27 February 2000 | DavidBjerre
Backdraft in Chinese, only better.
This is like Backdraft in Chinese. We follow a group of firemen at a big fire station as they struggle with their loved ones, their bosses, making sense of it all, and of course with fires. The film spends the first 35 min. setting up the character and the story, before you even see the first fire. But this means that once you see the fire, you actually care about those involved in it. Around 60 min. into the story, the firemen arrive at a blazing warehouse, where the rest of the film takes place, as they fight with other stations trying to get the `fire of the decade' under control, and save the civilians trapped inside. I was impressed with the fire sequences in Backdraft when it came out, but this blew me away. There aren't as many fire-scenes as in Backdraft, but they are far more realistic, more often than not resembling the clips you might have seen of actual firemen at work. And what's even more surprising is that it's the actual actors performing the stunts (the DVD contains a small featurette that clearly shows this)! Even when the characters are being helplessly engulfed in flames, as they are running for their lives, it's still them! And I'm not talking about quick cuts, no, you this in slow motion: The actor running, the fire going faster, the fire catching up and swallowing the actor, and just when you think it's all over: the actor, with (apparently) the last breath, jumping clear of the flames and to safety. I would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone who loves Chinese/Cantonese cinema, but also to everybody else. Because this this is a well shot, well acted, well written film, that - in terms of describing the lives of firefighters - are far more