Fei hu (1996) Poster

(1996)

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8/10
Not the typical Hong Kong action movie...favors realism over style
trancejeremy13 December 2005
A fair amount of movies from Hong Kong about about the "PTU", or Police Tactical Unit, basically their version of SWAT. But (at least the ones I've seen) like most SWAT movies in Hollywood, they tend to eschew any realism in favor of style.

This is a very interesting exception. Perhaps foreshadowing the burgeoning methamphetime problem, a PTU unit in Hong Kong first must confront a heavily armed gang of drug dealers who have a gigantic load of meth, then a seemingly police trained gang of thieves. And at the same deal, deal with an investigative unit that keeps wanting to join in on the gun fights, despite being hopelessly outclassed.

The action isn't non-stop, but there are at least 3 big gun fights, the finale of which is by far the most impressive. And what's impressive is that in all of the gun fights, actual tactics are used. Not just the hero running in with a pistol in each hand and shooting every bad guy (not that there is anything wrong with that, at least if its Chow Yun Fat). Actual talk about real firearms and military hardware, too. And teamwork.

The acting is interesting. It's not bad, but the lead actor speaks in English all the time (or mostly), while all the others mostly speak Cantonese. I guess because while Asian, the lead is from the US. Since I don't speak Cantonese either, I watched it with English subtitles, and it was weird having subtitles for the English parts in English (which I didn't need).

Also interesting is that it features a couple other American characters, and they can actually act. (Usually it seems like they just pick a random American tourist to play Americans).

The main character also quotes Yoda. Would have been better if he did it in a Yoda voice. But I thought it was amusing.
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8/10
Tactics and firepower make the film
valdyr22 April 2000
First Option is an exciting action-packed movie about the Hong Kong SDU unit. The primary purpose of this exercise is to offer up several quality gun battles between the SDU teams and a team of highly trained mercenaries.

There's a plot in there, to be sure, concerning itself mostly with interdepartment squabbles and the location of the drugs sought by the police, but the movie is really about the action.

While hardly an accurate portrayal of police tactics, First Option does have several things going for it: (a) there's lots of troops in most of the scenes (most of the action is done by fireteam) and (b) these troops all have automatic weapons. (which is realistic for the situation) The editing and sound production help drive home the violence of these conflicts, which are the meat and drink of the movie. There's a few explosions to help liven up the gunbattles, giving the whole film a nice balance of action.

First Option is far more motivated towards pseudorealism than most action films. The police have to work together to win, rather than relying upon a maverick cop who can slaughter the badguys while the rest of the police force looks on. The team is the important thing here and that really does come through.

The cinematography works well for the most part - most of the action is filmed outdoors during the day and is consequently easy to follow. There are a few too many closeups at times, but not enough to rob the action of its impact or value. Sound production on the firearms is clean and much better than the average Hong Kong film (no stock popping sounds here).

Check it out if you want a movie about fireteam to fireteam conflict. If that doesn't grab your attention, then give it a miss.
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2/10
Last Resort.
pmwgreen25 June 2000
This film marries wooden acting, bad production values, a stupid script, and what I can only assume is contempt for the public to produce a multi-car pile-up you can only stare at in disbelief. What anyone can find to entertain them in this film is beyond me. Why can't they just dub Michael Wong into Chinese? The man is a multi-lingual ham, he can't act in any language! The whole film seems over exposed, you can't follow what's going on, and you can't believe it when you can.

Giving this film anything more than a 2 is an insult to the Hong Kong film industry, that has produced many fine films over the years.
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2/10
Thin Plot, Thin Acting, Thin Action
Mitch-3819 December 2000
The exploits of a Hong Kong Police commando team trying to stop drug smuggling, is the theme of this dud actioner. Naturally, the headstrong leader of this team (played by Michael Wong) has his hands full fighting the bureaucratic HK Police command, and the crooks trying to smuggle "Ice" into the city. What's an iconclastic hero to do? Well, it seems if one looks bored enough, and this star does, one simply has to do a lot of sermonizing and go through the typical "movie cop" angst. The action, what little is there (don't waste your time looking for genuine "suspense") is enough to solicit yawns from teenage males, whom normally chew this sort of movie up. It really kind of came off as a VERY long "Just Say No" public service announcement. It's not awful, just way short of an rational attempts to define the term mediocre.
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