Skillfully Developed Plot Raises Film To A High Level.
Hong Kong's movie factories are ever churning out what amounts to an inordinate number of productions, a great many of which are blighted by puerile attempts at humour, manically cartoonish violence, and cardboard characters, bringing about a roll of a viewer's eyes as standard response to all of this; therefore, when a film furnishes some elements of creative value as in this instance, it becomes worth noticing. For what might easily serve as an exemplar of how an action film should be composed, Danny Lee fills a type of role for which he has often been cast within a Hong Kong cinema subgenre: The Conflicted Cop Film, here having to choose between his Job and his Family, the latter being a wife (Carol Cheng), and five-year-old son, with his occupation being captain of police, having supervision over a "special unit" composed of a sizable group of (invariably) undercover personnel deployed against those criminals engaged in the sale of narcotics and purloined designer watches, the officers therewith involved in a series of shootingfests. The storyline soon dovetails into a struggle between "Captain Li" and his men in array against a vicious married pair, played by Lam Wai and Pauline Wong (her character being pregnant), and plot development from the smoothly constructed script credited to Tommy Sham is regulated neatly by director Billy Chan, and while violence and its effects are unpleasantly graphic, more could not be asked of action director Ching Chu for his realistic usage of stuntmen. An ideal sense of pace by director Chan contributes mightily to the work's narrative power, while the camera-work and a well-crafted score are strong factors of the high overall production values, as is the general design, special effects and makeup for a film shot principally on location. Appealing touches abound, with never a sluggish moment, and it is especially pleasing to report that scriptor Sham avoids the seemingly obligatory (for this type of film) internecine law enforcement conflict, with a proper degree of ambiguity in place to fuel closing sequences. As a policeman's wife who will not support her husband's choice of career, therefore deciding to separate from him, Cheng is effective, while Lam Wai is believable as the film's principal villain, forced to abandon his newborn son as a result of being target of a police pursuit, and always reliable Shing Fui On is credibly savage as one of the Forces of Evil, but it is Wong who, with her intense turn, gains the acting laurels here, her performance of a woman striving to deal with labour pains under extraordinarily stressful circumstances being most memorable. Although this feature film grossed well enough at the box office in Hong Kong, its release upon a DVD is not to be readily located. It offers good visuals along with fine Dolby sound as part of a top quality package that also provides adequate English language subtitles despite complex combined Mandarin/Cantonese dialogue upon the soundtrack.
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