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The Big Heat
Year: 1988
Waise Lee prepares for carnage in The Big Heat.
Director: Johnnie To Kei-Fung, Andrew Kam Yeung-Wah
Producer: Tsui Hark
Writer: Gordon Chan Car-Seung
Cast: Waise Lee Chi-Hung, Joey Wong Cho-Yin, Philip Kwok Chun-Fung, Matthew Wong Hin-Mung, Paul Chu Kong, Michael Chow Man-Kin
The Skinny: Routine cop thriller highlighted by some of the most insanely staged bloodshed ever. Needless to say, this is an admirable work.
by Kozo:
     Extreme over-the-top violence permeates this grim cop action picture from Tsui Hark's Film Workshop. Absurd action reigns when cop Waise Lee decides to solve one last case to avenge his dead friend. He's Inspector Wong, an overly intense cop who suffers from nerve damage to his hand. His retirement is due, but when he discovers that an old associate has died in Malaysia, he stays on board to bring this last perp to justice.
     Co-directed by Johnnie To and Andrew Kam, The Big Heat is a rather conventionally plotted cop thriller that possesses many of the staples of the genre. One of Inspector Wong's partners is a rookie cop (Matthew Wong) who falls in love with an impossibly pretty nurse (Joey Wong). The bad guy is a ridiculously evil crime kingpin played by Paul Chu. And, nothing truly important or special happens during the course of the film. The film is populated with your standard characters and as such, most avid fans of the genre will likely have seen this stuff before.
     But there's action. It's not excessively frequent action, nor are the circumstances of the action inappropriate. However, when said action occurs, the movie totally changes. The police procedural stuff falls to the wayside, and the carnage that ensues is just beyond description. Blood flies, heads roll, and bones snap in just about every conceivable way as our heroes chase the fabulously evil bad guys. Everything that happens during action sequences gets turned up a notch, and results can be laughable. However, the experience can also be gleefully shocking and wildly entertaining, as the violence on display can exceed the expectations of even the most seasoned HK Cinema fan.
     Beyond that, the film possesses no truly extraordinary features. Waise Lee turns in an appropriately intense performance, and the largely star-less cast (with the notable exception of Joey Wong) gives the film an appropriately gritty feel. Without a Chow Yun-Fat-type actor to overwhelm the proceedings, the audience can concentrate on the film's more important matters: like the insane violence. Yep, it's THAT bad. The filmmakers gleefully leave no stone unturned in their quest to bring all-out mayhem to the screen. We respectfully appreciate their hard work and determination. (Kozo 1996/1999)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Joy Sales
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese Language Track
Dolby Digital 2.0
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Mega Star Video Distribution, Ltd. Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen