The White Storm (2013)


The White Storm (2013)
So duk (original title)

Three lifelong friends working in the Hong Kong Police Department's Narcotics Bureau get caught up in a case with Southeast Asia's most powerful drug lord, but when the sting operation fails, they are forced to make a devastating decision - two can live, but one must die. Five years later, the two vow revenge for their fallen friend, but when they end up competing against each other for their own lives, will brotherhood be sacrificed again?
Hong Kong
IMDb   6.6 /10
TheMovieDb    6.4 /10
FilmAffinity   6.3 /10
Director Benny Chan
Writer Benny Chan
Writer Ram Ling
Writer Wai Ching Tam
Writer Chun Wong
Writer Manfred Wong
Release Date2013-12-05
Runtime2h 20min
GenreAction, Crime, Thriller
Content RatingR (R)
Awards4 wins & 23 nominations.
CompanySil-Metropole Organisation, Bona Film Group, Universe Entertainment
CountryChina, Hong Kong
LanguageCantonese, English, Thai
So Kin-chow
Cheung Tsz-wai
Eight-faced Buddha
Chloe Yuan
Hak Tsai
Tsz-wai's Mother
Christopher Collins
Christopher Collins
Lead Mercenary
Bure Li
Bure Li
Helicopter M134 Gunner
Treechada Petcharat
Treechada Petcharat
Mina (as Poy)
Marc Ma
Marc Ma
Dune Kun
Interpol Officer

The White Storm

The White Storm, formerly known as The Cartel War (Chinese: 掃毒) is a 2013 Hong Kong-Chinese crime thriller film directed by Benny Chan and starring Sean Lau, Louis Koo, and Nick Cheung. The film had its world premiere at the 2013 Hong Kong Asian Film Festival on 25 October 2013.

A sequel titled The White Storm 2: Drug Lords was released on 16 July 2019, with Koo returning, Andy Lau joining the cast as well as producing and Herman Yau directing.


Ma Ho-tin, So Kin-chow and Cheung Tsz-wai are good brothers who grew up together. When they grew up, they were stationed in the Narcotics Bureau of the Hong Kong Police Force. Among them, Chow has been undercover for a long time in the drug trafficking group. He can't live a normal life and make him extremely annoyed. Big brother Tin and his detective brother Wai often persuade him that he can return to the team after catching the last big drug lord. The high-level police force asked Chow to follow up to catch a long line to catch big fish. Chow was deeply dissatisfied. The last three brothers decided to go to Thailand to catch the big poisonous eight-faced Buddha and help Chow to escape. However, due to the safety concerns of Chow, he was reluctant to conduct a fake drug transaction with the Eight-faced Buddha. He secretly used the telephone to contact the other party and said that the transaction was cancelled, which led to the suspicion that the Eight-faced Buddha had bought the drug party Chow and others. After the war, the two sides forced Tin to choose a rescue between Chow and Wai. Finally, Tin chose to save Chow, and Wai was shot in the crocodile pool. Wai’s death made both Tin and Chow deeply embarrassed. The two also took care of Cheung’s mother who was hospitalized for her illness and amnesia. Chow’s wife broke up with him after giving birth to his daughter.

Five years later, the son of the Eight-faced Buddha, Sanit Wei is killed in Hong Kong by the gang of the Tsim Sha Tsui gang led by Dune Kun. Chow and Tin found out that Wai is alive when he investigated the incident. He also married Mina and became the son-in-law of the Eight-faced Buddha. The trio was tied up by the daughter of Chow, and finally resolved the resentment between each other. The brotherhood was reborn again, and Chow reconciled with his wife and daughter. He learned that Wai and Dun Kune had killed the son of Eight-faced Buddha. In the night when Eight-faced Buddha mourns his dead son, the three brothers chose to fight with the Eight-faced Buddha. Wai, who had been suspected by the Eight-faced Buddha, was forced to cut off one of his own hands. An intense showdown ensures, where Tin, Chow and Wai gun down a huge number of Eight Faced Buddha's men. During the chaos Wai is killed and Tin and heavily wounded by a strong henchman. Chow is pinned down by Eight Faced Buddha. Tin appreciating all that Chow has done sacrifices himself to draw out Eight Faced Buddha, who guns down Tin but allows a wounded Chow to finally gun down Eight Faced Buddha. Chow then smiles, despite the deaths of Tin and Wai, realizing that they have finally taken down the whole crime syndicate but at a heavy cost.


  • Sean Lau as Ma Ho-tin
  • Louis Koo as So Kin-chow
  • Nick Cheung as Cheung Tsz-wai
  • Yuan Quan as Chloe Yuan
  • Lo Hoi-pang as Wei Xin-guang (Eight-Faced Buddha)
  • Berg Ng as Wong Shun-yik
  • Ken Lo as Bobby
  • Treechada Malayaporn as Mina Wei
  • Ben Lam as Hak Tsai
  • Hugo Ng as M.D. Wong
  • Marc Ma as Dune Kun
  • Xing Yu as Kanit
  • Law Lan as Tsz-wai's mother
  • Lee Siu-kei as Kei, informer for Ho-tin
  • Vithaya Pansringarm as Mr. Choowit
  • Nut Keasanond as Sanit Wei
  • Pacharapon Jantieng as Chatchai
  • Chris Collins as Eight Faced Buddha's Lead Mercenary

Critical response

Andrew Chan of the Film Critics Circle of Australia writes, "“The White Storm” is easily the most entertaining (Hong Kong) film of the year, an edge of the seat thriller, smash buckling action affair and a powerhouse of acting experience. "

Awards and nominations

List of Accolades
Award / Film FestivalCategoryRecipient(s)Result
12th Changchun Film FestivalBest CinematographyAnthony PunNominated
Best Visual EffectsNg Yuen-fai, Chow Chi-sing, Tam Kai-kwanNominated
Best Film ScoreNicolas ErrèraWon
33rd Hong Kong Film AwardsBest FilmThe White StormNominated
Best DirectorBenny ChanNominated
Best ActorLouis KooNominated
Sean LauNominated
Best Supporting ActressLaw LanNominated
Best CinematographyAnthony PunNominated
Best EditingYau Chi-waiNominated
Best Original Film SongSong: "Tacit for Life" (心照一生)

Composer: RubberBand
Lyrics: RubberBand, Tim Lui
Sung by: RubberBand

32nd Hundred Flowers AwardsBest ActorNick CheungNominated
Best Supporting ActressYuan QuanNominated
Best New PerformerMarc MaWon
51st Golden Horse AwardsBest ActorSean LauNominated
Best Visual EffectsNg Yuen-fai, Chow Chi-sing, Tam Kai-kwanNominated
Best Action ChoreographyNicky LiNominated
Best CinematographyAnthony PunNominated
Best Sound DesignKinson Tsang, Yiu Chun-hin, Chow Yuk-lunNominated
Best Original Film SongSong: "Tacit for Life" (心照一生)

Composer: RubberBand
Lyrics: RubberBand, Tim Lui
Sung by: RubberBand



On 16 March 2018, Universe Entertainment announced that a sequel of the film, titled The White Storm 2: Drug Lords, would start shooting during the summer and unveiled its teaser film poster. Being a sequel in name only with a similar thematic but a new storyline, Louis Koo returned playing a different role, making him the only returning cast member. Andy Lau joined the cast and also served as the film's producer, while Herman Yau replaced Benny Chan as the director for the sequel. Filming for The White Storm 2: Drug Lords took place in Hong Kong and the Philippines and the budget of the film was over HK$200 million. Production for The White Storm 2 - Drug Lords began on 23 June 2018 and was released on 16 July 2019.