City on Fire

  • Film
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The inspiration for Reservoir Dogs, this 1987 crime movie is a good example of the thriller HK-style ('style' being the operative word). Social and psychological nuance is out. Designer shades are in. Hong Kong's biggest movie star, Chow Yun Fat (The Killer, A Better Tomorrow, Hard-Boiled) is the epitome of Esquire cool, more playful than Clint, more intense than Mel, much better looking than Arnie or Sly. Here he's an undercover cop, Ko Chow, who works his way into a gang of jewel thieves at the cost of his fiancée and, perhaps, his own integrity. This is straight-cut, fashion-plate pulp. Tarantino fans will note the familiarity of the set-up. In fact, Reservoir Dogs is an elaboration on the the climax of Ringo Lam's film: after the heist goes wrong, the gang hole up in a warehouse, where bullets and recriminations start to fly. There's none of Tarantino's formal inventiveness, none of the finesse or the wit, just a gut-wrenching dramatic situation ready to explode.

Release details

Duration: 110 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Ringo Lam
Screenwriter: Tommy Sham
Cast: Chow Yun Fat
Danny Lee
Sun Yueh
Roy Cheung
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