Blu-ray Review: Full Alert

Inspector Pao in action

While he might not be as well known as the likes of Johnnie To, John Woo, Tsui Hark or Jackie Chan outside of his native Hong Kong, Ringo Lam made a number of great films and was highly influential on countless filmmakers. Probably best known for City on Fire, which was one of the inspirations that Quentin Tarantino has cited behind Reservoir Dogs, he had a successful collaboration with Chow Yun-fat and less memorable one with Jean-Claude Van Damme. Full Alert remains one of his best.

Mak Kwan (Francis Ng), an expert in bomb-making, murders his partner. He’s arrested by the police, led by Inspector Pao (Ching Wan Lau), and placed into custody. Kwan’s girlfriend Chung (Amanda Lee) informs his mafia boss about the imprisonment. A plan is hatched to rescue the captee as he’s a key part of the gang’s plan to pull off a major heist. Pao manages to uncover the plot and gets his men ready to repel the attack.

Full Alert benefits from two great performances from Ng and Lau. In some ways they set the template for much of what followed in Hong Kong cinema. Cop versus bad guy. Good versus evil. A battle of wills and a very personal vendetta. Whilst Lam’s film isn’t afraid to get lost in the drama, it doesn’t stint on the action either. Car chases, gun fights, explosions and foot races aplenty. Full Alert gets the mix just right, creating a film which is both entertaining and exhilarating.

Special features:

  • Limited Edition O-Card slipcase featuring new artwork by Grégory Sacré (Gokaiju) [2000 copies]
  • 1080p presentation on Blu-ray from a High Definition transfer from the original film elements
  • Original Cantonese audio
  • Optional English Subtitles
  • Brand new feature length audio commentary by Asian film expert Frank Djeng (NY Asian Film Festival)
  • Brand new interview with composer Peter Lam
  • Audio commentary by director Ringo Lam
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • A limited-edition collector’s booklet featuring new writing by David West (NEO Magazine) [2000 copies]

Full Alert is released on Blu-ray by Eureka Classics on 22 November.

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