City on Fire (1993)

  • AllMovie Rating
    3
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Share on

Review by

Despite sharing its English language with Ringo Lam's classic 1987 action film, this daffy Hong Kong crime entry from director Chow Hung bears very little resemblance to its more famous predecessor, and contains bizarre supernatural elements which occasionally take it even further into the realm of fantasy than its own nonsensical plot. Kong Tai-chuen stars as Chiang, who begins drinking heavily after the woman he loves is brutally murdered. Chiang trains dogs in his spare time for illegal dogfights run by a triad gangster, which upsets his policeman brother Wei-ming (Mark Cheng). What Wei-ming doesn't know, however, is that Chiang is receiving assistance from his own girlfriend Chia-chi (Michiko Nishiwaki), who is also a police officer. The gangster's daughter falls for Chiang after he saves her from some overly aggressive dogs, but Chiang has already found a new object for his affections in Ting, a young woman who happens to have supernatural powers of magic. She must use her abilities to counteract the magic of another sorcerer named Chien (Tai Po), who is hired by the gangster's competitors to change the outcome of the dogfights. Of course, what no one knows (including the film's screenwriters, who blithely set up one contradiction to this development after another) is that Chiang is actually an undercover policeman himself, and is trying to nab his own triad employer for his involvement in the murder of Chiang's beloved a decade before. Seemingly slapped together without even a cursory appreciation of internal logic, the film compounds its inadequacies by cribbing most of its soundtrack wholesale from Terminator 2: Judgment Day without, one might guess, any financial remuneration to that film's composer or producers. Wu Ma co-stars in yet another of his many turns as the Chief of Police.