Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Now Playing: Breaking News

This little crime flick from Hong Kong surprised the heck out of me. For one thing, the entire opening shot and resultant action sequence are stunning. For another, the way the film unspools kept me guessing. While I think the lead cop, played by the director, was a little short on character development, the cast was uniformly excellent. I dug the camaraderie and banter between the two gangs, the cops and the crooks being chased.

The film begins with a stake out that goes wrong and the subsequent chase is an embarrassment to the Hong Kong police force. The newly appointment head of the department’s marketing and media relations is determined to improve the image of the cops, and when the crooks are discovered hiding out in a high rise condo she makes her move. As the cops head in and search for the criminals, the media director contacts every media outlet in the city and gets them all to cover it. But she underestimates the criminals involved as their leader proves he can manipulate the media just as easily as she can.

This film is riveting. I wouldn’t exactly call it high art, but I was glued to my seat through the duration. The way the cops work as a team is brilliantly contrasted with the way the crooks work together. Even though the lead crook is better defined than the lead cop, "Breaking News" is still a crackling action tale. The finale is a bit swift, but getting there is a heck of a lot of fun.

The only confusing part is a small detail towards the end regarding the motivation of both the lead crook and one of the guys he partners with in the building. This was the only part I wish was clear, but it might have been a translation issue. This doesn’t spoil the film at all, but it is a minor quibble.

Definitely check this out.


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