G4Su (1997)
Option Zero


Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 03/03/2010

The final installment in the Option trilogy, Dante Lam's 1995 cop action/drama Option Zero tries to bring viewers into the private lives of some of Hong Kong's most elite law enforcement officers. Though it's overall a decent effort that supplies some solid action, the wooden acting and overemphasis on melodrama makes this one for die-hard fans of the genre only.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: ekisha
Date: 03/26/2009
Summary: Waste of time

I thought i am watching something like Michael Wong's "special police squad" films.But this one couldn't make it.I don't know why i wasted my time on Option Zero...It's not that Julian Cheung is a bad actor,but the plot and writers didn't make anything worth to watch and it's pretty boring.
If you want to watch an entertaining film,then skip it and find First Option.

Reviewer Score: 2

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 01/30/2008
Summary: Excellent action and nice "behind the scenes" look

Option Zero is a different take on the "special forces" cop squadron drama by focusing on the private lives of some of its key members, and how that affects their work in the field. Julian Cheng plays Ben, a member of the Hong Kong police's special duty officers who take down some more major crimes and figures. While they are tracking a Korean arms network, you get a glimpse into the relationships that develop between members of the group. When their head is killed, the some of the members join an elite, private bodyguard company named G4. Things appear to come full circle when the Korean dealers come gunning for the men G4 are paid to protect.
Unfortunately I saw this film without seeing the first two installments of the "option" trilogy, and I'm not sure how that affected my enjoyment one way or the other. The script is well done and the characters are fleshed out quite significantly in a relatively short amount of time. Julian Cheng is quite wooden, but the other actors make up for him short-comings. Anthony Wong (looking grossly overweight) is good and the relationship with this wife makes for interesting scenes. I found Nancy Lan's character to be incredibly annoying and the cameo by Michael Wong was almost laughable as he tries way too hard to come off as suave and tough. The action scenes, although few in number, are of a very high quality and take no liberties in terms of bloodshed and brutality. Kudos to veteran Chin Kar Lok in this effort. Now I'll have to check out the first two to see how they compare to this enjoyable film.

7/10

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 05/10/2005
Summary: a fine presentation.

After receiving an assistant director credit on Jackie Chan's Thunderbolt, Dante Lam was given the chance to direct his first film by producer Gordon Chan. Working with a script by veteran screen writer Chan Hing Kar (A Better Tomorrow, Thunderbolt), Lam does a nice job balancing the elements of the film.

Option Zero is the third entry of a trilogy of SDU films that began with The Final Option and First Option, both directed by Gordon Chan, the former with a screenplay by Chan Hing Kar. While the first film was successful, the second movie was a critical failure with the writing and performances taking the brunt of the negative reviews.

Looking to bounce back, screenwriter Chan crafts wonderful scenes of the Special Duty officers after hours, away from the job. Contrasted with the intense action sequences the effect on the viewer is quite moving.

The writing is so good the even the usually wooden Julian Cheung is able to make his scenes somewhat believable. He is helped by two fine actresses, Monica Chan, who plays his girlfriend, and Carmen Lee, cast as a co-worker. Anthony Wong appears as the superior officer of the SDU and, as usual, gives a flawless performance.

The film is out on DVD, in a fine presentation. This movie can be enjoyed on it's own merits, apart from the earlier works.

copyright 2000 J. Crawford

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 08/16/2003
Summary: Average cop drama

I could not engage with the characters. the relationship seems were boring to me. I know it's not suppose to be all action but still it reminded me of watching a tv drama. The action is above average and the story is ok. Micheal Wong is there really for no reason. His cameo someone else could of done. There was a sudden shift in the movie which put me off guard and a little confused.

OK in other words, this is a average cop drama with above avaerage action, buti still prefer FIRSt option over this

6.25/10


Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 02/21/2002
Summary: Very good...but...

Option Zero could potentially be a very good film. Though there are several floors.

The story itself is confusing, and it doesn’t help matters by the fact that it keeps switching between exciting action and drama. Not drama in the conventional way though, more character depth I suppose more than anything. That is the main problem with Option Zero, the fact that there was too much switching between acting and action. Not to say I don’t like this film, in fact quite the opposite. There are only 4 action scenes in the whole movie, though each one is lengthy and very good, there is just far too much ‘nothing happening’ scenes in-between.

Cheung Chi Lam was particularly good, as was Anthony Wong. But Carmen Lee was very annoying onscreen in my opinion and over dramatised her acting. Michael Wong was very good, though he was not on the screen for more than 10 minutes.

If more had been put in to the story and the action was more balanced, then I can safely say that I would have given this full marks, because I was that impressed with it.

I want to add another point, that what seemed like the ending was very predictable, but when you leave it just 30 seconds longer, the ending ends up being a happy one (within reason) making it a refreshing ending for such a violent action film.

Rating [4/5]


Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 10/13/2001
Summary: Good action, forgivable plot

OPTION ZERO - Directed by Dante Lam as the third entry in the SDU series started by Gordon Lam (FIRST OPTION & FINAL OPTION being the other two). Tries to be a 'lives and loves of the SDU' type film, showing us that the cops with the big guns are real people too. Largely fails in this respect as characters are paper thin, and their relationships thinner. Leaps about from event to event without filling in much of the connections - feels vaguely docu-drama-ish in that respect. Perhaps it's meant to be conveying the message "you could never understand what the lives of an SDU member or their lover is like", or something. Not much character empathy going on here. Lots of loose ends that are never tied up too.

BUT, whilst all that sounds very critical, I did quite enjoy it because:

a) It has 3 really very nice action scenes in it - a bit epilepticam at times, but quite exciting and bullet crazy.
b) It has Carmen Lee on screen for a good portion of the running time.
c) It's kind of pleasant brainless entertainment, and I really just needed to chill out for a while.

Given the price of the DVD, I'd say rent not buy (which is just what I did).

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: grimes
Date: 04/09/2000

This is the third of the "Option" movies, the first two of which were Final Option and First Option. The third installment features Julian Cheng as Ben, along with with Carman Lee as his girlfriend Kelly. Like the first film in the series, Option Zero spends as much time on the characters' relationships as upon their work in the Special Branch (apparently the Hong Kong counter-intelligence agency).

This was something that appealed to me in the first film, as "home life" scenes in action movies are often poorly integrated into the rest of the film, usually feeling like an afterthought. Option Zero genuinely explores the emotional lives of its characters. Julian Cheng's acting is bit weak as he seems to be from Leon Lai school of facial imperturbability, although he is not so bad as to ruin the film. Fortunately, the rest of the cast is better so they are able to pick up the slack. The action scenes are exciting though the final action scene ends with one of the most confusing jump-cut editing jobs I have ever seen.

This is not brilliant film-making, but it could be worse. Of the three films in this series, I'd have to recommend Final Option above the others, though this one would come in a close second.