Big Bullet

This 1996 film from Benny Chan (Moment of Romance, Who Am I, Gen - X Cops) seemed to almost spark the terrific series of contemporary realistic and tense cop thrillers that were to follow in the next few years (Full Alert and the Milkyway films being the other best examples). These films had a tough gritty edge to them and contained some of the very best acting around. Of course, Lau Ching-wan is most often associated with these films - and to some degree it began with Big Bullet. Before this Lau had primarily been cast in dramas or romantic comedies, but this film showed that he had the charisma and acting chops to take charge and make his strong relentless characters very believable.

He is extremely effective in this fast moving but well characterized film that never lets up for a minute. His character is a Sergeant in the Serious Crime Unit - a legend in the force for his toughness, bravery and past exploits - but he is also independent, stubborn and as his supervisor and friend, Francis Ng, tells him not very diplomatic. In a hostage situation he is fed some bad information by the oily Inspector Guan and because of it some of his men are shot up. Guan covers up his mistake leading Lau to punch his lights out.

Lau then gets transferred to the Emergency Unit Group that is responsible for patrolling the streets in a large van and responding to crimes - definitely a step down. He is put in charge of a small team of four other cops - Jordan Chan, Spencer Lam, Cheung Tat Ming and Theresa Lee. Though I found Spencer, Theresa and Cheung less than convincing as cops, all of their characters are well filled in and they become an endearing group to watch and they all have excellent chemistry together.
Theresa is a squeaky voiced cop from Canada, Spencer is getting near retirement and his wife brings him soup while on duty, Cheung is a gun lover looking for the big bust in his life and Jordan, in a very different role for him, is the restrained and by the book cop who is constantly at odds with the manner in which Lau is running the group.
The five of them are outside of a restaurant when all hell breaks loose. A gang inside has killed an Interpol agent and a fabulously riveting gunfight breaks out on the streets of HK. The two main leaders of the gang are Yu Rong Guang and Anthony Wong and they are totally bad guy cool in their fashionable shades and their cruel indifference to life. Wong even breaks into Italian at one point in the middle of a big car chase for no  particular reason (other than Wong was studying Italian at the time!).
Anthony Wong, Yu Rong Guang, Cheung Tat Ming, Theresa Lee, Spencer Lam, Jordan Chan
Though Lau is ordered afterwards to leave the case alone - this is out of his purview - he continues to follow up leads on these two killers. He has a personal score to settle but he has to convince the rest of his team to risk their lives as well. It all plays out wonderfully well.
Everyone acts so well in this and there is not a wasted moment in the film. Even a sub-plot about Jordan's brother joining the triads that seemed unnecessary comes out very nicely in the end. This is an exciting, well-directed, finely acted and absolutely terrific film.

My rating for this film: 8.0



DVD Information:

Distributed by Universe

The transfer  is very good - clean and sharp.

Letterboxed

Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks 

Subtitles:  Chinese , English, Nil

8 Chapters

It includes it's own trailer plus Lifeline, The Longest Nite, Expect the Unexpected and Young and Dangerous III.

The sub-titles are on a black border and very easy to read.

Star Files - Lau Ching-wan, Jordan Chan, Theresa Lee, Cheung Tat Ming and Benny Chan.