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The Big Heat (1988)
"Seng fat dak ging" (original title)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 473 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 9 critic

Inspector Waipong Wong has to put his life and resignation from the Hong Kong police department on hold to investigate his former partner's mysterious murder. What he and his crack team of ... See full summary »

Directors:

(as Andrew Kam) , (as To Kei Fung) , 1 more credit »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Waise Lee ...
Chief Inspector Waipong Wong
Joey Wang ...
Ada (as Wang Tsu Hsien)
Matthew Wong ...
Inspector Kwok-Keung Lun
Philip Kwok ...
Detective Ah Kam (as Kwok Tsui)
King Wah Lo ...
Ong Chat Fu (as Lo King Wah)
Kong Chu ...
Ching Han (as Chu Kong)
Sai-Kit Yung ...
Inspector Ka-Nin Ho (as Stuart Ong)
Tsui-Han Mak ...
Maggie (as Mak Tsui Han)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ken Boyle ...
Wong's Superior
Roy Cheung ...
Ho's Man
...
Assassin
Gam-ming Kwan
Bei-Dak Lai ...
Peter Ng
...
Hospital Assassin
...
Gangster Who Gets Hand Blown Off
Edit

Storyline

Inspector Waipong Wong has to put his life and resignation from the Hong Kong police department on hold to investigate his former partner's mysterious murder. What he and his crack team of three other cops uncover is a plot far more sinister than they originally anticipated. Written by Spaz <junebug2@texas.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

22 September 1988 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Big Heat  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

Inspector Wong and his partners drives a 1975-1983 BMW 3-series coupe during all times in the movie except after being ambushed after leaving the lab. then it suddenly changes to a BMW 5-series of the 1982-1988 generation, a four door proper sedan of the same color as his previous car. In all subsequent scenes he is driving his original car again. See more »

Quotes

Detective Ah Kam: [chatting with Inspector Wong] The hostage asked me why I shot him. I told him the gun misfired. He says he'll sue. These guns are supplied by the UK. Go sue the England.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the greatest Hong Kong action miracles ever!
13 May 2002 | by (Finland) – See all my reviews

This film, The Big Heat (Hong Kong, 1988) is outstanding, and it shows exactly what differs these movies from others. This is directed by Johnnie To and Andrew Kam and the story involves a little bunch of police officers (including Waise Lee, the smooth actor from Better Tomorrow and Bullet in the Head) who are on the trail of a criminal league which is also responsible for one of the cops' partner's death. What follows is non-stop action and never before seen cinematic mayhem.

I'm mostly attracted by the apocalyptic tone the film has. In many Hong Kong films from that period, the main theme is that what will happen to Hong Kong in 1997..? It is a subject matter that scares and really concerns people in these films. But the infernal visions of The Big Heat can also be seen universally and as a statement of the whole globe's future and attitudes which destroy it. The apocalyptic element is maintained by the action and gory mayhem, which never actually stops during the film. There are no chances to have a break and be in peace. The whole system is collapsing and everybody has to fight for life all the time or the "stronger will get you."

The action scenes and gun battles are incredible (sorry for using these adjectives so much). When I first saw this, I watched it on VHS tape, dubbed in English and fullscreen, but still that tape was uncut. When I first saw it, the film didn't have any particular effect on me, although one extremely brutal car scene stayed in my mind, but the film as a whole didn't "blow me away" back then. Then I purchased the DVD which is subtitled in English and letterboxed and after that second viewing, I was kicked in the head. This is the case usually with HK movies: they have to be seen many times, before you really can see through them and appreciate them. The Big Heat showed its real face for me during that second time and now I've ranked the film among the most outrageous, fast paced and also savagely violent action films ever. And I think that people with open minds will come to that conclusion too.

If we talk about the violence in HK films, the violent Woo movies are not too hard to take because they are so beautiful and full of more or less mysterious elements (white birds/doves, crushing statues, and so on..) but the violence in Big Heat is very different. It comes pretty close to violence in Ringo Lam's masterful Full Contact which is also pretty savage and not "beautifully" violent and symbolic as John Woo's films. I really love Woo's artistic work too, but the attitudes in his films are very different than Big Heat's.

A local collector has told me that he has tried to show Big Heat to some of his colleagues at work, and no one has managed to sit through it! That really tells something about what are chances for mainstream audiences to understand these kinds of films which DON'T intend to entertain stupid masses.

In its own masterful genre, The Big Heat is a 10 out of 10 points experience and it can be recommended only for fanatics of the challenging Far East cinema.


5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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