These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Either Raymond was right about Wei Shen having become the very gangster he was supposed to bring down, or Wei is just really good at keeping his cover.
Is Big Smile Lee a well-meaning red pole who would have made a good leader or is he a psychopath who hates everyone and only cares about becoming Chairman? The latter is very likely true, since he is competent at being a ruthless murderer.
Did Superintendent Pendrew has good intentions when he goes to the extremes to take down the Sun On Yee triad, or is he a plain deluded liar who's as bad as his enemies?
Best Level Ever: In the penultimate mission, you're captured by Big Smile Lee's chief enforcer, Mr. Tong, and are subjected to torture. After being knocked out, you proceed to escape the apartment building he trapped you in, barefooted and bare-chested. What ensues is an epic Roaring Rampage of Revenge that makes Die Hard look like it was for babies.
Cliché Storm: An undercover cop infiltrating a crime organization, gains trust by taking whatever orders are given to him, does whatever it takes to ensure his cover's not blown and quickly rises in the organization's ranks? Yeah, what other Hong Kong triad movie, let alone, crime drama hasn't done that already?
Complete Monster: Henry “Big Smile” Lee is the vicious Sun On Yi Red Pole (senior member) in charge of getting girls addicted to drugs then roping them into prostitution and pornography to support their habit. In order to expand his power within the Triad, Lee engineered a civil war within the Sun On Yi between Dogeyes's Jade Gang and Winston Chu's Water Street Gang, which culminated in an attack on Winston Chu's wedding, leading to the deaths of Winston Chu, his bride, Peggy Li, and eventually Uncle Po, the head of the Triad. In addition to his prostitution racket, Lee is also known for sending his horrifying enforcer and Torture Technician, Mr. Tong, after his enemies. Finding out Wei Shen is an undercover cop, he has Wei's best friend, Jackie Ma, Buried Alive, and while Wei manages to save him, Jackie is still tortured and disemboweled by Mr. Tong on Lee's orders. Lee also has Wei tortured himself, planning on the torture lasting for days before having Wei Buried Alive as well. Known for responding with overwhelming brutality even in the face of mere annoyances, Big Smile Lee is one of the most feared and despised Sun On Yi members in the city, even among his fellow gang members.
Crowning Moment Of Awesome: The game mechanics allow you to basically create your own, such as fending off a gangster in the passenger seat attempting to carjack you, only for you to jump out in an escape and make one well placed shot that blows the car up in revenge.
Disappointing Last Level: The final level basically has you repeat the same Le Parkour chasing you've been doing throughout the game, and concludes with a fight that entirely consists of countering the boss' attacks. You do get to shred him to bits using a nearby ice chipper to finish off the fight, though, so there is that.
Game Breaker: Wander around town for a bit, and buy one of each of the four kinds of buffs for chump change. Now enjoy 5-15 minutes of being a god of death.
Some DLC outfits will dramatically increase your damage or your damage resistance. Combined with the aforementioned buffs, you'll be even more ridiculously powerful.
The DZS-90 from the Wheels of Fury. Granted, you have to complete all five missions before it's yours to keep and fully upgraded, but it's the fastest car in the game and has a tight turn radius thanks to its four-wheel steering, making Class A races (the ones it qualifies for) a cakewalk. As if that wasn't enough, the included concealed machine guns and EMP give you a very unfair edge over the competition.
I Knew It: Superintendent Pendrew turns out to be the main villain of the game. This might not be a surprise for those who never liked him in the first place, especially not after the firearms tutorial mission ends with him putting two fresh bullets into an already dead gangster with a handgun with Wei's prints on it, and then essentially abandoning Wei to flee the police on his own, though him abandoning Wei to die at the cemetery instead of playing along (with Wei in his triad cover insulting Pendrew) confirmed it.
He's also the only British character in a game otherwise entirely populated by Chinese characters.
Memetic Mutation: Pork Bun Guy, a single character model who sells Wei pork buns all over Hong Kong, whose lines include such gems as "Why do you not have a pork bun in your hand?" and, best of all, "A man who never eats pork buns is never a whole man!" Aggressive advertisement at its finest, ladies and gentlemen.
Don't forget about the Female Clothing Saleswoman. "Hey sexy man you want some sexy clothes? Why don't you let me dress you?!"
I fought the law, and the law won!
Player Punch: The death of Jackie. For many a player, it hurts to know that you're the reason your best friend died. Hell, he probably died without knowing that you were a cop.
It also comes directly after busting your ass to rescue the twerp from being buried alive in the previous mission.
Rule of Symbolism: Wei Shen shows up at Winston's wedding in a white suit. In China, white is the color of mourning and is associated with death. It turns into a massacre, courtesy of Dogeyes, and both Winston and Peggy are killed. The suit, naturally, ends up covered in blood.
Scrappy Mechanic: Carjacking and hailing a taxi are both done with the same button, with the difference being the latter is done by holding down the button for half a second instead of pressing it, but the game still often recognizes your attempts to hail a cab as wanting to jack it if you're in the range to do so no matter how hard you press and hold the button. To prevent this, you need to get in front of the taxi or behind it, which will take some annoying manuvering to make the prompt to hail it to pop up. Otherwise, you could simply hold down the button while you approach the taxi, then stop beside it.
There's one location in the second-to-last mission that gives some people a lot of trouble, and other people none at all. Wei has to clamber onto a ledge he's hanging onto by succeeding in a QTE. However, the timing is very specific. (Tip: Temporarily remapping the sprint button to the mouse makes it a lot easier.)
The randomly disappearing pistol. Always seems to happen when you need a gun.
The Cop EXP mechanic. While you obtain Triad EXP by overall being awesome in fights, you get Cop EXP on missions for... being a nice boy. You start with 3 badges and each badge is whittled down as you run over street furniture, other cars, shoot innocent bystanders, etc. This sounds great on paper, but the EXP is calculated on how many intact badges you have at the end of the mission. Any single trasgression will invalidate the first badge, giving you no buffer to avoid missing out on 33% of the mission's EXP. In some missions, specially the racing ones, 3 badges are nigh impossible to achieve.
Several former Grand Theft Auto developers worked on this game, so the similarities are probably a lot closer than most other open-world games.
Values Dissonance: Indicative of some opinions still present in the region, Peggy immediately offers to set Wei up with a friend to marry the first time they meet. Wei's response suggests less nervousness about the idea and more not wanting to get someone involved in his complex life.
What an Idiot: Calvin falls into this more than once. Possibly his worst case is blowing up a police station, sticking around to watch it blow up and the moment it does he promptly runs for the car so you can drive him out of there. It's really not that surprising that the police immediately figure out who did it. This happening after he punched an officer and later shot up a store in a nicer part of Hong Kong... though he at least recognizes that he needs a getaway driver on hand before indulging in such mayhem.
Sleeping Dogs (Film)
What an Idiot: Jesperson shoots Smith when he turns his back on him defiantly and walks away at the end, then curses at him, even kicking his body, saying he needed to keep him alive. Uh, should have thought of that before you shot him...