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Simon Yam plays a former big city cop who had a very bad experince with an AK-47. So he's been assigned duty on one of the Hong Kong Islands as a police chief of a small village. He spends most of his time drinking beer and smoking hash while daydreaming. But when a group of thugs armed with AK-47's and .45's invade his terrain, he must over come his fear of that weapon to save his ex-wife and his fellow officers only armed with a .38 and a baton. Can Yam save the day? Written by
Joseph P. Ulibas <email@example.com>
Ultra violent and nihilistic action from Hong Kong
A Day Without Policeman is one of the stronger Category 3 movies I've ever seen. It is pretty unknown and I know only couple of people who have actually seen it. It is directed by a new comer (?) Johnny Lee and it stars Simon Yam. The story involves a AK47 armed gangs who terrorize a small village in an island. They terrorize police and destroy the whole police station and no villager is safe. So the few survived cops and villagers have to fight back in order to stay alive and return the peace to the village. The plot is very confusing so it may be that I missed some parts of it but the structure is as mentioned. Simon Yam plays a cop who has bad traumas about AK47 rifles and can't stand them and shocks every time he sees them. He is very scary and almost wimpy in this film so this won't be another psycho role for him, and the strongest and bravest characters in the film are females. There is no actual point in the film so what's there is incredibly violent gun battles, graphic rapes and non stop mayhem, so CAT III rating is guaranteed. There is no limits for the violence in A Day Without Policeman, but they should have added some theme or content to the film, too. Now it is pretty empty movie, but should please the Hong Kong action lovers and fans of extreme and nihilistic cinema.
The film seems to be made with pretty large budget because the film doesn't seem dull or low budgeted. The film looks very gorgeous because the camera angles and movements are very inventive and the director is definitely a talented one. The shadows and sunbeams in the forest look magnificent and the film is very beautiful at times. Also, the action scenes are over the top well made with incredible editing and feel of danger. It is incredible what these Oriental film makers can make with edits and fierce use of camera. Even mediocre films from Hong Kong are exciting to watch because of the intensity of the films and originality when compared to Western movies. So even though this film is pointless in my opinion, it is still very great viewing experience because of the visuality and creativity of the film.
The violence is brutal and often off putting, and these things would never be shown in American movies or mainstream movies. There is one particular stabbing scene in this film that is very disturbing and I could actually feel the blade going into my flesh and inside the back. This film can be recommended only for experienced viewer and fans of challenging Oriental cinema. In fact, this is one of the most violent films I've witnessed for a some time. I wonder how this film succeeded in box office. I've read couple of reviews and all the reviewers hated this and gave it as bad ratings as possible. This is pretty hard to like because the imagery is so off putting and there are no particular explanations for the mayhem we see. The tone is little apocalyptic but there definitely should have been some point or message in this film. But due to wonderful look of the film, this is not a bad film, it is just empty in content.
Simon Yam is pretty wimpy here and fans of his won't tolerate it. He is not hero here or not even psycho. He is guided by a strong female character who tries to help Yam get over his traumas. The way, how they kill the main gangster at the end, is again something that can be found in HK cinema only. Over the top is perhaps the right phrase to describe the finale, and also the whole movie. The film runs also pretty long (approximately 110 minutes, I think) but I didn't feel myself bored because the film has all the time something going on, and there are no chances to rest or take a breath. This is pretty much like the superb Big Heat (by Andrew Kam and Johnnie To), without its message and infernal tone. But as a "mayhem films", these two are pretty close to each other, and as achievements of "mayhem cinema" these two films are pretty unmatchable and only seldom equaled. Just watch some Die Hard and compare it to Big Heat, A Day Without Policeman, Long Arm of the Law or Full Contact and you'll see what is the difference between Eastern and Western film makers and contents in their films.
I give a Day Without Policeman 7 out of 10 due to the visual style and the non-stop, brutal, grisly and horrific nature, action and insanity presented in the film. Unforgettable, but many will only hate this for the reasons described and mentioned above. This would have probably been one of the greatest achievements in Hong Kong action cinema ever, if they only had added some point, theme and message here. But as I mentioned, I'm not disappointed, even though this is not a masterpiece like the mentioned Big Heat, for instance.
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