I am a dozen movies behind in my reviews so here are two Hong Kong action flicks.
Police Story 2013 is about the aged policeman Jackie Chan trying to save a bunch of hostages, including his daughter. It’s a downbeat, more dramatic (sometimes brutal) movie, and it’s made clear that Jackie Chan is no longer a spring chicken – there are several scenes where he’s beaten up pretty badly. The film has several rewinds and flashbacks, when Jackie Chan thinks through what might happen or tries to link the current situation with old cases. I enjoyed it, but it’s definitely not like his carefree older flicks where the plot is secondary and the action is comical. Some of the Hong Kong attitude comes through in lighter moments with the secondary characters, who remain comedically self-interested despite the situation.
Firestorm is a spectacular Andy Lau crime movie, with all the typical Hong Kong touches – an upright cop tempted by the dark side, vicious gangsters, including a childhood friend, corruption, spectacular fights, heavily armed villains, and a finale that destroys half of downtown Hong Kong. I loved the movie, and found it satisfying on several levels: the action is amazing, the plot is twisty (though initially confusing), the protagonist struggles with moral questions, and the villains are threatening. Andy Lau can look so straight-arrow and then utterly malevolent when he wants to.