- POSTED: 10 Dec 2013 14:24
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"Firestorm" may not bring anything new to the table, but strong performances from its leads Andy Lau and Gordon Lam, coupled with spectacular action sequences make it worth a look.
SINGAPORE: “Firestorm” follows the tried and tested formula of Hong Kong crime films.
There are fierce gun battles, undercover moles, and multiple betrayals.
In “Firestorm”, Hong Kong actor Andy Lau plays police inspector Lui Ming Jie, who goes after a gang of ruthless robbers that hit armoured trucks transporting money from banks.
Among them is his old friend Tao Cheng Pang (Gordon Lam), their getaway driver and lookout whom had been recently released from prison.
The robbers carefully make sure not a shred of evidence against them is ever found, and repeatedly slip through Lui’s fingers.
However, when an informant’s daughter is harmed by the gang, Lui has to decide if he is willing to give up his ideals and break the law to bring them to justice.
Tao on the other hand, struggles to choose between starting a new life with his girlfriend Yin Bing (Yao Chen) and his life of crime.
Should he work with Lui in exchange for a fresh start? Can he trust him? And can he safely get out of the gang?
The highlight of “Firestorm” is definitely Lau and Lam’s performance in the film.
Both actors portrayed their characters convincingly.
Lau made Lui’s struggles relatable.
His expressions and body language all served as windows to Lui’s tortured psyche, as he wonders just what it means to be a good policeman and walks the tightrope between good and evil.
Lam delivers his lines very well and brings out Tao’s quiet desperation in his scenes with his girlfriend.
The sparks really start to fly when Lau and Lam share scenes together.
The pair has undeniable chemistry and made these scenes riveting, speaking volumes about the conflict between them with just a look, and highlighting each other’s internal struggles as the situation goes from bad to worse.
In contrast, the main villains of the piece Cao Nan (Hu Jun) as well as Brother Pak (Ray Lui) are one-dimensional and underdeveloped.
Explosions, explosions, explosions
Apart from the lead characters’ emotional conflicts, another highlight of “Firestorm” is its lavish action sequences that are huge, violent spectacles.
In an early action scene, a crane hooks an armoured car and dumps it on the road near the waiting robbers.
When the police arrive, a massive gun battle ensues with both sides exchanging automatic gunfire.
The stakes only get higher from there.
Instead of just assault rifles, grenade launchers are used later on, followed by machine guns and other explosives.
These explosion-laden action set pieces mark key turning points in the film and truly put the “Fire” in “Firestorm”.
However, they also throw the film’s pacing a little off as they tend to be quite lengthy, and slows progress to the next plot point, though action fans may find this a good thing.
With some excellent performances from Lau and Lam, as well as some impressive action sequences, “Firestorm” is a crowd-pleaser, even though it doesn’t quite bring anything new to the table.
“Firestorm” opens December 12.