Anthony Wong did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Tung in Beast Cops.
The bland lead performance belongs to Michael Wong who plays the new officer of the group Michael Cheung. Wong's always slightly awkward performance, that involves some truly random moments where he speaks English, is not quite as detrimental to the film as it could have been because at least Cheung is suppose to be an extreme straight arrow, but this does leave the character wholly overshadowed by Officer Tung played by Anthony Wong the true star of the film. It's too bad there's no Lieutenant in the Hong Kong Police because Tung wouldn't fit too badly into the mold of a bad lieutenant, although closer to Nicolas Cage's version rather than Harvey Kietel's. Although he might be best described as lazy Lieutenant, as his corruption seems from mostly a lack of caring but Tung's life as a cop certainly involves drinking, using drugs, some prostitution, very casually taking bribes, and having far too comfortable of a relationship with the local Triad members.
Anthony Wong is in top form from the first scene by not being in particularly top form. Wong was apparently actually ill while filming the movie and this only contributes in making Tung the spent type of cop he is. In the opening scenes he's barely at all interested in doing what is required of a cop as Wong is very good in portraying Tung's manner of just basically going through the motions of being a cop. Wong is great though because he does not make Tung just a big nothing though and he's particularly good in portraying the sorta attempted manner to be the cop while failing to really fulfill his duties. Wong brings that certain boisterousness about Tung as if Tung is still the king of his neighborhood, and has any importance at all in his position even though he's basically nothing. Wong brings the right sort of wholly pathetic quality about Tung's routine as he feigns getting involved in a triad murder, but in fact just goes along and warns his friend in the Triad to get out of town.
We are then introduced to the other Wong's character who first meets Tung at a nightclub. Wong, the better Wong that is, is actually quite funny in his scenes where Tung is doing his best to kinda maneuver around his new boss and make him feel comfortable in his own way. Tung's first attempt is to make him not notice his considerable corruption by trying to have him as good of a time as possible. Wong's quite the delight as he portrays Tung over enthusiastic manner as he brings so much energy in Tung's attempt at making everything just too good for his new boss. I particularly love the moment where Tung abruptly stops his crusade when he hears that Cheung needs a place to stay. Wong is hilarious as he so abruptly shifts to a more serious tone, of sorts, as Tung offers his own room to Cheung. This is only the beginning for their weird partnership, and I have to say I only wish the other Wong was a better straight man for Anthony Wong, since I think these scenes could have reached an even higher height.
The hijinks only continue in their scenes where Cheung and Tung go on patrol and Cheung expects a bit more discipline in his unit than they are used to. Wong again is great as he portrays the mostly brainless attempt by Tung to seem like he's doing something when randomly beats up someone to show his measure. The best moment though is when a real crime is occurring right near him and Wong's reaction is rather hilarious as Tung's first question is to ask if someone is filming around there. Wong continues to be quite entertaining though when we see Cheung and Tung in their apartment together, where Wong has to make occasional requests of his old bedroom in order to have his time with his prostitute relationship he's having. Wong always manages to make Tung's antics surprisingly endearing as brings such an earnestness to his foolishness, that is made only funnier because Tung is a cop.
The film shifts to a more serious tone though when Cheung stops actually doing his job trying to take down the local Triad. Although I don't think the other Wong gets along all the well with the tonal shift, the better Wong thrives along with it despite being the funniest performer in the humorous scenes. Wong has a terrific short moment where Tung threatens the under boss for an attack on Cheung which causes the under boss to remind Tung of his corruption. Wong's brings the intensity of the moment to life especially as he quickly reflects the guilt and forced hesitation as Tung basically recognizes what he is for a moment. Things only get worse though when the Triad boss, who had been on the run, is killed in a power struggle leaving Tung to finally take action. Tung pumps himself on all sorts of things and basically goes into kill the man making for one amazing scene for Anthony Wong.
Wong is outstanding in this scene as he becomes almost a personification of vengeance as Tung finally decides to try to make things right. Wong though still makes him the same Tung, and in this he shows it as a bit of a madness in Tung which is only additionally made worse by the drugs and alcohol in his system. What makes Wong so effective is how he shows the substances as part of Tung's madness as he becomes almost like a terminator as he shrugs off various stabbings to try to corner the man he's after. It's a brilliant scene for Wong since he makes the insanity of the scene so absolutely the Tung he created for the rest of the film, and he successfully bridges the character to this point. Wong I would say is easily the highlight of the entire film as he just goes with the material in a way that any of the actors are not able to compete with. Wong makes Tung quite the memorable and rather likable dirty cop to follow through the film and he's especially good due to the way he manages to mediate between the humor and the drama of the material so well.