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Reality TV in Hong Kong: Tightly-Wound Action with Stylish C
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 01/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After very humiliating defeat of Hong Kong police, young and ambitious Inspector Rebecca Fong (Kelly Chen seen in `Infernal Affair') proposes one daring plan - that is, to bring the TV crew to the crime scenes, and let them broadcast how the `real' police are doing their jobs, risking their lives to protect the people from criminals. When another inspector hot-tempered Cheung (Nick Cheung) finds out the hideout of the criminals (and the very criminals that undermined the dignities of the police), Inspector Fong is assigned a job to show the police work on the air. What Fong didn't know is that the criminals are much more resourceful and cleverer than she thought.
Johnny To takes up the idea of reality TV shows, and uses it in the unique way. Not that the idea itself is original - you know so many TV shows following the real-life police officers, or Robert DeNiro film '15 Minutes.' It is the way how the criminals led by the leader Yuan (Ritchie Ren) fight back and tries to escape that is really intriguing.
(ULTRA-STYLISH, GREAT OPENING) Johnny To is known for his prolific career and stylish camerawork, and in `Breaking News' he again shows his great skills in creating the tension and beauty while shooting the action scenes. The opening seven minute sequence is just brilliant. It is shot in one take, and shows us that shoot-out scenes can be so intense without using many fast cuts.
Some may find the film slightly confusing because of the police organization in Hong Kong. Fong belongs to OCTB (Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, and Cheung is a cop from CID (Criminal Investigation Department). Another unit PTU is also mentioned (and PTU played a central role in To's previous film `PTU' starring Simon Yam and Suet Lam, both also seen in `Breaking News), but all you have to do is to keep in mind that Fong and Cheung are from different sections of the police.
I think the ending is a little weak, and cast-against-type Kelly Chen is not convincing. And probably the idea of reality TV could have been more explored. But with the intriguing characters and situations, some of which are humorous - Have you seen the `bad guys' cooking in the kitchen? -- `Breaking News' is riveting throughout."
Very Good Hong Kong Crime Drama!
Ernest Jagger | Culver City, California | 12/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very good crime-drama, which takes place in Hong Kong. When the local television coverage show the police in an embarassing defeat by 5 bank robbers; the police department resolves to show the public that their police department is well equipped to handle any situation. And further, they resolve to prove to the public that their recent debacle shown throughout the city of their embarrassing defeat by five thugs was just an abberation.
However, things get a little more complicated than they wish. The HK Police department decide to videotape the apprehension of the suspects with their own coverage--complete with policemen wearing small video cameras on them when they attempt to take down the bad guys. Easier said than done however. Detective Cheung (Nick Cheung) who is relentless in his pursuit of the criminals accidentally stumbles across the criminals in an apartment building. What ensues is both controlled and uncontrolled chaos. Now the police find themselves with a public relations nightmare on their hands, as the criminal take hostages.
The criminal in charge of the five man gang is named Yuen (Richie Jen) and when he realizes he is up against thousands of police, he resolves to use the citizens and building as his way of escape. Also holed up in the building is another criminal group, who believe the police are after them. The HK police wind up taking on more than they can handle. In addition, the HK Police inspector, Rebecca (Kelly Chen) tries to allay the publics fears by showing breaking news stories with her police in the best of light. [under controlled media coverage] This is a very smart film, and highly recommended."
A cops and robbers movie with a twist
morgoth | omaha, NE | 04/26/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After a thrilling shootout that seems to be inspired by Michael Mann's 'Heat', killer thieves are on the run from the police and hideout in a large apartment building. While we do get more exciting shootouts, the movie takes a huge turn and focuses more on the media side. The police decide to put cameras on all of their special officers and look to give the people the most exciting news experience possible. After the police manipulate the footage covering up their mistakes, the bad guys send their own information to the media, and police and reporters are surprised to say the least.
Leave it to Johnnie To to take a different turn on the average Hong Kong cop bloodshed movie and make a near masterpiece. The movie drags a bit at the end but is a fun ride almost all the way through.
The DVD from Palm Pictures has excellent picture quality and good 5.1 sound. Special features include a deleted scene and a 3 minute making of."
This Was Surprising
Keith A. Jones | Philadelphia PA | 05/31/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What's most interesting about "Breaking News" is that it starts out with a cool shootout between the cops and robbers. A group of robbers catch the police on the wrong day as they get tied up in a web of media scandal. The Hong Kong police want to use this group of robbers as an example and gain a reputation. The police are using the media to broadcast every moment of their attempts to capture the robbers. The thing the cops don't know is that these robbers are pretty darn smart and constantly trying to outsmart them. When the police finally get the five robbers cornered in an apartment building it becomes a showdown between the two to see who can use the media best but only one side will come out alive.
I actually rented this movie because the cover looked interesting but I wasn't really expecting much from it. This is a hard one to review, just when you think the film has shown you all it's got it gives you some more. I like the whole feeling of it, the pacing and especially the camera work. This had great camera work, the director shows scenes that you may see in any other action film but shows it from such good angles that it exceeds the regular action film and looks better. You're given plenty of room to see everything so you won't miss a thing. For a actor to truly work well their character has to be written well and every character is written well in this movie.
When the well-written characters were put with this talented cast the acting turned out pretty good. The story is very cool and it developed wonderfully. There is a great hero villain duo in Nick Cheung and Richie Jen and they truly keep the movie going. Nick plays a great tough nosed cop that just won't stop until he gets the bad guys and his performance was great. From beginning to end this is one movie that will definitely hold your attention. I really love that the bad guys had great plans and were not stupid. Plus Richie Jen was playing his character so well I started rooting for him to win.
For me the only problem with "Breaking News" is that the action and gunplay could of been a bit better. The explosions could've been a little more realistic and bigger. Even the beginning shootout could have had a bit more oomph I think but again the camera work helped it look good. Over all this is definitely a film that is worth watching, it has few flaws but will exceed your expectations. This has plenty of shootouts but is not all gory so if your looking for something like that this won't work but otherwise try it out."
Cops & Robbers Reality
Chan Joon Yee | Singapore | 09/22/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The cast isn't great and the plot is not always believable, but this is one of the Chinese movies that I watched from start to end.
Brilliant camerawork and explosive sequences are what made this movie work for me. The scene opens with one tenacious, die hard detective from the Serious Crimes Division leading his men to a group of mainland robbers ready to leave the territory with their loot. In the ensuing shootout, the TV crew filmed a police officer, getting on his knees and begging one of the robbers not to shoot.
This embarrassing scene brought shame and disgrace to the police force as the online community in Hongkong made their sentiments know. A female police officer (played by Taiwanese singer Kelly Chen) suggested to the chief that they ought to win back some public confidence and respect by making an impressive show out of the robbers' recapture.
Police intelligence revealed that the robbers were holed up at an apartment with a labyrinth of corridors. A thousand police officers descended on the building. The female officer played by Kelly Chen took command of the whole operation. The real life difficulties of evacuating the building, tracking down the robbers, disobedient colleagues from another department, entertaining the media and ensuing the safety of hostages are handled skillfully by the director.
As the robbers from the mainland were true professionals, they managed to make things extremely difficult for Kelly and her team. Not only did the bad guys have automatic weapons and an endless supply of ammo and grenades, they could also use gas tanks as bombs, took their own amateur footage of how the cop bungled and uploaded them to the internet.
Luckily for the cops, the renegade detective from the Serious Crime Division defied orders and stayed in the building with his team. When the special forces moved in and got duped by the gangsters, the team moved in on the gang. All but 2 of the robbers/killers were killed. The 2 surviving gangsters somehow managed to escape from the building. The die hard detective went after them, got knocked down by a car, got up, continued chasing ...
Even less believable was what led to the beautiful, intelligent female commanding officer going after the escaped robber alone, only to be taken hostage! The disobedient, die hard detective came to her rescue and it was a happy ending."