners 機動部隊─伙伴 Kei Tung Bou Deui: Fo Pun Mobile Tactical Unit – Partners 2009 Lawrence Ah Mon [28][29][30]

The film series stars Simon Yam, Maggie Shiu and Lam Suet.



"Partners" is the last film in the film series.[31]

The film revolves around the criminal underworld of dark skinned non-Chinese, and discrimination by Chinese against the darker skinned non-Chinese, with the PTU and CID investigating a criminal plot by an Indian criminal kingpin.[31]

Comrades in Arms

"Comrades in Arms" has been featured in the 2009 Hong Kong Film Panorama in Brussels,[32] the 2009 New York Asian Film Festival of New York City,[33] the 2009 Zero em Comportamento festival of Lisbon,[34] and the 2009 Fantasia Festival of Montreal.[35]

The film deals with the rivalry of the two PTU columns commanded by May and Sam, as May has been proffered a promotion, and Sam has been in the field much longer, and the actions of their commander, Ho in preferring May's column over Sam's in their PTU platoon. Their rivalry leads to disrupted interaction and communication when many PTU units are used in a search for a gang of criminals holed up on a forested mountain.[36]

Human Nature

"Human Nature" focuses on the always-in-debt CID officer Tong, and his travails to try to repay the debt he owes a loanshark. With his feeble attempts to repay the debt, he gets himself entangled with a gang of killers from mainland China, who are out killing criminals to rob them of their money, and using an ideological basis to justify the killings as protecting mainland China from the criminal scum of Hong Kong.[37]

No Way Out

"No Way Out" is the second sequel to the original PTU.[38]

The film focuses on the retarded Fai and his girlfriend, rather than the members of the PTU, and life in the Temple Street district. It follows Fai, as he is physically coerced to do things by the PTU, and two rival triads, and the resultant consequences and violence that is paid in return for those actions.[38]

The Code

"The Code" has been featured in the 2008 Far East Film Festival of Udine; it is the first entry spun off of PTU.[39][40] The script for the film was written by Yip Tin Shing.[41]

The film focuses on the aftermath of an unreported beating meted out by a PTU column on a person in a back alley that was caught on a camera placed by the tourism bureau. The West Kowloon Police Station comes under investigation by an investigative committee of the police, as the film follows various members of the police with different motivations try to find the person who was beaten, to settle different goals, with a subplot of another member of the PTU having gotten into administrative trouble before the investigation began and having difficulty dealing with it.[41]

Into the Perilous Night

Main article: PTU (film)

"Into The Perilous Night" has won many awards. In 2004, it won five awards at the ninth annual Golden Bauhinia Awards.[42] It also gave Johnnie To a Best Director award at the 2004 Hong Kong Film Awards.[43] The film has also been featured in many film festivals. It was shown at the 2003 St. Louis International Film Festival;[44] It has a score of 57% at RottenTomatoes.com[45]

The film focuses on the aftermath of CID Lo losing his service revolver, and the night that follows, with PTU patrols and rival criminal gangs seeing action on the street in the climax of the film.[45]


In addition to the official entries in the series, as in Hong Kong tradition, other films have been named with similar titles, to take advantage of the fame and popularity surrounding PTU, which have no relation to the series at all.

One of these is "PTU女警之偶然陷阱" (PTU File – Death Trap) from 2005, written, produced and directed by Tony Leung Hung-Wah.[46][47][48][49]


  1. YesAsia, Tactical Unit – Complete Series (accessed 21 Dec 2009)
  2. Amazon.com, PTU – Tactical Unit (accessed 21 December 2009)
  3. The Film Catalogue, "Tactical Unit 1–5" (accessed 2009)
  4. Time, "Fulltime Filmmaker", Richard Corliss, Monday, 27 August 2001 (accessed 22 December 2009)
  5. Telegraph (London), "A film as emotional as the songs she sang", Sukhdev Sandhu, 12:01AM BST 22 Jun 2007 (accessed 22 Dec 2009)
  6. ScreenHead, "POLICE TACTICAL UNIT debuts on DVD March 25" (accessed 12 December 2009)
  7. PTU at the Internet Movie Database
  8. HK Cinemagic, PTU: Into The Perilous Night (accessed 21 Dec 2009)
  9. Love HK Film, PTU (accessed 21 Dec 2009)
  10. HKMDB, "PTU" (accessed 30 Dec 2009)
  11. 1 2 HK Cinemagic, Tactical Unit: The Code (accessed 21 December 2009)
  12. Amazon.com, Tactical Unit – The Code (HK Edition) DVD a.k.a. PTU 2 (2008) (accessed 21 Dec 2009)
  13. Love HK Film, "The Code" (accessed 21 Dec 2009)
  14. Tactical Unit: The Code at the Internet Movie Database
  15. HKMDB, "機動部隊之警例" (accessed 30 December 2009)
  16. HK Cinemagic Tactical Unit: No Way Out (accessed 21 December 2009)
  17. Tactical Unit: No Way Out at the Internet Movie Database
  18. HKMDB, "機動部隊絕路" (accessed 2009-30-12)
  19. HK Cinemagic, Tactical Unit: Human Nature (accessed 21 December 2009)
  20. Tactical Unit: Human Nature at the Internet Movie Database
  21. HKMDB, "機動部隊-人性" (accessed 30 December 2009)
  22. 1 2 Hong Kong Cinemagic, PTU2 (accessed 21 Dec 2009)
  23. 1 2 Tactical Unit: Comrades in Arms at the Internet Movie Database
  24. CCTV, 'The movie "P-T-U 2"', 04-27-2009 08:54 (accessed 22 Dec 2009)
  25. Yahoo! Malaysia – Movies, "Tactical Unit (2009) – Movie" (accessed 12 Dec 2009)
  26. Love HK Film, Comrades in Arms (accessed 21 Dec 2009)
  27. HKMDB, "機動部隊之衕袍" (accessed 30 Dec 2009)
  28. HK Cinemagic, Tactical Unit: Partners (accessed 21 December 2009)
  29. Tactical Unit: Partners at the Internet Movie Database
  30. HKMDB, "機動部隊伙伴" (accessed 30 Dec 2009)
  31. 1 2 Beyond Hollywood, "Tactical Unit: Partners (2009) Movie Review", James Mudge, 13 June 2009 (accessed 31 Dec 2009)
  32. 7th Space, Hong Kong Film Panorama opens in Brussels, HKSAR Government (accessed 22 Dec 2009)
  33. New York Times, Asian Movies All Over the Map, David Kehr, 18 June 2009 (accessed 22 Dec 2009)
  34. (Portuguese) Mostra de Cinema de Hong Kong, 8 Oct 2009 (accessed 22 December 2009)
  35. (French) Fantasia, Comrades in Arms, 2009
  36. Fantasia, "Tactical Unit: Comrades in Arms" (accessed 31 Dec 2009)
  37. Beyond Hollywood, "Tactical Unit: Human Nature (2008) Movie Review", James Mudge, 10 May 2009 (accessed 2009-31-12)
  38. 1 2 Beyond Hollywood, "Tactical Unit: No Way Out (2009) Movie Review", James Mudge, 9 April 2009 (accessed 31 Dec 2009)
  39. (Italian) Aidanews, Il Far East Film Festival Di Udine, 19 aprile 2008 (accessed 2009-21-12)
  40. (Italian) Scanner.it, "Far East Film 10", Matteo Merli (accessed 22 December 2009)
  41. 1 2 Beyond Hollywood, "Tactical Unit: The Code (2008) Movie Review", James Mudge, 8 March 2009 (accessed 31 December 2009)
  42. Xinhua, "PTU sweeps the ninth Golden Bauhinia Awards", 2004-03-29 12:58:34 (accessed 22 Dec 2009)
  43. Xinhua, "Johnnie To: awards no big deal", 2008-06-12 08:41:40 (accessed 2009-22-12)
  44. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Today at the 12th Annual St. Louis International Film Festival", 14 November 2003, Page E6
  45. 1 2 Rotten Tomatoes, "PTU: Police Tactical Unit (2006)" (accessed 31 December 2009)
  46. HKMDB, "PTU女警之偶然陷阱" (accessed 2009)
  47. PTU neui ging ji ngau yin haam jing at the Internet Movie Database
  48. Love HK Film, "PTU File – Death Trap" (accessed 2009)
  49. HK Cinemagic, "PTU File Death Trap (2005)" (accessed 2009)

External links

See also

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