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City on Fire (1987)
"Lung fu fong wan" (original title)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 3,925 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 28 critic

An undercover cop infiltrates a gang of thieves who plan to rob a jewelry store.

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(story), (English version), 1 more credit »
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Title: City on Fire (1987)

City on Fire (1987) on IMDb 7.2/10

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2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ko Chow (as Chow Yun Fat)
Danny Lee ...
Fu (as Danny Lee Sau-Yin)
Yueh Sun ...
Inspector Lau / Uncle Kung (as Sun Yueh)
Carrie Ng ...
Hung
Roy Cheung ...
Kong Lau ...
Inspector Chow
Elvis Tsui ...
Chan Kam-Wah
Yeh Fang ...
Chow Nam
Chi Fai Chan ...
Chen Ching / Tai Song
Mang-Ha Cheng ...
Chow's Grandmother (as Mang-ha Cheung)
Parkman Wong ...
Ah Man
Bo-San Chow ...
Lily
Victor Hon ...
Bill
Kwong Leung Wong ...
Kwong
Maria Cordero ...
Lounge Singer
Edit

Storyline

An undercover cop infiltrates a gang of thieves who plan to rob a jewelry store.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

13 February 1987 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

City on Fire  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene which Ko Chow is running on Nathan Road so as to escape from the police was filmed when director Ringo Lam put the camera in a van and ordered Chow Yun-Fat to follow the van that is driving along the road. See more »

Quotes

Fu: [Fu talks about his family life] You know, my father was a crook. I got it from him. I just hope my son doesn't turn out like me.
Ko Chow: Is your old man still in jail?
Fu: He's been dead for ten years. My father was stupid. He got shot by the police.
Ko Chow: So you despise them?
Fu: Not at all. They were just doing their job, so why should I?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Il solitario (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

 
No frills raw undercover cop story
19 September 2009 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

This is a no frills undercover cop story directed by Ringo Lam. With an average budget the film tells its story quite tightly with fine performances. Chow Yun Fat stars as the undercover policeman who is also having relationship problems. Danny Lee pops up as the jewel thief who will basically befriend chow as the system pushes them closer together. Yueh Sun Stars as an older cop who has lost his son years ago in the force and is bending the rules to have Chow undercover.

I think Ringo Lam takes inspiration as much from French New Wave cinema as he douse from Hong Kong. The simple shooting style, at times like documentary, captures whats he needs and he is just concerned with making it all happen for the camera with settings and performances that ring true for the lens. Films like Un Flic and Le Samorai from French director Jean Piere Melville may have been the inspiration for Lam's raw, simple style. This approach is effective.

We all know what film it ended up inspiring and Ringo Lams comparisons with his contemporary John Woo, Rather than ad to the subject dominance of the former I will just comment on the latter in That Woo only made one film better than this and it was The KIller. Despite Woo's amazing and influential style he doesn't tell perfect stories. City On Fire has a story that keeps you interested in what will actually happen. The dramatics of this picture are excellent. The performances all good. The characters are all concerned about their own situations and feel them all. The film is occasionally quite funny. Chow has a bit of a gift for comedy that transcends language and cultural barriers. This film and Lam's other film starring Chow, Prison On Fire, always amuse me in their moments.

I was taken by this film. I cared about Chow and his vice like position. His impatient girlfriend, complicated job, going undercover and being followed by another police unit as if a criminal are situations closing in on him. Chow Yun Fat is a wonderful actor to watch. He can make you laph with his dances, wooing woman and can entrance you with his glare when he means business. There are some wonderful long takes in this film that lets chow bring you into his character. In his roles of cops and killers he makes you sympathetic. A gift to the genre.

Ringo Lam brings many of his regulars together to make a class production. You will recognise some of the cast if you have seen his other films. I figure he didn't have the permission to shoot on some of the locations and it informs the shooting style, undercover in itself. Cameras lens poking out the window of a moving car to shoot the characters on the street. He just gets this film made. He has a pretty decisive vision. I have read you have to be tough directing films in Hong Kong. The schedules are busy, the budgets are low and the Authorities are strict. You have to be able to improvise and break the rules. Take risks like they do with stunt-work.

The script is way above average for a Hong Kong cop drama. This is a character driven film with less emphasis on action. A solid 80's picture. One of my favorite films from Hong Kong.


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