The Final Option (1994)
Reviewed by: ipkevin on 2002-05-18
Summary: Early Work by Action Master
Director Gordon Chan has become the premier HK director when it comes to intense and highly realistic (in terms of tactics and weapons-handling) shootouts. He can literally stage and shoot them better than the top Hollywood masters - Simply watch the garage shootout in "2000 A.D." to see what I mean. And what was the film that put him on this road? "The Final Option", of course! Following a young officer's indoctrination into the SDU (Hong Kong's SWAT/counter-terrorism team) and his eventual missions on the team, Final Option is rock solid action thriller. Being Chan's first 'realistic action' film, the technique isn't quite as polished as one might expect of him. However, it does have one of the better stories he's ever worked with. It has real heart (without falling into melodrama) and you feel for the characters. When the action does come (the last 30 minutes are essentially one large action scene), it is interesting and well-staged, but lacks that "snap" and thrill to it that elevates the best action sequences. The bigger budget sequel to this film is called "First Option" and it basically is the reverse of this one: Lots of amazing action, very thin story.