By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
The difference between the cop-type characters Donnie Yen has played over the years lays with how gentle he is or just how much Raging Fire he has. This film made a proper debut in the summer of 2021 and it didn’t take long for it to make it over to North America. The home video release has a bonus which looks at the making of this exciting film!
Although we’re getting a direct to home video release, I’d go see this film on the big screen. Before the pandemic, the last film I saw of Yen’s was Enter the Fat Dragon, and it was worth every effort to visit the only cinema (in Vancouver) that screened it. This film takes advantage of that big screen presentation in the climax when we see him deal with his protege Ngo (Nicholas Tse), who turned bad, in true Batman-like fashion. Can he brutally hurt his nemesis or let him live to face justice?
Bong (Yen) is very by the book and honest. He’s one of those rare types who will never take a bribe or turn the other way around because a higher-ranking boss orders him to. He has a conscience, and this actor proves that even though he’s older, he can still deliver the punches.
Although Tse steals the show with his portrayal of a cop turned bad, his charm is something akin to Heath Ledger’s slowly developing madness. We get a very comic book style presentation, complete with crazy motorcycle chases, throughout the streets of Hong Kong; this highlight makes more sense than vehicular races. It’s crowded out there, and there’s some terrific choreographed stunts crafted by maverick filmmaker Benny Chan (New Police Story). He sadly passed away because of cancer during post-production. I’ll miss this director as he knows how to deliver the action.
Chan deftly examines what being a cop means in his screenplay. It’s not just about doing good for society, but also with what it all means between comrades in arms. Yen delivers a terrific speech before the big final act, where he has to face his nemesis.
4 Stars out of 5