Whereas three old friends work together in a fire station in Hong Kong, a fire breaks out in a rundown residential block on Christmas' Eve, threatening to plunge the whole city into darkness if it spreads to a to a nearby power plant supplying natural gas. Politics, competition and distrust between the firemen of the Pillar Point Division are to be expected.Written by
The doors to the stairwells of the relevant section of the power station open toward the stairwell, via crash bars on the corridor side and via handles on the stairwell side. When Water and his two companions exit into the stairwell and rush down the stairs to the ground floor, they find that the handles of the door there will not budge because they are locked. In one shot, they are struggling to get the doors open, then there is a brief cutaway close-up shot to one of them beginning to reach for his smartphone, and in the next shot, the doors that they are standing before have crash bars rather than handles. It could be that these other doors were along an out-of-frame wall, but even if that is the case, the children's positions relative to one another do not match the previous shot, as though an entire sub-scene (of them trying to exit through this new door) is missing. See more »
Director Derek Kwok, the same man who brought us the wonderful Gallants, and co-directed with Chow Sing Chi the fantastic Journey To The West: Conquering the Demons - brings us a tight (if not, slightly overly-long), character-driven-disaster-film set around a team of firemen in Hong Kong, on the night of Christmas Eve. In between the melodrama and arguments between comrades, the worst of the worst happens when the gas line to a power-plant catches fire and explodes resulting in a total blackout across the city!
As The Light Goes Out features a top cast with Nicholas Tse, Shawn Yue, Simon Yam, Andy On, Hu Jun and many more, all who give stellar performances as the men in uniform. While the first part of the film builds up their relationships, in between some rescues and education on how deadly fires can be, things really kick-off on the half-way mark as the team set out to tackle the blazing inferno at the plant. On top of that, Shawn Yue finds out his son might be in the building, left behind with a couple of friends, from a school trip earlier in the day.
Clichés and heavy drama aside, As The Light Goes Out is actually quite gripping at times, with the thick black smoke often portrayed as a slow moving demonic force, creeping in on its victims who are trapped in its sanctum. While the majority of this is done with pretty decent CGI smoke, it still offers enough tension and fear, along with some stunning visuals and great cinematography - that makes this bitter-sweet Christmas disaster movie (about firemen), quite exciting to watch.
There's plenty of impressive stunt work from Jack Wong Wai Leung, a veteran of the Jackie Chan Stunt Team and the guy behind some work on New Police Story, Hero, SPL, and more. And talking of Mr. Chan - the legend gets a great cameo near the beginning as a recruiting fire-fighter in a TV commercial for the force, dodging asteroids on his motorbike to the theme from Police Story...
Brief, but brilliant!
Not without its flaws, and odd moments of cheesiness, As The Light Goes Out manages to be, for the most part, thrilling and entertaining, with a gripping and intense second half that leads to a big, nail-biting and explosive ending...
Overall: Worth the watch, and something a little different, As The Light Goes Out is an impressive and entertaining piece of Hong Kong cinema!
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