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City On Fire [DVD]

Chow Yun-Fat , Lou Kong , Ringo Lam    Suitable for 18 years and over   DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Chow Yun-Fat, Lou Kong, Danny Lee, Sun Yueh, Roy Cheung
  • Directors: Ringo Lam
  • Producers: Karl Maka
  • Format: PAL
  • Dubbed: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Hong Kong Legends
  • DVD Release Date: 25 April 2005
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007RUSYE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,871 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Chow Yun Fat stars as maverick undercover cop Ko Chow in Ringo Lam's explosive thriller, said to be the basis for Quentin Tarantino's 'Reservoir Dogs'. Ko Chow finds himself trapped and seriously wounded after a jewel heist goes wrong and the gang he has infiltrated suspects a betrayal.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On The Lam 21 May 2010
Well-made HK cops and robbers flick that is lifted from the average by Chow and Danny boy's essaying of roles they can play in their sleep and the kinetic direction of Ringo Lam. It is bloodier than the norm for this early period of Heroic Bloodshed and the expected scripting deficiencies which plague most of these films is not really a hindrance when you have Chow on the case. Reservoir Dogs fans will have a blast spotting how many scenes are ripped off from this formative crime thriller and there really is a lot of similarity and not just during the warehouse climax and de rigeur Mexican standoff. Lee and Fat really are prototypes for Keitel and Roth in QT's later critical hit and let's not pretend otherwise that such hagiography is the rich man's plagiarism. This film is not a classic HK staple compared with the real gold to be found in the genre and buyers beware that the Dimension Region 1 disc is dubbed and has had the soundtrack tinkered with before adding to your basket.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Famed among Tarantino's admirers and detractors alike as the film that inspired/was ripped off by Reservoir Dogs, Ringo Lam's City On Fire doesn't really provide much in the way of fuel or ammunition for either camp: in truth, it's a very different animal with only the last ten minutes bearing much resemblance to the massively-chinned fading wunderkind's breakthrough movie. Nor is it quite the classic of Asian cinema it is often held to be (presumably by those who haven't seen it considering how often it is wildly inaccurately described), but rather a solidly crafted Hong Kong cops and robbers flick that does its job well for 104 minutes but doesn't exactly sear itself on your memory. Yes, it does end up in a warehouse with three crooks having a Mexican standoff over an undercover cop bleeding to death from a stomach wound on the floor, but the bulk of the film is concerned with Chow Yun Fat's undercover cop trying to quit but forced into that fatal one last job infiltrating Danny Lee's gang of cop-killing jewel robbers.

Budget restraints restrict the amount of action, though what there is is typically well-handled, while as a dramatic character study it is somewhat diluted by the clumsy comedy with Chow's fiancée and the signs of the usual making-it-up-as-we-go-along Hong Kong thriller screen writing that sees Lee's character change from stylish city slicker in the robbery scenes to a rather more simple-minded working Joe as he and Chow bond while hiding out before the last big job. It's not too strong on logic either, with some of the police too happy to torture one of their own and conspire to arrest him for it not to seem like stretching dramatic contrivance to breaking point at times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic 18 April 2007
Directed by the much lauded Ringo Lam, this movie centres on Undercover Cop Chow Yun Fats infiltration of a gang of thieves. City On Fire is well written and paced, and all the characters are well developed. Chow Yun Fat fans should be warned that its not a straight up actioner, more of a crime thriller (although theres a fair amount of action including some stunning set pieces). This gives Yun Fat a platform for arguably his best performance. Theres a humanity in the interplay between Chow and his girlfriend, and also of Danny Lee's thief character that makes the film stunningly compelling. City On Fire has been hugely influential since, with films like Donnie Brasco and Reservoir Dogs liberally borrowing ideas from it. The film is a timeless career highlight for both Actor and Director.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome undercover cop movie. 20 Feb 2014
Ringo Lam is (in my opinion at least) one of Hong Kong's most underrated directors and City on Fire is him in top form. Chow Yun Fat is brilliant (as usual) in the lead role and you can see the inspiration that Tarantino took for Reservoir Dogs. If you're a fan of undercover cop films then you should definitely enjoy this.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.1 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a shame. 1 April 2000
By Steve - Published on
I first saw this gangsters and gunplay epic a few years back late one night on television. From that moment I decided to purchase the film on DVD. When I eventually got a player, years later, it was with giddy excitment that I popped this title into the tray. Unfortunately, this DVD showcases perfectly what can happen when little care is taken in the mastering of a film. Now, i'm DEFINITELY NOT one of these people who whines when the picture quality isn't perfect and other such things, but when I saw this DVD I had to write this review to instruct people NOT to buy this version of the film. So, I will now list the problems this DVD has: 1. The Subtitles, they are TERRIBLE, they were obviously done by a person who did not have even a 20% grip of the english language. Literally, they don't make any sense in places. Secondly, they disappear far too quickly. I'm not a slow reader but you'll be struggling to keep up. 2. The soundtrack is terrible. I could be wrong on this point as I had not seen the film in years, but I got the feeling that the Cantonese soundtrack had been dubbed over with a Chinese one, including new sound effects which are disasterous. The bottom line is that an amazing film has been ruined by these two faults. If it weren't for the fact that the film is so good, I would have given it 1 star. This review may be hard to stomach for the fans of this film but please heed my words, I am a fan of this film too. If there is another version available, please e-mail me.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, action packed must for fans of HK cinema! 20 Jan 1999
By Douglas R. Williams - Published on
This movie is primarily known in America as the film on which Quentin Tarrantino's RESERVOIR DOGS was based. That alone makes it a must-see, but it also stands on its own as a classic example of Hong Kong action. Honor, loyalty, and savagery come together to create a real powerhouse. Fat plays an undercover cop assigned to infiltrate a gang of jewel theives. He befriends Lee, a member of the gang, while at the same time trying to hold onto a disintegrating relationship with his girlfriend/fiance. Not only does Fat's job as a cop interfere with his home life, but he feels increasingly guilty about betraying Lee. Fate and bureaucratic incompetence combine to make the gang's final heist a bloodbath, in which Fat is forced to participate. In a chase/shoot out scene reminiscent of the end of DePalma's SCARFACE, bullets fly and blood flows in the streets of Hong Kong's diamond district. Fat finally tells Lee of his betrayal, but not in time to save either of them. This is a must-see for fans of Tarrantino, Hong Kong actioners, or great caper-flicks! Sadly, the subtitles are pretty pathetic ("No poiny gun boss" is among my favorites), and I was really disappointed that they didn't re-do them for the DVD (I've shelled out a total of about $80 to get this on VHS, and later on DVD, and I'd like to be reading complete sentences for that kind of money). That having been said, this is a GREAT movie! See it!
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Be careful when purchasing! 25 April 2002
By Tensegrity Dan - Published on
If you order the Dimension/Disney version (which has a big blue Chow Yun-Fat face on the cover and a picture of a city on fire. Get it? city - on - fire. Yes, Disney does think you are that simpleminded) you get the version with English dubbing only. If you get the Tai Seng version (with the faces of three actors and Chinese writing on the cover) you get the vastly superior original version with subtitles. They cost the same but the Tai Seng version is so much better. Do yourself a favor and get that one.
I give the Disney/Dimension version 1 star and the Tai Seng version 5 stars.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Buy the other version -- the Tai Seng release 28 Jan 2005
By captvanhalen - Published on
I would like to give this version 5 stars, i love the movie, but this is the Dimension release which only offers an English language dub. If that's OK by you, then this is the cheaper version, but if you are a purist like me, you'll want the Cantonese/Mandarin version with English subtitles.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE REAL RESERVOIR DOGS 8 Nov 2000
By Eduardo C. Dayao - Published on
The delicate paranoia, the gaping loneliness, the schizophrenic glamour. In his watershed crime classic, the scorsese-damaged "City on Fire", nothing interests Ringo Lam more than the knotty moral and emotional tangles of the undercover life. Chow Yun Fat plays Ko Chow, an undercover cop who infiltrates an enclave of jewel thieves and eventually gets sucked into an undertow of malice. Pretty soon, the line between what's prefab and what's true to life obscures to a blur and the secret identity becomes the alter ego. It is this precise moment that "City on Fire" snipes for dramatic grist. Navigating this hyperkinetic slalom of bullets, betrayal and broken hearts with all the cunning facility of a mastermind, there's a reason why Lam was name-checked by Hollywood, alongside John Woo and Tsui Hark. And it's not just because Quentin Tarantino tactlessly shoplifted chunks of "City on Fire" chapter and verse to surplus his meal ticket to Hollywood, "Reservoir Dogs". ( Indeed, Hollywood pundits have chosen to sweep this henious incident under the carpet or write it off as some kind of homage or the other). Lam is no castoff. And no John Woo parrot by any stretch. Woo has plied these dire straits before, in "Hardboiled" ,also with Chow Yun and a pre-Cannes Tony Leung. But "City on Fire" is a more feral, more raw, less heroic and ultimately more tragic picture. Far from just another "Honor Among Thieves" rehab, it upped the ante of your routine cops and robbers melee. And , more than ten years down the line, still strengthens the argument for Lam as more than a high-impact action specialist. Simply put, a director on fire.
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