Big Bullet (HK 1996)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 2/10/01
Director: Benny Chan
Cast: Lau Ching Wan, Jordan Chan, Yu Rong Guang, Anthony Wong, Theresa Lee

A bit of a letdown after seeing the totally kick-ass trailer, but still a fine piece of entertainment. Lau Ching Wan is an intense, hot tempered cop (hey, there's a surprise) who gets transferred to another unit after beating up his backstabbing superior. His rough reputation wins him the respect and admiration of his new teammates, except for Jordan Chan who is disgusted by his impulsiveness and lack of discipline. This sets up the formulaic rivalry for the rest of the story. Naturally, this mismatched team breaks open a huge case involving drug runners Yu Rong Guang and Anthony Wong by breaking the rules and disobeying their superiors. Jordan loosens up a bit and everyone gets treated like heroes by the end of the film.

A welcome surprise from Hong Kong as this is a great looking and great sounding big budget action thriller with very high production values. Unfortunately, as Hong Kong productions become glossier and more professional looking, the stories become less interesting and more clichéd. The action pieces are exciting and well staged, but seem a little too sparse for me. There's all of ninety seconds of kung fu goodness dealt out by action veteran Yu Rong Guang, but it's quite rewarding. It's not a stretch to see Yu Rong Guang and Anthony Wong playing evil gang bosses - they look natural and confident in their roles, and fortunately they don't have to resort to psychotic antics to validate their bad-guy status. Lau Ching Wan is also in a typecast role, but he still comes off as being genuine and fresh. Cute and perky Theresa Lee is a welcome sight, but she doesn't get enough opportunities to be tough. In the funny subtitles department, we see that "Don't fuck it up this time" is translated as "No more games." Very amusing. Overall I'd say it's a good police thriller and a good way to satisfy a Hong Kong action fix.