Sunday, March 30, 2014

City On Fire - 1987

Not a lot of people stateside have seen "City On Fire," the 1987 film from Ringo Lam starring Chow Yun-Fat, which is a pity. I've often been surprised that Ringo Lam's movies haven't gotten more recognition over here, especially the ones starring Chow Yun-Fat, but in particular, I've always been especially astonished that more people haven't seen City On Fire, because most people I know have seen the film it "inspired" - Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs."

Don't get me wrong - I love Reservoir Dogs as a film, but after seeing City On Fire (which I did see after Dogs), I was a little astonished how much of the movie is lifted wholesale. Let me tell you the basic plot of City On Fire and see if it sounds at all familiar.

Chow Yun-Fat is a cop, who is tasked with infiltrating a bunch of jewel thieves. He's been chased by cops, most of whom don't know he's an undercover cop. And he starts to bond with the very gang of thieves he's meant to be infiltrating. Then things go horribly awry.

There are a lot of differences between the two movies, but the two are alike enough that a guy on YouTube created a 10 minute film called "Who Do You Think You're Fooling?" which shows how strikingly similar the two movies are, down to overlaying large swaths of Dogs' dialogue over City On Fire. In fact, it's almost as if the two movies fold together to make one big movie. (A lot of the things that are related in Dogs are the events that actually happen in City.) But both films eventually come to the entire same last act - a bunch of criminals attempting to figure out what went wrong, and who the cop that's infiltrated their group is.

Regardless of how much of the movie is lifted wholesale, City On Fire is a great Hong Kong film that isn't from John Woo (but still stars Chow Yun Fat, who is one of those actors I will watch in just about anything...) and is absolutely worth your time.

No comments: