(Dir Jonnie To, Chinese (Hong Kong) with sub-titles (mostly), 2004)
Imagine a street scene. Its not a flash street, just a small side street in down town Hong Kong. Something's going down, but we don't really know what - we can see two men in a car, talking in code with people on their radios, as they watch three men. Then all hell breaks loose, the three men are joined by a fourth and they're shooting. Their weapons cause foot long jagged flames, and those bullets sound like they're hitting spots not far from where we are sitting. We realise the two men in the car were policemen (Inspecter Cheung turns out to be one of the main characters), and they're joined by reinforcements. Lots of them. In a Police van, which the four gunmen steal and get away. Until they're stopped by traffic. More policemen. More shooting. Policemen in uniforms are surrendering and being shot dead anyway. Then the four gunmen make a final getaway, by steaing an ambulance, leaving someone stranded on a stretcher.
That's the first seven minutes of this movie. Afterwards, the gunmen hole up in a labrynthine apartment block while the Police do their best to smoke them out - there is the CID (the good Inspector Cheung and his team half a dozen) and the OCB led by a very ambituous Inspector Rebecca Fong - there are something like a thousand (!) cops deployed in her assault on the building. Then there is the UCD (?), a sinister group, dressed in black body armour and face masks.
But there is more going on in this movie than the bringing of these criminals (and another pair who just happen to have been in the building as well) to justice or the turf wars between Cheung and Fong. The title gives this away - Breaking News. Thanks to the street fight, the media has got hold of the story and the cops are not looking good. So, most of what Fong is doing is playing up her response for the media - sending in 1,000 cops in bus after bus makes for an impressive sight. Then you put webcams on all the cops and select what is going out to the public. Hell, why not put a sexy soundtrack behind scenes of the cops going after their men.
But the crims aren't beyond playing that game too - they've got their own footage, in which they're winning, setting explosions off that are killing more cops. And they're holed up in an apartment with web access. Then, to show they're real people as well, they cook lunch, a really nice lunch it was too, and broadcast images of them sitting down to a joyful meal with their hostages.
Of course, with the kind of manpower the Police are throwing at the crims, you never really expect them to get away. And yet, the two leaders of the two groups get a lot further than you might expect.