Published: 11/11/2014 14:43 - Updated: 11/11/2014 14:58

REVIEW: Inverness Film Festival - Firestorm

Andy Lau (centre) leads an elite team of gangbusting cops in Firestorm.
Andy Lau (centre) leads an elite team of gangbusting cops in Firestorm.


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Calum Macleod

In action cinema, cops don’t come much more hardboiled than the cops who police Hong Kong’s urban jungle. Star Andy Lau, who has plenty of experience of playing characters on both sides of the law in HK thrillers, brings a steely commitment to his role as the veteran detective being nudged towards taking whatever steps may be necessary to bring a violent gang to justice, providing a believable human core amidst all the mayhem. Chinese filmmakers bring a lot more energy to their games of cops and robbers than most, building up to climactic street gun-battle that makes the shoot-out in Heat look like a playground tussle.

Shame that Hong Kong filmmakers have fallen into the Hollywood trap of augmenting their action scenes with some unnecessary CGI, but devotees of Asian action cinema might wonder if a sudden appearance of a flock of pigeons is an in-joke directed at the former master of "heroic bloodshed" movies, John Woo, who always seemed to find room for an images of a dove among all the flying bullets.

What happens: Inspector Lui (Andy Lau) is determined to bring a seemingly untouchable gang boss to justice, even if it means crosses his own moral boundaries. Meanwhile, Lui’s old school friend Tou (Lam Ka Tung) promises his girlfriend Bing (Yao Chen) he is putting a life of crime behind him, but living up to that promise will put in the firing line between police and thieves.

Best scene: Lui and Tou scrap it out on a shaky bit of metal fencing suspended precariously between two Hong Kong tower blocks.

Who for: Fans of action cinema pining for the glory days of John Woo and Ringo Lam.

Quick review: A cop thriller as over the top as the master stuntmen of Chinese cinema can make it, with all the thrills that implies.

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