Movie Review: Breaking News (2004)
Breaking News (2004)
Director: Johnnie To
Cast: Richie Jen, Kelly Chen, Nick Cheung
Synopsis: A Chinese TV crew captures the humiliation of a police unit by five bank robbers.
One of the biggest hurdles mainstream Asian movies have to overcome to be successful with Western audiences is the development of detailed, fully-rounded characters. Too often, otherwise perfectly acceptable movies are let down by one-dimensional lead characters. In action thriller, Breaking News, which takes a wry look at the cynical manipulation of the media by the police, the characters are nothing more than cyphers; at times they border on caricature: the uptight female police officer, the laid-back villain, the comical slob – they’re all here. While the film’s action sequences are top notch – including a bravura opening sequence filmed largely in one take by a camera that roams in and out of an apartment building, alighting on a number of characters before engaging them all in a lengthy gunfight and street chase – you can’t help feeling this could have been a modern classic if a little more time had been spent on developing the characters. But then, this is obviously the way the Chinese like their action movies, and there’s no reason to expect them to change simply because of differences to the Western idea of what constitutes a well-made film. If they haven’t done already, some Hollywood producer will probably come along and remake it anyway.
(Reviewed 4th January 2012)