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廉政第一擊 (1993)
First Shot

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 06/05/2007
Summary: Nice cast but too similar to The Untouchables

The events that led up to the formation of the ICAC in the late 70s form the story of David Lam's First Shot. Ti Lung plays Wong Yat Chung, a by-the-book cop who is gunned down while trying to crack down on high-level corruption. After he recovers, he decides to form a team of moralistic colleagues who are not susceptible to the rampant corruption that is taking place in the police force. With the help of British officials, he and his team (Maggie Cheung, Simon Yam, Lau Sek-Ming and Andy Hui) go after Lok Tai Chiu (Waise Lee), the head of the largest Triad group and the "faucet" for the corruption money that flows throughout Hong Kong.

Although First Shot has some good action and virtually an all-star cast, it's just too similar to Brian De Palma's The Untouchables for my taste. Yes, there are a number of variations and differences, but the characters and the plot are immediately recognizable and because of that, you can predict what is going to happen as the film progresses. If I were to recommend the movie to others, it would be based on the good acting from the leads and the historical aspect (however loosely based) of corruption and the war against it in Hong Kong.


Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 06/13/2006
Summary: Been there, shot that....

“First Shot” was based on or derivative from a few earlier works which does not, in itself, make it inferior either to the earlier movies or to other films in which the borrowing is less obvious. The structure and plots of “Throne of Blood”, “Hamlet” and “Don Giovanni” weren’t original with Kurosawa, Shakespeare or Mozart—the genius lies much more in the execution of the idea than in the genesis of the idea itself. While David Lam’s opus doesn’t bear comparison to such masterpieces it is by no means a bad movie.

There were several specific references to the Mamet/DePalma “The Untouchables”, one of which was rendered somewhere between incomprehensible and risible by the subtitles: “If he shoots you with a gun you kick him the ass...” but the bludgeoning of a disloyal underling by Al Capone was mirrored very effectively when Brother Chiu amputated a thug’s thumb with a cigar cutter at a small celebratory dinner. A battle toward the end of the movie took place in a sawmill that was closed for the day, typical of many fights in many Hong Kong movies occurring in abandoned or closed factories. Waise Lee was properly repellent as Mr. Chiu, known as the Faucet or the Tap, the person around whom all official misconduct in the Crown Colony revolved. Baat Leung-Gam was his scary and effective killer, equally at adept using his fists, a gun or his watch garrote. There were enough clueless stiff upper lip Colonial Office types for a cricket side, an outrageously campy gay accountant and a couple of good guys who the we got to know well enough that we were sad when they got killed.

Maggie Cheung was at the end of her amazing run of over fifty movies in six years when “First Shot” was made and it may have helped her decide that impersonating herself in Paris was preferable to walking through a role that consisted of looking fetching while acting peeved. The costume designer did a wonderful job for her—she first appeared in a clingy red knit dress, next in a well cut ivory suit and a few times in slacks made of some very thin material that outlined her lovely derriere perfectly. Her character was unnecessary to the story and possibly included either as a relief from the otherwise testosterone fueled mayhem or for simple star power. If it was the latter it worked, since I probably would not have bothered seeing it if she hadn’t been on the credits.

The fight scenes were generally well done, quick and brutal and someone was lying dead at the end of each of them. Weapons included fists, feet, policemen’s batons, the porcelain top of a toilet tank, a sledge hammer and a huge log. The very first fight set a tone of ruthlessness and barbarity that was hard to top, taking place in the extremely closed-in space of a darkened stairwell. Hong Kong directors and fight choreographers are masters at using tiny, almost claustrophobic areas to heighten the viciousness of battles to the death and this was an excellent example of that. Gun fights were barely acceptable—lots of rounds fired by everyone, very few hits other than by Baat Leung-Gam who only missed once. Ti Lung survived a bullet to the brain but Kong Man-Sing and Andy Hui did not.

There was incessant talk of busses in the first thirty minutes of so of the movie—people were constantly telling each other that the bus full of corrupt money was leaving and if you didn’t want to be on it you shouldn’t stand in front of it. Additionally bomb left on a bus showed far Mr. Chiu’s evil hand could reach into the top levels of Hong Kong government. Thankfully this image pattern was abandoned while it was still just annoying.

Recommended, but not very highly—distinguished mainly by Maggie Cheung’s costume changes and Baat Leung-Gam’s over the top insane killer.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 04/16/2006
Summary: 3/10 - poor

Hong Kong, 1974 - the people are so used to corruption and bribery that they're not even sure they want it to change (better the devil you know). But a few good men + Maggie Cheung decide that corruption has to be fought and stopped, for the next generation's sake if not for this one.

It's important to have some bad films in your cinematic diet, like roughage, to remind you how poorly written and directed a film can be. FIRST SHOT is basically a dramatisation of the formation of the ICAC, which hopefully wasn't as shoddily handled in real life as in this script. Some half-decent action scenes make it watchable, but it's barely worth the effort.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 12/14/2005
Summary: chinese version of the untouchables

Ti Lung plays a good guy cop in a corrupt system, who gets shot at the back of the head by Simon Yam. Ti Lung is asked to stamp out corruption in the force, even recuiting Simon Yam to help with his cause.

The concept is a direct rip off of the untouchables, but in part it talks about the corruption in the hong kong police force which was well and ripe. At the end they tell you a little abuot the real life situation.

It's pretty standard cop movie, but the presence of Simon Yam and Ti Lung makes a but better than average.


Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/12/2002

There is nothing new here, the usual police, triad, bent police, kind of movie! However, it was put together very well, produced (as well as directed) by David Lam. I think Andy Hui was especially good in this, as I don't tend to rate his acting very well usually, as I think he should stick to singing, but pulls of a good performance here! Maggie Cheungs part from way to small I think, she might have well as not been in this. Ti Lung though is probably the strongest character here, and Simon Yam is quite good too.

A lot of action and gun fights with a well put together story that does not end up all over the place, although the main story is nothing we haven't seen before.

Rating (out of 5): 3

(This rating is based on the year & genre, so don't think it's based as a comparison on new releases etc.)

Reviewed by: MilesC
Date: 12/09/1999

I give this movie a marginally positive rating... although I didn't find anything about it especially remarkable, it held my attention pretty well, and I liked Ti Lung's character... however, I thought it could use a little more gunplay and a little less fighting. The major strike against this film, though, is the awful scene in the gay bar, which is filled with very offensive caricatures. One whining, screaming, simpering character remains for a long time before getting plugged. The film was pretty interesting in all, though.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

An explosive movie based on the origins of the Hong Kong'santi-corruption unit (ICAC) in the 1960's. Ti Lung is the "untouchable" cop, Yam Tat-Wah is the friend who betrays him. Hui and Lau play amusing side characters. Very dramatic and exciting! Look out for Ti Lung's amazing performance!


[Reviewed by Brian Lam]

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

A shameless rip-off of David Mamet's version of The Untouchables that offsets its unoriginality with ferocious action scenes -- and, of course, the inevitable but somehow reassuring presence of Maggie Cheung. Solid acting all around.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 6