Go do gaai bei
Mandarin: Gao du jie bei
English: High Level Readiness
Ringo Lam Ling-tung helmed this grim, highly engrossing crime thriller, which
is highlighted by deeper characterization than HK genre films are generally
known for. When a bloated, decomposing body is discovered in an apartment
building's water tank, police officer Pao (Lau Ching-wan) arrests former construction
demolitionist Mak Kwan (Francis Ng Chun-yu). After blue prints and bomb making
materials are discovered in his apartment, Mak confesses that he accidentally
killed the victim and hid his body but will not admit to anything else. Mak's
Taiwanese partners (who include CITY OF SADNESS' Jack Gao Jie) make a desperate
attempt to rescue their buddy while he is being transported to court. In the
subsequent chaos, one of the their men is killed and Pao loses one of his
in a car crash. Mak is later able to escape with some inside help, so the
police concentrate on his girlfriend (Amanda Lee Wai-man). The mounting pressure
on Pao causes him to become reckless and, in an attempt to apprehend Mak,
he wounds an innocent motorcyclist. The police are eventually able to determine
that Mak's target is the safe at the HK Jockey Club. While it seems an impossible
task, Mak is an architectural design expert and has determined the one weak
spot that will allow him access.
Lau Ching-wan and Francis Ng are both excellent as
the adversaries compelled to best one another in a competition that is akin
to a children's game with deadly consequences for those around them. Very
well shot and scored, the film includes a bravura car chase that seems to
encompass half of HK, but action and violence are not the main preoccupations
here. While Lam's previous HK thrillers boast colorful antagonists, Mak Kwan
is a far more intelligent and humane individual. The viewer does not condone
his actions but does empathize with him, and this attention to character (which
also extends to the various officers under Pao's command) and clever scripting
make FULL ALERT one of Lam's most striking and gratifying works to date. Monica
Chan Fat-yung (as Pao's concerned wife), Chin Kar-lok, Peter Yung Kam-cheung,
Chris Lee Kin-sang, and Lee Siu-kei, are among the supporting players.
Cover art courtesy Mei Ah.
|Mei Ah #DVD-057 (Hong Kong
Dolby Digital 2.1
Sync Sound Cantonese and Dubbed Mandarin Language Tracks
Optional Subtitles in English, Traditional Chinese,
Japanese, Korean, and Bahasa
20 Chapters -- No Illustrations or Menu Guide
Coded for ALL Regions
Contains moderate violence
DVD menu courtesy
BOARD RATINGS AND CONSUMER ADVICE
Australia: MA 15+ (Medium Level Violence)
Great Britain: 15
Hong Kong: IIB
Singapore: PG [Passed With Cuts]
The 1.85:1 feature is presented at 1.75:1 and looks
good, aside from some mild, intermittent haziness. The interpositive source
material is very clean and attractive but the digital compression is dodgy,
with some smearing apparent. As the film was shot with sync sound and contains
a mix of Cantonese and Mandarin, the former track is certainly preferable
and also sounds a bit better; stereo separations are fairly subdued but effective.
There are no extras or time coding and the 20 chapters are simply placed every
five minutes, not marking anything specific.
FULL ALERT is available
at Poker Industries.
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© John Charles 2000 - 2003. All Rights Reserved.