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.