Actors: Andy Lau, Ka Tung Lam, Michael Wong, Yao Chen
Director: Alan Yuen
Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Widescreen
Language: Mandarin Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Well Go USA
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Run Time: 118 minutes
Firestorm is what I imagine The Town or Heat would have looked like, had the director been John Woo rather than Ben Affleck and Michael Mann. The storyline is a rather straightforward crime narrative that is built around gun-heavy action sequences. It is cops against criminals, and most of the time this battle is carried out with an old-school appreciation of the bullet-ballet. There are even a few sequences that utilize pigeons, within the battle and the cinematography.
The story follows a tumultuous investigation into a series of deadly armored car heists occurring in broad daylight. Because the villains wear masks and have a network of accomplices, these criminals are only concerned with escaping, regardless of who they have to kill in the process. One police inspector has a theory on who may be responsible for masterminding the thefts, and his suspicions lead him down a solitary path within his department.
Andy Lau is arguably the star of Firestorm, as well as a debatable hero in the occasionally incomprehensible narrative. While most films would have had no problem making the tough Inspector Lui (Lau) an admirable protagonist, however, Firestorm takes his narrative into the sub-genre of crooked cops. His choices make the film more difficult to view, because a majority of the villains in the film are not developed enough to care about. There is a bit of mystery behind the man that Lui suspects above all others, but it is not enough to add any depth to the film or the heavily stylized action sequences.
Above all else, this is a popcorn movie. It is filled with senseless action sequences, many of which defy logic but provide an allotted amount of eye candy. There are far better police procedurals available for those wanting realism or good characters. Firestorm provides what the title offers, and a gluttonous overindulgence of it. The Blu-ray release highlights these assets, sending bullets whizzing around the various speakers of my surround sound for much of the running time. The extras on the disc include a making-of featurette and a trailer.
Entertainment Value: 8.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10
Historical Significance: 5/10