Breaking News 2004 Review: More than just a shoot-em-up movie.

After a disastrous failure to stop a robber gang, the police attempt to redeem themselves through a series of publicity stunts and shootouts.

When an ambulatory TV news unit live broadcasts the embarrassing defeat of a police battalion by five bank robbers in a ballistic showdown, the credibility of the police force drops to a nadir. While on a separate investigation in a run-down building, detective Cheung discovers the hideout of the robbers. Cheung and his men have also entered the building, getting ready to take their foes out any minute. Meanwhile, in order to beat the media at its own game. Inspector Rebecca decides to turn the stakeout into a breaking news show. Star: Richie Jen, Kelly Chen (Tran Tue Lam), Nick Cheung.

Imagine a street scene. Its not a flash street, just a small side street in down town Hong Kong. Something’s going down, but we don’t really know what – we can see two men in a car. Talking in code with people on their radios, as they watch three men. Then all hell breaks loose, the three men are joined by a fourth and they’re shooting. Their weapons cause foot long jagged flames, and those bullets sound like they’re hitting spots not far from where we are sitting.

We realise the two men in the car were policemen. And they’re joined by reinforcements. Lots of them.

In a Police van, which the four gunmen steal and get away. Until they’re stopped by traffic. More policemen. More shooting. Policemen in uniforms are surrendering and being shot dead anyway. Then the four gunmen make a final getaway, by stealing an ambulance, leaving someone stranded on a stretcher.

That’s the first seven minutes of this action movie (phim hanh dong xa hoi den) . Afterwards. The gunmen hole up in a labyrinthine apartment block while the Police do their best to smoke them out. There is the CID and the OCB led by a very ambitious Inspector Rebecca Fong – there are something like a thousand (!) cops deployed in her assault on the building. Then there is the UCD, a sinister group, dressed in black body armour and face masks.

There is more going on in this movie than the bringing of these criminals to justice or the turf wars between Cheung and Fong.

The title gives this away – Breaking News (Nhuc Han Uy Long). Thanks to the street fight, the media has got hold of the story and the cops are not looking good. So, most of what Fong is doing is playing up her response for the media – sending in 1,000 cops in bus after bus makes for an impressive sight. Then you put webcams on all the cops and select what is going out to the public. Hell, why not put a sexy soundtrack behind scenes of the cops going after their men.

But the crims aren’t beyond playing that game too – they’ve got their own footage, in which they’re winning, setting explosions off that are killing more cops. And they’re holed up in an apartment with web access. Then, to show they’re real people as well, they cook lunch, a really nice lunch it was too, and broadcast images of them sitting down to a joyful meal with their hostages.

Of course, with the kind of manpower the Police are throwing at the crims, you never really expect them to get away. And yet, the two leaders of the two groups get a lot further than you might expect.

Author: Duong VR

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