A group of gangsters led by Yuen (Richie Jen) has a massive shootout with the
police, led by officer Cheung (Nick Cheung) in the streets of Hong Kong. &
not only do the gangsters get away, Hong Kong's police force is also seen in a
bad light thereafter ... which ambitious police inspector Rebecca (Kelly Chen)
plans to correctby making the capturing of the gangsters a live tv-event, which
will shed a more favourable light on the force again ... or at least that's the
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Due to his eccentric methods, Cheung is soon dropped from the case & it
is handed over to a large SWAT team, who all storm the appartment block Yuen
& company are hiding out in - with cameras in their helmets for
tv-transmission ... but Cheung & his men just won't accept that & go in
on their own, thinking they owe it to their dead colleagues from
Yuen & company soon find refuge in the appartment of Yip (Lam Suet), a
naive taxidriver who hasn't taken the evacuation of the building too
seriously, & rather accidently find themselves in having him & his kids
as hostages. & while in the buildings hallways the SWAT-teams do little to
improve the situation but deliver perfet pictures for broadcasting, Yuen
decides to take matter into his own hands & via internet sends some
alternative pictures to the media to stir things up a bit, including one of
him, his men & his hostages having a peaceful lunch ... which leads Rebecca
to serve lunchboxes to all her cops & the journalists outside the building.
Soon Yuen has found a way to get out of his squeeze too, sending out his
hostages as human bombs, for the SWAT teams to take care of, whiel he can make
it out the backway (that the human bombs were not even sharp is besides the
point). It would have worked too, if Cheung & men wouldn't have seen though
the illusion & in a shootout pretty much kiled everyone but Yuen ... who -
as botched up police-operations go - manages to take Rebecca his hostage for
the getaway. It's only thanks to Cheung, who still wants to "nail that
bastard" that Yuen is shot & Rebecca is freed in the end.
& Rebecca, who didn't want Cheung on scene in the first place, in a
typicalö reversal of fortune in the media world, now makes him a hero.
This filmk actually tells 2 stories: one is a typical genre story of a cop
wanting vengeance for the killing of his colleagues, & even though he is
drawn off the case, he "nails that bastard" in the end - & this
story doesn't sound very promising. What takes the movie to another level
though is that this story is embedded into another one of an officer trying to
pull off the whole story as a media-event, spindoctoring all the setbacks as to
present to the media a cut-out hero in the end ... even it is the man least
likely to. & as so often with Johnnie To's genre films this new twist on an
age-old genre story makes it a highly original film that is a genre movie &
media satire at the same time.
Furthermore this might be the first film in at least 2 decades of cop movies
where a supporting character -a cop .- mentions he will be retired in 2 years
... & still lives to see the end of the movie.