Two parts gritty action, one part satire on “the age of media,” BREAKING NEWS has more to say than your typical shoot-‘em-up (although there is plenty of bullets and mayhem). While maybe a bit exaggerated (i.e. each cop being wired with a camera), the film successfully plays with the idea of how our constant-information culture is more dangerous than helpful—covering everything from television to the Internet to cell phone cams. I might have been looking too much into it, but the combo of violence and the media seemed eerily reminiscent of the war in Iraq (with reporters spilling intel on live TV that actually helps the robbers, the press manipulating footage in the police’s favor, even some loudmouth celebrities voicing their unnecessary opinions). This critical commentary is helped by the realistic action/violence, which grounds the spectacle in believable realism. (You won’t see any slow motion ballet-like gunfights with doves in this movie).
At less than 90 minutes, the film wastes no time—by the half-hour mark it’s a nonstop action assault for the remainder of the movie. The quick, kinetic pace keeps the excitement level up, but there are some awkward shifts in focus as a result. Despite an interesting dynamic between criminal and hostage, the only character who gets any true development is the “bad guy;” which makes it hard to root for the actual police protagonists, who are mere clichés of the genre.
Nevertheless, BREAKING NEWS is an inventive execution of a tired formula, with cool camera work and an unapologetic style found only in HK cinema. Take, for example, the opening shot—an 8-minute continuous take (ala TOUCH OF EVIL) that travels fluidly up buildings, into rooms and cars, down busy streets, and in the middle of a gunfight. It’s mind-numbingly amazing. (Assuming you care about that kind of stuff…I was close to busting a nut, but my casual moviegoing friend, for the life of him, couldn’t figure out what I was so excited about.)
Deleted Scene (2:18): A quick bit showing the cops running surveillance on the robbers. This was already covered in the film, so I can see why it was cut.
Making of BREAKING NEWS (3:08): For being so short, this Making Of featurette is pretty effective. We get snippets of interviews with the cast and a lot of behind-the-scenes footage of the action sequences, including a look at how they pulled off the incredible opening shot. Nothing too in-depth, but you get a good sense of the energetic mood and fast pace of shooting.
There’s also a Theatrical Trailer, Previews and Weblinks to the official BREAKING NEWS site.