Review: FIRESTORM 風暴 (2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Review: FIRESTORM 風暴 (2013)

Andy Lau is engaging in this solid but uneven action thriller.

In just a week after Benny Chan's THE WHITE STORM (read my review here) opened in cinemas nationwide with great response, here comes another winner in the form of Alan Yuen's FIRESTORM. Touted as Andy Lau's major comeback to his serious cop role since INFERNAL AFFAIRS trilogy, there's been a lot of hypes surrounding the movie. And rest assured that this movie mostly delivers its promise.


Lui (Andy Lau) is a hardboiled senior police inspector who is hot on the trail to capture a gang of seasoned criminals, led by Nam (Hu Jun) during a stakeout. However, the plan goes awry when the criminals manage to beat Lui and his police team, kills an innocent citizen (Bonnie Xian) and even successfully gets away with the money they pulled off from the armoured car heist as well. However, Lui quickly retaliates by waging an all-out war against them.

Alan Yuen's direction is gritty and tense, which has that winning combination of Ringo Lam (CITY ON FIRE, FULL ALERT), Dante Lam (THE VIRAL FACTOR) and Benny Chan (BIG BULLET, THE WHITE STORM) all rolled into one package. Chin Kar-Lok's action choreography is top notch, especially the way he executes all the gunfights and car crashes with such visceral impact until you can almost feel the intensity.

It's been a long while since Andy Lau makes a dramatic appearance in an action movie, and he doesn't disappoint here. Despite his 52 years of age, Lau never shows any sign of restraint as he handles most of his own stunts. Among his physical demands worth praising for is the exhilarating judo-fight scene against Gordon Lam's To. Speaking of Gordon Lam, he delivers a solid support that pairs well with Andy Lau as his co-star. As Nam, Hu Jun is coolly charismatic here while die-hard fans of Hong Kong action movies will be pleased to see many veteran TVB actors show up either as supporting roles or cameo appearances.

The extended gunfight finale at the Central district stands as one of the most exciting action sequences ever staged in a Hong Kong movie production.

Some of the plotlines are unnecessarily overstuffed with twists and turns, especially during the midpoint of the movie. Meanwhile, some of the action sequences are over-the-top and the special effects are cheap-looking (the "epic" finale involving a huge explosion equivalent of a Hollywood disaster movie is especially way too much). Then there's the abrupt introduction of veteran Ray Lui as one of the criminals. It's kind of sad that his would-be memorable character is underutilised.

Despite the flaw, FIRESTORM is a first-rate action thriller not to be missed.

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