Review: BIG BULLET 衝鋒隊─怒火街頭 (1996) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Review: BIG BULLET 衝鋒隊─怒火街頭 (1996)


After the underrated effort in 1995's MAN WANTED, Benny Chan is finally back for good in this highly-entertaining action blockbuster, BIG BULLET, that puts him straight into the Hong Kong cinematic route as one of the best on-demand action directors around.

Lau Ching-Wan plays as a maverick cop Sgt. Bill Zhu, who is recently demoted into the Emergency Unit for clocking a superior officer after a botched assignment. Bill is well-known for his ugly reputation of not doing things by-the-book and his attitude alone creates conflicts within his new group, particularly the strictly by-the-law Inspector Jeff Chiu (Jordan Chan). When a case involving a ruthless gang of thieves lead by a notorious leader nicknamed The Professor (Yu Rong-Guang) and his equally violent right-hand man Bird (Anthony Wong) planned to smugglee a huge amount of money out of Hong Kong, Bill and his team are determined to stop them at all cost.

If the plot sounds so simple, it is. Benny Chan, Susan Chan and Joe Ma's script is essentially a bookended formulaic cop-vs.-robber action thriller that dominated the 1990s-era of Hong Kong cinematic genre. It is also very commercial at best and if you are looking for something deep within the context of this movie, you might as well steer clear.

Otherwise, BIG BULLET is one heck of an action extravaganza that packed with a big wallop. Two of the movie's action-packed highlights are the daylight shootout scene in the middle of the city where Bill and his team trying to stop The Professor and his gang and the intense nighttime car chase scene. It's just too bad that Ma Yuk-Sing's action choreography tends to go a bit overboard -- the supposedly exciting climatic showdown atop a moving plane (an obvious inspiration from the ending of 1990's DIE HARD 2) is bogged down by messy editing and blurry camerawork.

Still the movie manages to benefit from a solid group of actors. Lau Ching-Wan's no-nonsense screen presence is as engaging as always, while Jordan Chan creates a terrific contrast to Lau Ching Wan's renegade cop role as someone who is very disciplined on the other side. Then there's Yu Rong-Guang and especially the ever-reliable Anthony Wong as the sadistic villain who has a taste of violence are all perfectly cast.

Despite most of the flaws, BIG BULLET is nevertheless one of the better action pictures in the 90s. On the plus side, the movie gets nominated for an incredible 9 Hong Kong Film Awards including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor for Lau Ching-Wan and took home an award for Best Film Editing. A must-see.

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