Full Alert (1997) Review

"Full Alert" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Full Alert" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Director: Ringo Lam
Writer: Ringo Lam, Sammy Lau
Producer: Ringo Lam
Cast: Lau Ching-Wan, Peter Yung Kam-Cheung, Chin Kar-Lok, Monica Chan Fat-Yung, Emily Kwan, Francis Ng, Amanda Lee, Jack Kao Jie
Running Time: 98 min.

By Barey Gusey

After making his Hollywood debut in Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Maximum Risk (which was heavily tampered with by the studio), director Ringo Lam (City on Fire) returned to his native Hong Kong to film Full Alert, a dark, superbly written crime drama.

Other than a very long and realistic car chase, action is almost beside the point. Instead, the viewer is treated to a screenplay that blends emotion and intelligence, accented by finely textured performances by two of the best character actors in the business: Lau Ching-wan (A Hero Never Dies) and Francis Ng (9413).

Style is something Lam could care less for. No flashy cars, no young heartthrobs, no cliched love story, no funky camera angles, and no jumping in the air while shooting fifty rounds before hitting the ground. Still, Ringo delivers the excitement and energy without all the extra pizzazz and shine.

Raw, intense and gritty as hell are the words that make up this movie. Earning multiple nominations at the 1997 Hong Kong Film Awards, Full Alert certainly ranks as one of Lam’s most accomplished efforts to date.

Barey Gusey’s Rating: 9/10

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