6.9/10
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The Big Heat (1988)

Seng fat dak ging (original title)
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:

Yeung-Wah Kam (as Andrew Kam), Johnnie To (as To Kei Fung) | 1 more credit »

Writer:

Gordon Chan
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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
Phillip Chung-Fung Kwok ... Detective Ah Kam (as Kwok Tsui)
King Wah Lo 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 Ken Boyle ... Wong's Superior
Roy Cheung ... Ho's Man
Michael Man-Kin Chow ... Assassin
Kam-Ming Kwan Kam-Ming Kwan ... (as Gam-ming Kwan)
Bei-Dak Lai ... Peter Ng
Robin Shou ... Hospital Assassin
Kirk Wong ... Gangster Who Gets Hand Blown Off
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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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Hong Kong

Language:

Cantonese | Malay

Release Date:

22 September 1988 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

Big Heat See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer Hark Tsui appears in cameo as a long haired and a mustache policeman in ending scene. See more »

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

Chief Inspector Waipong Wong: [Wong and Lun are being tailed by two assassins] That bastard is still following.
Inspector Kwok-Keung Lun: I know I've failed. Tried twice to meet the guy.
Chief Inspector Waipong Wong: I didn't mean you. I meant those guys are tailing us again.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A VCD release from the Chinese mainland has been edited to remove anti-communist content but has all the violence in. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Intense, violent and dark - and very nearly a classic
24 February 2007 | by simon_boothSee all my reviews

Tsui Hark produces and Johnnie To directs this classic tale of hard-boiled cops and powerful criminals who might be above the law, but aren't above justice (Hong Kong style).

Waise Lee plays the detective who wants to crack the proverbial 'one last case' before retirement, with Wong Hin-Mung as the rookie with a weak stomach and admirable support from Phillip Kwok and Lo Ging-Wa as the ice-cool action cops with an unspoken respect and affection under the competitive appearance of their relationship. Paul Chu Kong is truly fearsome as the ruthless villain, and Joey Wang is... cute as a chipmunk (sorry, but she really does look like one - she must never have babies with Donnie Yen!).

The film opens with a shocking image of a power drill piercing a hand, in quite convincing detail. It's just a nightmare/metaphor for Waise Lee's nerve condition, but it sets the tone for the film effectively - one of the most violent and cynical films Hong Kong has produced. It's reminiscent in more ways than one of the recent SPL, and the appropriation of the name from Fritz Lang's at-the-time-shocking noir is... appropriate. The film is quite openly influenced by Robocop too, with several moments of violence essentially stolen from Verhoeven's still-shocking work. This is mostly at the start of the film... as it progresses it shifts more towards Hong Kong style gunplay action in the John Woo style, but never gives up on its mission to up the ante for violence. There is some fantastic gunplay in the film, grittier and less stylised than Woo's, but just as 'ballistic'.

The film is just as intense in its narrative and atmosphere as in the action, genuinely 'thrilling' and dark as it sucks you into the characters' situation, making you care for the relatively-good guys and despise the undeniably-bad guys. There's very little 'fluff' or wasted screen time (Tsui Hark's tacked on cameo at the end being the major exception!).

I first saw the film years ago - one of the first DVDs I imported when I joined the digital world, as it happens. I wasn't all that impressed at the time, though the level of violence/gore definitely stuck in my head. After an overdue rewatch on the new/improved HK DVD, Waise Lee is still a terrible actor, even in this (one of his best efforts), but the film is so intense and uncompromising that he can't destroy it. If Chow Yun-Fat had been free (and affordable) there is no doubt in my mind that this would be held up as one of the all-time classics of HK Cinema's 'Golden Age'. My new evaluation is that it comes pretty darn close anyway.


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