Big Bullet (1996)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2008-04-28
“Big Bullet” is the story of the intrepid men (and one woman) of Emergency Unit Car 2 against an over the top set of bad guys. Led by outcast Sergeant Bill Chu, a ragtag bunch of stereotypical cops confront a murderous gang with a gruesome plan to steal nine million dollars. This money isn’t in a bank vault, though. It is lodged in the Hong Kong headquarters of Interpol which is hosting a convention of police officials from all over the world. Those at the meeting take on the characteristics of most of the Hong Kong cops shown in this movie—they are too incompetent to get out of their own way let alone take cover or effectively fight back when dealing with armed criminals. The body count in “Big Bullet” is very high—most of those slain are police officers, some are innocent bystanders and only a few are criminals.

Sergeant Chu was transferred to the Emergency Unit after one too many instances of assaulting superior officers. His fame has preceded him and his new comrades are in awe both of his criminal catching prowess and willingness to punch a jerk like Inspector Guan. He the type of police officer who is often featured in movies but who never really exists in the day to day work of any police agency. He is loved by his subordinates, hated or feared by his superiors, a deadly shot and metes out punishment to commanding officers and manacled criminals alike. Hong Kong police movies often have confrontations in elevators or lobbies between criminals and the police officers who have locked them up or witnesses who have testified against them. This time the elevator meeting is between the newly demoted Chu and the Professor (Yu Rong-Guang) an arch-criminal who is manacled between two policemen. He taunts Sergeant Chu who hits him in the stomach. The other criminal leader is Bird, played by Anthony Wong with hair looking like he loaned it to John Travolta for “Pulp Fiction”. Both Wong and Yu are as maniacal and fearsome as one would expect.

Early in the movie there are two technically excellent sequences, one following the other. The first takes place in a restaurant where Bird sits down at a table with a Hong Kong plainclothesman and his fiancé. Bird is backed by a thug with a cloth wrapped bundle over his shoulder that might as well have had GUN stamped on it. In just a few seconds Benny Chan and his editor (two are credited) do quick cut among the cop, his fiancé, Bird and Francis Ng, playing another cop who happens to be having lunch at a nearby table. Varying the point of view from medium close up to extreme close up, throwing in a shot of the pistol that Bird is holding under the table, Chan creates a striking tableau of determination, fear, concern and decisiveness in as less time than it takes to tell. This is immediately followed by a very long and bloody gun battle that begins in the restaurant, moves to the street, through a bookstore and finally back to the street. Bullets fly, cars explode, bodies litter the scene and a grenade is tossed with casual insouciance but deadly effect. In addition to pistols, the bad guys have machine guns while the cops have with large gauge shotguns.

Then they do it again.

And again.

And once more.

And then they wind up driving into the belly of a taxiing C-130 that is taking off from formerly closed and currently secret airport manned by British military, some of whom have been suborned by the Professor. He and Bird meet exemplary ends—the Professor would have to be reassembled—the good guys prevail and the last shot ends in a freeze frame setting up a sequel that didn’t happen.

A viewer will enjoy “Big Bullet” in direct proportion to his liking for cars that blow up when hit with gunfire or fly into the air when a tire blows out; his enjoyment of watching extras dressed as cops run onto the set, almost always in bunches, and get shot down by criminals and his tolerance for inappropriate humor, such as when the heroes of Car 2 try to avoid being seen by Captain Liu, their boss who has ordered them off the chase. Berg Ng Ting-Yip as Inspector Guan, the commander trying to ruin Sergeant Chu’s career, does a good job making the audience love to hate him.

No suspense, no character development, no real plot, lots of gunshots—not bad for its type
Reviewer Score: 5