Director: Alan Yuen
Writer: Alan Yuen
Producer: Andy Lau, William Kong
Cast: Andy Lau, Yao Chen, Gordon Lam, Hu Jun, Ray Lui, Kenny Wong Tak Bun, Michael Tong Man Lung, Terence Yin
Running Time: 109 min.
Wow. Did I have high hopes for this one. Andy “Infernal Affairs” Lau in a rock ’em, sock ’em thriller. I’m there. This was one I HAD to see. This was the one that would take the recent sour taste of Blind Detective and Special ID out of my mouth. So why am I am so speechless right now. Was it that good? Not exactly. But let me say this. There is an action scene that arrives at the 30-minute mark that almost saves the entire movie. Almost.
So Andy plays an obsessed cop on the trail of some pretty suave bank robbers. But before you can say “Al Pacino in Heat,” the filmmakers sprinkle in some Infernal Affairs to spice things up. And just for the record, I still believe IA was a better flick than The Departed. Sorry. I love saying that every chance I get. Now back to business. Let me talk about that action sequence which involves an exploding building, two men fighting in the air, but before that, cop and criminal exchange blows on a gate barely supported. Believe you me; I am NOT doing the sequence any justice. It has to be seen. Then after you see it, rewind the damn thing and watch it again.
But a great scene does not make a great movie. Hell, three great scenes do not make a great movie. And that is the best way to describe Firestorm, which is a pretty cool title by the way. The final 20 minutes becomes a “Heat on crack” action bonanza. But it reaches the point where it is almost too much. There are no real characters to root for. You want to cheer for Lau but his performance makes it oh-so difficult. We have the usual mole within the bad guys with a woman dying for him to go straight. Watching Firestorm, one cannot help thinking that we seen this too many times before.
There also comes a point where a movie becomes too flashy or tries to be “too stylish.” I’m afraid Firestorm falls into this category. The action scenes are top notch but once they’re over, the movie slows down and becomes the typical “Oh no. I think we have another informant in the crew,” followed by “let’s all point our guns at each other.” But there is another cool scene in which a flock of pigeons are used as a distraction on a crowded street. I have not seen birds used so effectively since John Woo brought the doves to America in Face/Off.
Overall, you can do a lot worse than Firestorm. You can also do better. Just don’t expect anything new on the acting front and wait for those 2-3 kick ass action scenes to wake you up.
Sapo’s Rating: 6/10