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!).
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
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
Distributed by Universe
The transfer is very good - clean and
Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks
Subtitles: Chinese , English, Nil
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.