Best of the Best (1996)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - Hong Kong  |  
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This Hong Kong action film from director Andrew Lau details the activities of a Special Duty Unit (SDU, the local equivalent of a SWAT team) and was designed to capitalize on the success of Gordon Chan's 1994 blockbuster The Final Option. Indeed, the film's Chinese title positions it as a direct sequel, although it is entirely unrelated. The film begins as some gun-toting arms dealers lay waste to a SDU, necessitating a number of new recruits to be put through the grueling two-week training regimen commanded by Eagle (Roy Cheung). Much of the film focuses on Tung Tung (Daniel Chan), who was on police patrol but signed up for a SDU after his partner was viciously murdered by a Vietnamese hitman. Julian Cheung co-stars as Coolman, another recruit who bears a special animosity toward Tung Tung, the secret reason for which is revealed to him by his parents. The first half of the film concentrates on the training period, with the new SDU team members getting a chance to apply what they learned in the rousing second half, in which they are sent to a desert island for three days, during which they encounter some sadistic Vietnamese arms dealers. Naturally, among their number is the man who killed Tung Tung's partner, allowing him a chance for revenge. Dion Lam choreographed the impressive action sequences, and while the film has been criticized for its portrayal of Vietnamese detainees held in camps, it is at least bold enough to tackle the subject. Karen Mok co-stars with Jerry Lam and Chu Win-tong, while Asian action devotees will recognize Herman Yau and Blackie Ko in smaller roles.

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