Old Man Yells at Cloud: Ringo Lam’s "Sky on Fire"

One of the year’s most anticipated films opened this week in a handful of theatres across North America: Hong Kong director Ringo Lam’s Sky on Fire. After his promisingly solid return to directing after more than a decade in retirement with last year’s Wild City, hopes were high for the new film, if only because it shares the title formulation of some of his greatest works: City on Fire, School on Fire and the two Prison on Fire films. With Daniel Wu starring in a story of greed and corruption in the medical industry, it promised to be a worthy addition to the career of one of Hong Kong’s most distinguished directors, a man whose bleak tales of institutional collapse provided some of the most viscerally kinetic and apocalyptic visions of the colony in the years between the 1984 Joint Declaration and the 1997 Handover. Instead, it’s a mess,

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