San Francisco International Film Festival 57
Since the 1980s, Hong Kong has perfected the action melodrama. In Firestorm (Fung Bo), Andy Lau stars as a flawed hero cop whose alliances with underworld figures threaten to bring him down. A few years ago, Lau appeared at the festival and his young female fan base was out in force. He wasn’t here this year but there was still a sizable crowd for a late night screening. Written and directed by Alan Yuen, the plot has some complexity and the dialogue comes fast so I was never sure whose side everyone was on. It didn’t matter because the movie has some of the greatest action sequences ever recorded.
From the production notes: “A hardboiled senior police inspector Lui (Andy Lau), hot on the trails of Nam and his tight crew, determines to put an end to this madness that causes the lives of innocent people. But he soon comes face to face with the cruel reality that the usual police tactics are too futile to send these armed thieves behind bars. Extreme crime requires extreme justice, even if it means crossing his moral line. Tou (Lam Ka Tung), an ex-con desperate to leave his criminal past behind, volunteers to be Lui’s snitch in exchange for a fresh start with her girlfriend Bing (Yao Chen). But little does he know what hellish situation he’s getting himself into.” I couldn’t have said it better.