Hong Kong-based filmmaker Johnny To directed this fast-moving action drama that explores the role of the media in current events. The Hong Kong police force takes a beating in the court of public opinion after their unsuccessful attempt to foil a high-stakes robbery is broadcast on live television. Determined to turn the tables, detectives on the force discover where the five criminals who masterminded the job are lying low, and they stage a major siege at the hideout. The hundreds of police officers have also armed themselves with cameras along with their guns as they turn the ambush into a media event. The thieves prove to be a difficult quarry to capture and they use their own video equipment to send pictures to the press at the same time, turning the shootout into a battle of images as well. Breaking News stars Kelly Chen, Richie Jen, and Nick Cheung. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
Much more enjoyable than I could imagine from its so-so stateside reviews, BREAKING NEWS manages to be exciting, funny, satiric, and just a tad moving at certain key moments. Featuring an effortlessly charismatic performance from the actor who plays the lead "bad guy" (he doubles as quite the laid-back chef), the movie offers what initially looks like a satire of the relationship between media and law enforcement but turns into an interesting "take" on how the two use each other, occasionally to good purpose.
Combining technology with shoot-'em-up and decent plotting, director Johnnie To and his writers have crafted a much better-than-average Hong Kong hottie that should please aficionados and probably bring a few newcomers into the fold. (I admit to being flummoxed by the meaning of the final photograph, but I had so much fun along the way that I didn't mind remaining in the dark. Could this be a set-up for a sequel?) The movie times out at under 90 minutes, too--just the right length, given its content and style.