Plot: What’s it about?
Jeff (Chow Yun Fat) works as a bouncer at a local nightclub, but while he is skilled with his hands, he is even more skilled with guns in those hands. As such, he has a reputation as a tough guy and no one messes with him, for fear of his vengeance. His friend Sam (Anthony Wong) has gotten into some trouble however, which means Jeff will have to step in and prevent any further damage to his good friend. It seems Sam owes a substantial amount of cash to a loan shark and if the debt isn’t taken care of soon, Sam will repay the loan with his life. Of course, Jeff won’t allow that to happen and since he doesn’t have the needed funds, he agrees to help a gang of criminals in a heist, with hopes of using his share to get Sam out of this dangerous situation. The task involves a truckload of ammunition, which seems like a simple enough job, but things don’t go just as planned. Judge (Simon Yam) is the gang’s leader and when things begin to go awry, he and his men turn on Jeff and leave him no choice, but to seek revenge in a most bloody fashion…
Based on the same book as Payback with Mel Gibson, Full Contact is a much better movie and of course, Chow Yun Fat is much better suited to handle the action demands. This is one of the elite action movies out there, filled with visual spark, intense action sequences, and expert direction from one of the genre greats, Ringo Lam. As you would expect, Lam keeps the pace brisk and pushes the action & visuals, but there is also a good story here, which is good news. The focus is on the action however, so if you want a rush of well crafted chases and shootouts, Full Contact will meet and exceed those needs. Chow Yun Fat is superb in the lead, while Simon Yam and Anthony Wong provide terrific on deck performances, as per usual. Lam’s direction is on the money from start to finish, but he excels in the action scenes and while some directors fizzle out toward the end, Lam remains strong and ensures Full Contact ends with the explosive finale it deserves. This movie is highly recommended and since this disc has a widescreen transfer & the original Cantonese language, it represents the finest chance to view the movie on home video.
If you’re looking for an actor who knows how to handle the guns, but can also show intense range, Chow Yun Fat is the natural choice. He has been in so many of the best action movies, you almost begin to accept his name as a seal of quality, which isn’t wrong most of the time. I love his performance in Full Contact and while it isn’t his best work, his turn here is terrific and ranks up there with his better efforts. He and Lam seem to have a good amount of chemistry as actor/director, as he seems to mesh with Lam’s style, almost to perfection at times. Chalk up another great action performance for old reliable, who once again proves why he is one of the world’s best action performers. You can also see Chow Yun Fat in such films as The Killer, A Better Tomorrow, City on Fire, Hard Boiled, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The cast also includes Simon Yam (Hitman, Naked Killer), Anthony Wong (The Untold Story, Time and Tide), and Bonnie Fu (My Father Is A Hero, Dream Killer).
Video: How does it look?
Full Contact is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. As is often the case with Hong Kong movies, this one looks much older than it is, thanks to less than pristine source materials. This movie was made in 1992, but looks much older and shows wear signs, from simple flecks to heavy grain at times. These flaws don’t ruin the experience, but it can be a little distracting, to be sure. The colors seem a tad faded also, while contrast is stable, but not as stark as I would have liked. This is an acceptable image in the end, but not much more and I would love to see a restored edition in the future, as this is a great film that deserves a better treatment.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is an action movie and as such, the audio is quite active, but the surround presence is thin at times, though it all still sounds very good. In terms of Hong Kong releases, the included Dolby Digital 5.1 surround options are very good, but when compared to American blockbusters, the audio is a little less explosive. Even so, the included Cantonese & Mandarin language tracks sound good and offer an active environment, so I don’t think there’s cause for alarm. The surrounds are used often and to good ends, especially active in the action scenes, of course. The dialogue is sharp, clean, and never falters, although I don’t speak either of the included languages. This disc also includes subtitles in English, Chinese (traditional & simplified), Korean, Japanese, Indonesia Bahasa, Malaysia Bahasa, Vietnamese, and Thai.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes some talent files, as the film’s theatrical trailer.