Plot: What’s it about?
The notorious terrorist faction the Concordians have struck once again and this time the results could be even more devastating than ever before. Inside a popular television station lies a time bomb which was placed and hidden by the Concordians and with each passing second, impending doom grows larger. This time bomb is no ordinary explosive device either to be sure. While a high impact explosion would cause massive damage and potentially injure many and even cost lives, this time bomb is even more dangerous than one such as that. When this device is triggered to deploy instead of an explosion this bomb will release a large dose of the nerve gas Sarin. This isn’t the type of stuff you want to fool around with, as it will leave you dead and in extreme pain before that. The only hope of disarming the bomb and solving the situation seems to fearless police officer Kent Wong and the always ready for a fight Takami, who don’t make such a smooth pair. But with the entire population’s lives hanging in the balance, including Kent’s girlfriend who works at the station perhaps they can pull this one off. But the terrorists aren’t going to lie down for this and they take action to prevent them from ending the crisis. With time running out for everyone and the danger building with every second, who will emerge with control of the deadly toxin?
If you consider yourself an action buff and don’t own this movie, you should be ashamed of yourself. This is one of the most powerful action movies I have ever seen and I have seen a lot of them, so I know good action when I see it. While many people assume the only action out of Hong Kong is martial arts, this film proves that intense non martial arts action flicks can also emerge from the area. This one has everything you expect from a good action movie like explosions, chases, and gun battles but it also has something few other action films possess, well developed characters and a rock solid storyline. I am sure some small plot holes are present, but nowhere near as many as in similar action pictures that’s for sure. The pace is brisk for the most part, but does slow at times though it never hampers the movie in any way. Tai Seng has issued a terrific disc for this film, so I can’t imagine why you action buffs wouldn’t want to give this one a test spin. I recommend this release as a rental to action fans and I think a purchase is in order for those who love the movie.
This film was directed by Bruce Law, who also helped pen the screenplay and choreographed the action sequences. This is Law’s first feature film and I feel he has delivered an excellent movie in terms of entertainment and achievement. I think many will remember the action driven scenes and such, but they will also recall how impressive those scenes look which Law is responsible for on both counts. Some of the scenes are downright poetic and even the lower key sequences seem to be well thought out and executed very well. Simply put, there isn’t a throw away shot in the film though I am sure some will argue otherwise. I look forward to future films from Law and I hope he is able to equal surpass this debut piece. Former pop singer Cheung Chi Lam (Best of the Best, The Island Tales) takes the lead in this film and runs with it very well. He seems to be at home within the role, whether he is in a complex stunt or a dialogue driven scene. The always charming and beautiful Shu Qi (Gorgeous, A Man Called Hero) steals this movie though, with her youthful demeanor and powerful screen presence. The supporting cast includes Teresa Lee (Purple Storm, Timeless Romance) and Kenya Sawada (Devils On The Doorstep).
Video: How does it look?
Extreme Crisis is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. This is a very sharp and detailed image, I noticed no compression errors and the source print is in fine condition. The colors are vivid and bold, but they never bleed or smear and flesh tones emerge in warm, normal hues. The contrast is also top notch, showing deep and accurate shadow layering and no visible detail loss. I wish this was 16X9 enhanced to be sure, but this is still a terrific visual presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is an action movie and the included Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks make sure it sounds like one. Whether you choose Cantonese or Mandarin, the speakers will be rocking when this one kicks into high gear. The surrounds work overtime in this mix and I noticed some serious subwoofer use as well. The effects never sound forced or hollow and the music is well placed in this mix also. The dialogue never gets buried under all this though, you’ll be able to hear each word loud and clear. I also never had to adjust the volume to keep a proper level, this is a very consistent mix. Subtitles are included in Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified), and English.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release contains a nice assortment of bonus materials, which should please fans of the film. You’ll find talent files for select cast and crew in both Chinese and English as well as the theatrical trailer for this movie. A short (about two minute) reel of outtakes has also been included and while this is brief, I was happy to see it included. You will find interviews with the director and three actors also, which have been subtitled for your viewing pleasure. In these interviews you are presented with text questions to choose from and once you choose you view the actual interview footage. A ten minute behind the scenes featurette rounds out the extras and this is also subtitled for those non Chinese speaking viewers.