City on Fire - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

City on Fire Reviews

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August 13, 2012
The original Reservoir Dogs. More understandable and less dialogue of who dun'it? of Tarantino's classic!!!!!
Super Reviewer
June 10, 2012
Jesus fucking christ, Tarantino didn't improve shit. This movie is great for it's own merits, and sadly has just ended up being refered as the "movie that inspired Tarantino". Which just adds further injury to the irony.

More than a mere action filler, this is a film about the characters. Back in the days when both Ringo Lam and Chow Yun Fat were the top dogs in the genre. recommended view for any serious HK movie aficionado.
April 7, 2012
I liked Reservoir Dogs
½ April 4, 2012

Essentially, the movie Reservoir Dogs ripped off.
½ March 31, 2012
Definitely the inspiration for Reservoir Dogs, this little Ringo Lam crime drama is what Hong Kong cinema is all about, the plot and emotion are added together perfectly, you really feel for Chow-Yun Fat's character as he is foiled into something that he doesn't want to do, and if that's bad, he has a nagging fianc├ (C) at home. Real great acting throughout as you feel the friendship build between Yun-Fat's and Danny Lee's characters, building up to the emotional ending.
½ February 15, 2012
Quite a simple and slow moving story of a undercover cop infiltrating a robbery gang. Not much action and kept at a tight timing. A snitch is been killed by a gang of thugs. Sun Yueh is the inspector in charge. Chow Yun-Fat go to a club to find his girl Carrie Ng and created troubles, the cops arrested him. Sun Yueh summon him to the mortuary. Chow and the dead snitch are undercover cops actually. Sun want Chow to take over his role. He doesn't want to do such job anymore. He feels irksome to betray his gangster friend who is like a brother to him. A group of robbers attack a jewelry store. Danny Lee is at the guard room to disable the alarm but a guard fight him. After Danny took care of him, he join the rest upstairs. An old lady saw the robbery and escape down, call two patrol cops. Danny went down and accidentally kill one cop. More cops arrive and they manage to escape with the loots. Roy Cheung is another new inspector from HQ sent to help Sun. Chow wait for Carrie at her home and got her a proposal ring. He decided to help Sun and infiltrate the robbers gang. Danny and Chow meet up on buying guns. Chow is been follow by cops under Roy instruction. Carrie want to register the marriage early but Chow want to pull back the dates. Danny bring Chow to cemetery and search him. His tape recorder is nearly expose but Chow diffuse the situation. They manage to strike the arms deal. Carrie is angry at Chow and going to Canada with a rich man. She tell him if he mean it, they will meet at the registry 10am. Chow need to do the deal around the time too. He can't shake off the cops tailing him and get help from Sun. Chow shake them off at train station. After 12pm Chow went to get the guns at bowling alley. He saw Danny there leaving. Then the cops arrives. Danny picks him up and escape. He bring Chow to meet the big boss who invite him to join their next robbery. Carrie leave with the rich man. Chow is arrested at the airport. Roy ill-treat him in the station. Sun is agitated and want to fight Roy. Their superior intervene. Roy and Sun each insist their methods to nab the robbers. Roy want Chow to continue as undercover but Sun already promise Chow he will retire after complete arms deal. The superior agrees with Roy. Danny and Chow become good pals. The boss wants them to stay in the same place, void of communications for safety sake. Carrie send Chow a letter from overseas asking him to bring her back to HK. Roy think it isn't necessary to get so many cops for this job and override Sun command. The robbers have chosen their target and will leave after the robbery. The cops are asleep just outside the store which robbers targeted. The alarm trigger and one robber kill the salesgirl. The robbers escape and all cops chase after them. Chow block a shot for Danny. Some robbers are shot dead already. Chow left clues in his wallet for Sun to read. The boss think Chow is traitor. He point gun at Chow, Danny trust him and point at the boss, another robber point at Danny. The cops reach their warehouse. One robber want to go out surrender and the boss kills him. Danny and Chow kills the boss. He tell Danny he is cop. He is arrested and Chow is dead. Sun smash a brick at Roy head.
January 13, 2012
The monument of Hong Kong films, the germ of Hong Kong noir, and an immortal masterpiece which keeps influencing on many future films. Well known as the archetype of Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs" and the modern classic of Hong Kong noir "The Infernal Affairs." The first half is little bit slow and has some unnecessary scenes and subplots, but it also describes well about Chow Yun-Fat character's private life and background, and it makes the excitement of the second half much more. The basic theme of Hong Kong noir - "The good die, and the bad live" - is already said here by one character. The climax at the garage is one of the best scene ever made among all crime suspence films. The combination of Chow Yun-Fat and Danny Lee shows superb performance (It's interesting that their roles - a cop and a gangster - are opposite here to ones in John Woo's "The Killer"). Night scenes of Hong Kong are really really cinematic and spectacular. Jazzy soundtrack fits well to it in the first half, but in the second half, music works negatively in speedy action sequences.
Super Reviewer
January 12, 2012
I was thrilled watching Reservoir Dogs so I decided to check out the movie that Quentin Tarantino borrowed heavily from, though not as good, I found it to be a great movie.

An undercover cop, played by Chow Yun-Fat, infiltrates a gang of thieves who plan to rob a jewelry store. The story sounds familiar, but Quentin Tarantino doesn't borrow everything from this movie. For example, the bank robbery going bad is actually shown, Chou Yun-Fat character also has a love interest that wants him to commit to her, and Chow Yun-Fat character really wants to quit his job throughout the whole movie. Yet despite these differences, it's not as good as Reservoir Dogs. The story main problem is that Chow Yun-Fat character back story to wanting a marriage with his girlfriend is really not that interesting at all or adds emotional weight to this character from the audience.

The good and bad things about this movie also comes from the bank robberies. The first took too long to execute and wasn't all that entertaining and fun. Though the second and last robbery was a little better. Seeing the bank robbery go bad was entertaining in it own right, but the Mexican stand off at the end didn't thrill as much as it should have. City on Fire is like Reservoir Dogs, except it shows the robberies, a marriage back story, and not as captivating performances.

City on Fire is a surprisingly good movie despite not being at the same level as Reservoir Dogs as a whole. While I stilled like the movie, I feel that anyone who seen Reservoir Dogs won't be able completely enjoy it in the same level. Still worth checking if you're curious where Reservoir Dogs came from.
January 7, 2012
Great disappointment. I had heard so much about this and sadly it didn't live up to the hype. Ringo Lam the director in my opinion is very overrated as I have yet to find a film I like by him. First the big issue with the movie is not the acting but the major subplot. It is horribly written and handled in the movie. I groaned everytime the romantic subplot came on the screen. It has no reality whatsoever to it. Both characters act so unbelievably that the movie comes to a screeching halt. Plus the whole act takes up half the movie. Second Ringo is not a good action director. The scenes just lack in getting me involved. Overall I didn't care about any of the characters so the end was also a waste. It would have been a real downer if I was just gave a damn but as it stands I do just went so you tried for the ironic and gave me a figures. Oh well give me John Woo any day. The worst Woo movie buries this movie to shreds.
Super Reviewer
½ October 22, 2011
City on Fire is a solid crime flick and worth checking out if you're a fan Asian cinema, but lets get one thing straight right now...

Any one who says that Reservoir Dogs stole everything from this movie is not only just plain wrong, they CLEARLY don't know anything about film.

While there are similarities between Reservoir Dogs and City on Fire's third act, the rest of the film couldn't be more different. Reservoir Dogs is shorter, has completely different characters, a different structure, totally new dialog, and in emphasizes totally different elements of the classic bank robbery gone wrong plot.

Other than the undercover cop, the jewelry heist, and the fact it all ends badly, these two films are TOTALLY different in almost every way. Reservoir Dogs is a tighter, better acted, better written and better directed film. Watch the two films back to back and you'll see the differences between the two are painfully obvious.
½ September 27, 2011
Between a 6/10 and 7/10, while City of Fire has a killer ending, the guts of the film are so-so.
August 13, 2011
a film with a lot of heart...and bloodshed
July 10, 2011
The influence for Reservoir Dogs
½ May 12, 2011
There was a golden gun at the beginning that was explosive, too bad they didn't use it again.
½ February 21, 2011
Questi Honkonghesi sono sempre pi¨ sorprendenti!
Super Reviewer
January 21, 2011
An undercover cop infiltrates a gang of jewelry thieves without the knowledge of the police unit investigating causing a conflict in his loyalties. City On Fire was one of the first HK action films to try and fully develop the idea of an undercover cop becoming immersed in the criminal underworld and the psychological price he would pay for it. As such it can be seen not only as the template for Reservoir Dogs but also the forerunner to modern crime films such as Infernal Affairs and obviously therefore The Departed. It is in fact only the final half hour in which the gang pull off their heist that forms the basis of Reservoir Dogs, and this sequence has stood the test of time; unfortunately the rest of the film has not fared so well. Chow Yun Fat is as charismatic as always, but his homelife is a bit too soapy and the humour therein is barely above the level of the average Jackie Chan movie, the police station politics contain the usual HK stereotypes and the soundtrack is terrible in the way that only 80s Hong Kong movie soundtracks are. However it is still far grittier and realistic than the vast majority of its contemporaries and as such can be seen as the stepping stone between the blend of macho posturing and sentimentality of the likes of John Woo and the sophistication of the modern heist movie. It's certainly still worth a watch for that reason, especially for fans of Tarantino who can see where the seeds of Reservoir Dogs were sown.
January 16, 2011
For those who don't know by now, Tarantino majorly plagarised this film.
½ December 2, 2010
Decisamente migliore di quella mezza robetta girata da Tarantino ;)
October 7, 2010
An well made drama, the building tension between all of the characters creates an excellent atmosphere
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