Nick Chen (Chow Yun-Fat) is one of the NYPD's most decorated officers. The first Chinese-born immigrant on the force, Chen has used his close ties with a group of Chinese "businessmen" known as the Triads to rise through the ranks. Now, a gold shield detective and the star officer on the city's highly touted Asian Gang Unit; it's Chen's job to keep the peace in Chinatown.
But a turf war has erupted between the Triads and the newly arrived and brutally violent Fukienese Dragons. As the precarious peace in Chinatown is interrupted, the NYPD beefs up the Asian Gang Unit with a new recruit: an idealistic cop, Danny Wallace (Mark Wahlberg), who is unaware of how power and influence have compromised his superiors. When the Tongs boldly attempt to corrupt this young officer, Chen is forced to realign his loyalties.