City on Fire

City on Fire

Director: Ringo Lam

Cast: Chow Yun-Fat, Sun Yueh, Danny Lee

     
 

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This tense Hong Kong crime thriller is known best as the film upon which Quentin Tarantino borrowed heavily for his 1992 debut, Reservoir Dogs. Those who criticized the American director for lack of originality have perhaps missed the point. In the highly commercialized, formulaic crime genre of Hong Kong, very few thrillers are truly original, and innovationSee more details below

Overview

This tense Hong Kong crime thriller is known best as the film upon which Quentin Tarantino borrowed heavily for his 1992 debut, Reservoir Dogs. Those who criticized the American director for lack of originality have perhaps missed the point. In the highly commercialized, formulaic crime genre of Hong Kong, very few thrillers are truly original, and innovation comes in the form of style, action choreography, and dramatic tension. City on Fire, directed by Ringo Lam, is no exception. The story, told in a more traditional narrative form than Reservoir Dogs, follows Chow Yun-Fat as Ko Chow, an undercover cop who infiltrates a ring of jewel thieves. When a heist goes wrong, Chow is wounded, and tension among the robbers escalates as they begin to suspect a traitor among their ranks.

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This early, breakout effort by director Ringo Lam strives to accomplish quite a bit on its low budget and short shooting schedule. Lam should have spent more time and money; the result is a Hong Kong police actioner that barely measures up to standard episodic television fare. Brief car chases that end with fiery crashes, a couple of abbreviated fistfights and one or two shootouts leave one longing for something more kinetic to connect with. Turning to the story, we find resigned and disgraced police detective Chow (Chow Yun-Fat) brought back to the force to infiltrate a jewel-stealing gang headed by Fu (Danny Lee), perhaps the most non-threatening uber-villain imaginable. Chow also has to deal with a disintegrating romantic relationship with Huong (Carrie Ng), but from appearances, he's better off without such a high-maintenance, prone-to-violence, schizoid girlfriend. How this disappointing film, in which character is delineated by how one smokes (and everyone smokes, a lot), won Lam the 1987 HK Film Awards Best Director trophy is beyond imagination. The Mexican standoff near the end, where everyone points a gun at someone else at close range, is the most obvious borrowing by Quentin Tarantino for Reservoir Dogs, but how that standoff ends is as lame as the rest of the film. For undemanding Hong Kong fans only.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/03/2011
UPC:
4897005038406
Original Release:
1987
Source:
Ais
Sales rank:
13,381

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