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Category:    Home > Reviews > Crime > Drama > Foreign > Hong Kong > Breaking News (2004/Palm DVD)

Breaking News (2004/Palm)


Picture: C     Sound: B-     Extras: C     Film: B-



Bank robbers go on a robbery and killing spree to get away and a top cop wants revenge.  No, this is not Michael Mann’s Heat from 1995 (or Mann’s TV movie version before it) but director Johnnie To’s Breaking News (2004) takes place in Hong Kong and the blatant murders put the honor of the police at stake, so the chase begins.


There are five robbers, but the cast is larger and filled with many roles and surprises.  What could have been another boring police procedural with Hong Kong-styled action is a little better and smarter than the usual formula in the genres.  Humor is minimal and though there is nothing innovative in the acting, action or plot, this moves along nicely enough to keep fans of this type of storyline happy.  When it is finished, you feel like you have seen another side of Hong Kong, which is a plus considering the glut of films from that world hot spot.


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image was shot on film stocks by upstart Tai Fung and they are different enough to give this an interesting look, but it is still the generic Super 35 look that is beyond played out.  Here, cinematographer Cheng Siu Keung is obviously going for that look, but Video Black and general detail leave something to be desired.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is in Cantonese and has a very odd sound design.  It is not very rich or thick, even though this was the same 5.1 Dolby in theaters, but the soundfield is on the verge of being choppy.  Too bad Palm did not issue this in DTS so we could see if it was Dolby’s compression limits.  Extras include weblinks, a deleted scene, “making of” featurette, which is only three minutes long, trailer for this and two other Palm DVD releases.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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