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When a live TV news crew broadcasts an embarrassing defeat of Hong Kong's police department by just five bank robbers, public opinion of the force plummets and the department vows to capture the robbers at any cost. Detective Cheung (Nick Cheung) accidentally stumbles upon the fugitives hiding out in an abandoned building, and soon Yuen (Richie Jen), the notorious leader of the five-man gang, finds himself and his crew under siege by thousands of police officers. Seeing this as an opportunity to restore the public's faith in the police department, Inspector Rebecca (Kelly Chen) turns the stakeout into a breaking news show, with live updates beamed out to a transfixed Hong Kong. But the plan may backfire when attempts to manage the press come undone as hostages are taken, true identities are unknown, and the building contains not one gang but two...
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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.
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.
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.
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 is a very entertaining, charming and manipulative movie. It makes you like and admire the criminals for their skill and their charm (former Chinese military who become bank robbers).
Usually, I am black and white about criminals but I think this movie was designed to allow the audience to sympathize with everyone unlike Drug War which really makes you angry at criminals/cop killers.
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