Writer: Casey ChongWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Lifeline” & “Inferno”
When the first Hong Kong firefighter movie, "Inferno" hit cinemas on 3 October this year, the highly anticipated, big-budget production was met with a mixed response. Now here comes a second Hong Kong firefighter movie, "As The Light Goes Out", in the space of three months.
At first glance, "As The Light Goes Out" seems like an instant blockbuster winner - it has director Derek Kwok (best known for his award-winning "Gallants" in 2010) and a line of all-star ensemble including Nicholas Tse, Shawn Yue, Simon Yam and Hu Jun. The good news is, this movie mostly delivers.
"As The Light Goes Out" takes place on a single night during Christmas Eve when a team of firefighters - team chief Sam (Nicholas Tse), Chill (Shawn Yue), Tao (Simon Yam), Ocean (Hu Jun) and among others - from Hong Kong's Lung Kwu Tan station is called upon to stop a fire at a winery in Menford Street. Things go well at first, until the fire starts to spread again from the winery to a nearby power plant at Pillar Point which gradually causes the entire Hong Kong to suffer from a total blackout.
Apart from the martial arts drama "Gallants", director Derek Kwok proves to be one of the brightest and most versatile filmmakers working in the Hong Kong movie industry today, when he co-directed with Stephen Chow in this year's "Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons". Kwok has certainly proves his worth again in "As The Light Goes Out". He has keen eyes for special effects which make the fire and the smoke look lively and visually engaging. While the plot is mostly cliched stuff found in this kind of firefighter drama, Kwok and his screenwriters Jill Leung and Philip Yung manage to fulfil the genre requirement with solid characters-driven drama and top notch acting showcase.
Speaking of acting, both Nicholas Tse and Shawn Yue, who previously collaborated together in Benny Chan's "Invisible Target", contrasting well against each other (Tse plays the conflicted character, while Yue is a hotheaded person). Supporting roles (Simon Yam, Hu Jun) and even smaller roles (Andy On, Liu Kai-Chi and Patrick Tam) are equally worthwhile. The only disappointment in the acting department here are the female cast (e.g. Bai Bing, Michelle Wai), which fails to leave much lasting impression.
For the technical department, some of the action sequences are breathtaking but there are times when Jason Kwan's jittery camerawork makes the action looks difficult to follow since it takes place in murky and smoke-filled area.
Although "As The Light Goes Out" is not as gripping as "Lifeline" (Johnnie To's seminal Hong Kong firefighter drama), the movie remains a solid and entertaining blockbuster. At least it shows more credibility than the underwhelming "Inferno". By the way, do watch out for a certain cameo appearance (Hint: a famous Hong Kong actor) earlier in the movie.Cinema Online, 24 December 2013