LIFELINE

Director Johnnie To
Year 1997
Starring Ching Wan Lau, Alex Fong and Carman Lee
Run Time 108min
Age Policy

18 and up; Children 6 and up will be allowed only with a parent guardian. No children under the age of 6 will be allowed.

More Info IMDb

After the international success of Ron Howard's BACKDRAFT, Hong Kong master filmmaker Johnnie To responded with his own firefighter action movie - and it burns.

It's about a hard luck fire brigade - when we meet them they've all just gotten severe food poisoning - who welcome a tough new by-the-book chief after losing yet another commander to injury. To introduces the characters in the manner of a classic war movie: there's the young kid, the lionhearted hero who won't play by the rules, and the woman whose husband disapproves of her profession.

For the first hour we get to know the team, at work and at play, in much the manner we'd expect of this type of film. Then the movie takes a turn into true brilliance as the squad becomes trapped in a massive warehouse inferno and must rely upon their skills and character to rescue its inhabitants and escape.

The filmmaking during this 40 minute long sequence is some of the best you will see anywhere, and all the time you've invested getting to know the characters finally pays off. 90% of the shots during the climax of the film involve actual, towering walls of flame. The actors and crew were in real danger and the human drama and excitement are hot to the touch.

A little known and underappreciated classic. See it on the big screen! (Lars)