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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » City on Fire (Buena Vista)
City on Fire (Buena Vista)
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // R
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Phillip Duncan | posted August 13, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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City on Fire is said to have been an influence on Quentin Tarentino when he filmed Resevoir Dogs. The similarities are few and far between and extremely vague to say the least. It's better to go in and appreciate the film for what it actually is, an entertaining detective / crime thriller set in Hong Kong.

The version review was produced by Beuna Vista and contains only the English dub audio and subtitles, therefore I can't comment on translation or any plot differences. With that out of the way, the plot of the story is fairly standard. Chow Yun Fat is Ko Chow, a deep undercover that infiltrates a gang of jewel thieves. Fat does a god job as the cop and there is quite a bit of story that is being told, some of it unnecessary. There is a girlfriend that he constantly leaves hanging and threatens again and again to leave him. All through the film they go back and forth with no resolve to their relation in the end, at least not one dictated by their own decisions anyway.

As Ko Chow becomes more and more involved with the thieves he must deal with his growing empathy for them and the pressure the rest of the police force puts on him. For most of the film there seems to be an unbelievable amount of miscommunication between the different aspects of the police force. He is constantly harassed over and over again after he and his superiors both explain this situation. In the end, nothing helps the situation and little comes of his detective work.

The DVD:

The Video:
There are a lot of night scenes in the film and the transfer is done well. There is an overall blur to the video, but this is an older film that obviously didn't receive the attention that some films do. This version is presented in an anamorphic 1:85.1 ratio that isn't offered on other versions of this film.

The Audio: Is presented in a bright Dolby Digital 5.1 English mix that will have some complaining on the lack of the original dialog and subtitles. This is not even a selectable option but can be found on other editions. The audio sounds extremely good with the score and music being mixed and sounding better than some recent American films. There is nothing audible that detracts from the film unless you refuse to watch a dubbed movie. On that note, the dubbing is well done and doesn't distract as badly as some.

Extras: There are no extras on this version of the disc.

Overall: It's an interesting movie from early in Chow Yun Fat's career. The picture on the box of him is more recent, probably playing on the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and other Asian imports that are increasingly become popular. Those expecting an action-packed fight film will be disappointed. As I Pointed out, this is a plot heavy film that has a few good car chases and robbery sequences in it. It's definitely worth a look, especially to fans of the genre and those who like Chow Yun Fat.
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