IF you can forgive some of the dodgy acting and cheesy plot points in Operation Mekong then there is a lot to admire in Dante Lam’s explosive thriller.

Very loosely based on real events, the film sees an elite team of narcotic officers dispatched to the notorious Golden Triangle region connecting Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. The ambush of Chinese commercial vessels and the murder of all 13 crew members is the last straw as a joint task force is established between the countries to take down the brazen, golden gun wielding drug lord Naw Kham.

Do not expect deep analysis or reflection on the evils of the drug trade but what the Cine Asia movie does deliver is a well paced action epic.

The feature is one of China’s all-time highest grossing films and action director Tung Wai was awarded Best Action Choreography at the Hong Kong Film Awards 2017 – and it shows.

There are a couple of dodgy bits involving a dog jumping through a car window and a man being dangled from a helicopter which could have benefited from a bit more work in post production.

But Lam’s film builds up a picture of a drug empire that would make Martin Scorsese proud before setting up action sequences that could easily compete with the likes of the Bourne, Fast and Furious and The Raid movies.

As well choreographed as they are diverse, the gun fights and chase scenes are shot from all angles on the road, on the water, in the drug dens and even in a shopping mall. Yes, it is all very over-the-top but that makes it no less enjoyable.