Posted on 8/07/09 01:39 PM
Breaking News is the best film of its kind since Keanu Reeves had to deal with a speeding bus. This a gripping, edge-of-your-seat, situation action movie which from the virtuoso opening shot to the end credits barely takes a break for lunch. The premise is simple: A group of criminals are hiding out in an apartment complex. The police find out the location of the criminals. The police try to get in. The criminals try to get out. Apart from an added commentary on the use of media that is basically the film. The film's sublime exploitation of its stripped down bareness to achieve maximum effectiveness recalls Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13. The film is less than ninety minutes long. There is no filler like so many of today?s action films. It gets to the core of its idea and executes it with technical ingenuity and narrative intelligence. It isn't as quirky as director Johnny To's other takes on genre but by playing it straight he has created a film that doesn't just give an interesting spin on a genre but a film that is itself a remarkable example of one.
A great deal of the success of genre stalwarts Die Hard and Speed can be attributed to a certain level of verisimilitude they maintain. Much of the action felt like it could happen so when something outlandish occurred the viewer was so involved with the story that it didn?t really matter. The same is true of Breaking News. Police procedures are meticulously detailed (this may be the best police procedural film since The French Connection) and feels real. Action is controlled and tight. Writing the following sentence I am aware that it may be one of the few positive comparisons of a film to a video game in the history of human writing but this film feels a lot like Rainbow Six except with, you know, real people. And that is a genuine compliment. Breaking News succeeds where every video game film should succeed but always fail ? here we feel as though we are part of the action. This is thanks to the attention to detail, and camera work and editing are that are rarely anything other than inventive, fluid and perfectly executed.