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爆裂刑警 (1999)
Bullets Over Summer

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 02/06/2008

"Bullets Over Summer" is classified as an action film that occasionally orgasms with violence and offbeat humor but the net result feels closer in alignment with a cop drama. Director Wilson Yip gases up with some of the same premium that empowered South Korea's "Nowhere to Hide" (1999) and then chooses to obey every traffic law. As a direct result -- for better or worse -- "Bullets Over Summer" does not leave the audience riding on E though some will wish it had.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: steve_cole1
Date: 01/14/2007
Summary: Average Film

Average film I thought there was promise in it in the first 45 min but it let me down. I only baught it because im a big Francis fan but i have seen alot worse hk films.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 01/08/2006
Summary: 9/10 - subtle, smart and mature

Francis Ng and Louis Koo take up residence in Helena Law Lan's flat for surveillance of a suspected arms' dealer. Through age or loneliness, Helena confuses them with the grandchildren she never gets to see. Francis is perhaps happy to play the role, having been an orphan. Together with the young women they meet, they learn that family can exist without blood ties.

BULLETS OVER SUMMER is a smart, well-written, character-driven piece filmed with style and maturity by Wilson Yip (on a presumably shoestring budget). Francis gives a wonderful performance (I believe he won the Best Actor award for it), and Helena Law Lan is unnervingly convincing in her character's senility.

As many have observed, the ending of the film is... well, let's say confusing. It's not entirely clear what happens, or why, and it seems to undermine or contradict what has come before it. It bothered me a lot less than it has other reviewers, but I'll admit that endings have not been Wilson Yip's greatest strength. Of course, after this film and the even better JULIET IN LOVE, Wilson Yip got a severe case of big-budget poisoning and we began to wonder what, if anything, his strengths were after all. I haven't seen SHA PO LANG yet, but it sounds like it may be a return to form - I hope so, as he showed such great promise in this film I almost take it personally when he releases something so utterly opposite as SKYLINE CRUISERS or THE WHITE DRAGON!

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 08/21/2005

“Bullets Over Summer" is made up almost equally of urban melodrama, gritty cop drama and romance in the time of disease and collapsing social mores. Wilson Yip weaves the three strands together quite well so that the whole is more than the sum of the parts.

It depicts a Hong Kong where violent crime is everywhere and death by gunfire lurks around every corner. People are shot down while buying a bag of chips in a convenience store or delivering a lunch order. If you show up at work or are part of a wedding party your chances of surviving the day are not good.

We are introduced to two Hong Kong detectives while the opening credits role. Each of them when outnumbered and outgunned by bad guys is much tougher and more resourceful than Dirty Harry on his best (or worst) day—and it is a good thing they are, since the air around them is filled with bullets and flying glass.

Large scale murder has become so commonplace in Hong Kong that even when several citizens and police officers are killed by robbers it is simply taken in stride. No task forces are formed, leaves are not cancelled. Neither the press nor the public cry out for action. It is simply another crime to deal with and is assigned to Brian and Mike with no more urgency than a troublesome rash of burglaries. The only person on the force who is concerned is Prince, their rival, who is worried that he may have to delay his vacation if the killers aren’t caught in time.

The two cops at the center of the story, Brian a skirtchasing slacker and Mike, an intense tough guy make their entrance by happening into a robbery in progress. They kill two of the robbers and capture the third without breaking a sweat—just another day at the office.

The Dragon gang is the next target—and a worthy target they are. The gang robs banks and finance companies and murders all the employees and anyone else they encounter who could possibly identify them. During the most recent robbery, shown in bloody detail, they also kill a number of policemen. Dragon is as evil a character that one can find in the movies and Joe Lee’s depiction of him is pitch-perfect.

In order to keep watch on a suspected arms dealer that gang uses the partners take over the apartment of an old woman who is slipping into senility. They become part of her life and the life of the other apartment owners in the building. She thinks they are her grandsons and is thrilled that they have come to visit her. Mike helps her with some disputes with other tenants and is so well liked that he is elected chairman of the owner’s committee.

The area immediately around the building is full of surprises—and not only the apartment of the suspected gun dealer. While shadowing a suspect Mike sees and almost immediately falls in love with Jennifer, owner of a tiny dry cleaning shop. Jennifer is pregnant and Mike seems as drawn her impending delivery than to her. Meanwhile Brian is infatuated with Yen, a streetwise schoolgirl and god-daughter of their informant. He invites her to the apartment where, after a rough start, she settles in as part of this odd but somehow endearing “family”.

The importance of these budding relationships is underscored when each of the cops abandon surveillance of the only lead they have to spend time with the girl they have met—Mike to accompany Jennifer to the hospital after she faints, Brian just to fool around with Yen.

There is at least one huge hole in the plot. Mike wants to insure the future of Jennifer’s child—Mike was raised in an orphanage. But he could have done so in a much more honorable (and even romantic) fashion than they way he did—but that would have made it a different movie and there would have been no reason for the final gun battle.

An extended scene that is very “cinematic” in itself but also a key part of the action takes place in the apartment of the arms dealer they have been watching. A quarter rolls and rolls and rolls down a corrugated roof—when it falls to the patio beneath the roof the armed suspect will know that a police officer is on the roof above him. The shot of the rolling coin is just long enough to build suspense without becoming ridiculous and the mini-climax is perfect. Later in that scene there is a fight between Mike and the suspect in the suspect’s tiny warren of an apartment—which is decorated with posters from “Taxi Driver”, “Natural Born Killers” and “Thin Red Line”. It is a vicious fight with all the brutality and desperation that it would involve. They are mainly on the floor, trying to find room to throw a punch or land a kick. Very realistic and well done fight scene.

The ending is inevitable and upbeat—but only in the context of the anomic urban wilderness that the Wilson Yip shows as Hong Kong in 1999. The surviving members of the “family” live under the protection of their own police officer which keeps the terror at bay.


Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 05/10/2005
Summary: 1999 was a good year

[1999 was a good year.] Last year Wilson Yip achieved success with his movie, 'Bio-Zombie'. This year, he directs a police action thriller bringing his unigue style to the heroic bloodshed sub-genre of Hong Kong cinema.

The casting is quite strong, featuring Francis Ng and Louis Koo as the 2 cop buddies. While on an undercover assignment, they live in an apartment with Helena Law. Ms. Law is brilliant as the slightly off-center granny. During this time, the boys also have love affairs that confuse, then strengthen their friendship.


Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 06/18/2004

Bullets Over Summer is an excellent crime picture, even if there is not one really "outstanding" thing about it. Perhaps because it is that Hong Kong's (and the US's, for that matter) output has been so middling as of late, but this film is a throughly satisfying drama that showcases the brilliance that fans have come to know and love. Like many of Johnnie To's and Wong Kar-Wai's movies, at many points there seems to be nothing going on, but still the viewer is drawn into the proceedings.

Francis Ng and Louis Koo star as two cops who are on the trail of a vicious robbery suspect. Like many crime pictures, the partners seem to be mis-matched, with Ng being the "straight" cop and Koo occupying most of his time chasing skirts instead of solving crimes. Eventually, they trail the suspect to an apartment building, and so they set up in another flat to do survelliance. Things become more complicated as the pair have to deal with the senile tenant (Helena Law Lan, in a rare role where there are no ghosts of any kind involved) and some new girlfriends (Michelle Mok and Lam Mei Jing).

After a fairly vicious opening where Ng and Lai bring down a group of robbers, the film settles down and nothing of importance happens -- at least on first glance. Bullets Over Summer is most definitely a multi-layered movie; those viewers wanting to see tons of Woo-style bloodshed will most likely be disappointed, even though the action featured here is done well. What the film is really about is watching the characters develop, rather than shoot each other up. Both Ng and Koo (as well as most of the supporting cast) do an excellent job, and make this film well worth watching.

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Reviewed by: l00dt
Date: 07/18/2002
Summary: BOS is a good film

"Bullets Over Summer" is one of the most entertaining and well-made crime/drama film. I cannot imgaine the amount of negative comments regarding this film. One viewer even said that the ending leaves a lot of questions unanswered which is a bit shocking to hear. Probably some audience miss out a few hints from the film.

One reviewer said that he/she is not convinced Francis Ng would suddenly has a change of heart. There aint no such thing as 'change of heart' it just comes as natural. If you watch the film with attention, you would realize that from the very beginning Francis is aware of his fatal disease (which cant control his muscles) and is told by the doctor he may die very soon. As the film goes on, his situation is only getting worse. Also, from they very first time he saw the girl at the luandry shop he immediately falls in love with her and wanna raise her baby together. And finally its not Ng's intention to jeopardize the relationship with his partner, he has designed a win-win plan but it just doesn't work out.

Some reviewers also claim that there is too much comedy in the middle of the film which I disagree. I find that there is more drama than comedy happening at Helena LAW's home. This is the 'family' which both Francis Ng and Helena Law been longing for. This 'family' is essential for character development and the building up of tension as the cops and the gangsters finally cross path. Wilson Yip has done a good job on building up the tension.

There aint a lot of action scenes in the film but most are just as good. The confromtation @ Law's appartment is particularly interesting and exciting.

Some viewers think that this film is too much of everything but I say this film is just about right with enough twists and turns and surpises that keep you watching till the very end.

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 04/14/2002
Summary: Bad

Had potential, but by the end was dull, still leaving some questions unanswered in the small plot the film had. The acting is pretty bad by most people, except Francis Ng and Helena Law.

Rating [2/5]

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: mehaul
Date: 03/25/2002

Trite buddy cop movie that's almost recommendable. Fair action with nice character development, but in the end it's same old same old.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: runo_jp
Date: 06/15/2001
Summary: Bullets over summer

This is to me the definition of a real movie. Without trying to give away too much, I will simply say there is everything a movie should have : humor, love, drama, complex characters, and unexpected twists. Many may disagree with me, but you can’t deny that this is a good story.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: Chuma
Date: 07/12/2000
Summary: A cheap way to get an appartment in Hong Kong...

Mike and Brian are partners in the Hong Kong police, Mike is the
serious one and Brian is the one always getting into trouble
and chasing after women.

When they are assigned to do surveilance on a man suspected of
supplying weapons to some very dangerous criminals (the Milkshake
Man and his cronies (see the film)), Brian takes advantage of
an old woman taking her garbage out and barges into her apartment.

Grandma (we never learn her name), is upset at first, but soon
starts saying that Mike and Brian are her grandchildren and asking
them about their father.

While Brian is continuing his surveilance on the balcony, he receives
a call from a young woman on the street who he asks to come up,
she then prompty falls asleep on the sofa and he gets all excited,
realising what he wants to do, Mike sends him out to get a condom
and then tells the girl to go out of the apartment...

The film continues from here, but I won't spoil it for you.
Mark was worried that we'd all 'want our money back' and try to get
it off him, but I don't think there was any danger of that.

Some people would reckon that this movie doesn't 'go anywhere'
as there is not a great deal of action for the most part, but I believe
that it is this way so that you concentrate on the characters and
their relationships within a confined space (it was similar to a
prison movie in this respect.)

Special mention must go to the performance of 'Grandma' as she
has some of the best lines and is probably the funniest character in
the entire film.

I would recommend this film to someone who likes films with a romantic
storyline, with a bit of action and drama thrown in.

Rating : 8 Steamed Pork Buns (8/10)

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 06/09/2000
Summary: Ummm........

This seems to be 2 movies in one!! The start makes you think it's filled with violent gunplay action (which is it and the beginning and the end) but the middle is a drama!! If they stuck to one genre then maybe the movie would of been better!!

Basic plot that may give away too much: Ng & Koo hunt for a bunch of criminals and stays at LAW's place to scout out a place opposite herflat. They beleive the criminals are staying there. So they just invade her house and she lets them in........because her memory is not so good!! She beleives that Ng is her son (thats were the drama part starts!) And from there, a relationship builds up between them all................till the bad guys find them.......

Francis Ng gives a good performance and the old lady Helena Law is just EASILY the standout!! Her performance should get her every acting award there is possible!! She is truely fantastic!! Louis Koo & MOK Pui-lam as love interests dosn't seem to go far enough.
The plot needs work too!! I was bored in some sections of the movie and was wondering if anyone was going to take out there guns and start shooting again!! I just couldn't keep my interest because the 'drama part' was becoming boring!! I can't really recommend this movie as a action movie to tell you the truth, but if you want a good drama (but you goto forget or fast forward the violent beginning and ending), this is it!!

Still overall,l i didn't really like it because i just wasn't entertained enough........ Watch is just for Helena LAw's acting!! I can give this

3.5 out of 10

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: David Harris
Date: 06/09/2000

Review courtesy of Hong Kong Superstars (

Directed by Wilson "Bio-Zombie" Yip this is like "Running..." in that it does different things will familiar elements but beyond that is very different. The title is somewhat misleading as you'd think it was an out-and-out action film but that it is not.....
It is bookended by action but it seems to me that it was more of a shrewd commercial move made in order to get the film green lighted rather than a true indication of where the film makers interest lies. The focus of the story is clearly in neither the beginning or end of the film but in the middle portion where the only action to speak of is a flower pot being thrown from a balcony !

Starring Francis Ng as Mike and Louis Koo as Brian - two mismatched cops (there's no need to wince) - this is a film where the focus is on people and relationships and the humour that exists in everyday life even in not obviously funny situations. After the opening action salvo the film really starts as the two attempt to get into a flat overlooking a suspects in order to set up a surveillance operation.

They meet resistance even when they say they are from TV and only get inside the flat they do by virtually bundling over an old lady (Helena Law) giving her a real fright in the process but after Mike (Francis Ng) reassures her that they are police she lets them stay because she says Mike looks sincere !

She mistakes them both for her sons much to their bemusement. Her vulnerability brings out their protective instincts (Mike's particularly) and there is a terrific scene where a neighbour moans at her for letting her cat leave a steaming deposit on his doorstep which distresses her greatly - it's during this that Mike steps in and forces the guy (played by the director I believe) to apologise to her after banging his head of the wall by the front door.

Joining them in the flat is a relative of an informer - a young girl who attracts the attentions of Brian. There is a poignant scene set around a dinner table where these four hugely different characters enjoy the simple pleasures of a meal.

During the film Mike also befriends a local laundry woman who is heavily pregnant when she collapses in her shop. He takes her to hospital and stays by her side until she awakens.

One of the funniest scenes in the film is when the two cops unofficially interrogate an informer. The guy is tied up with ropes on each limb and they roll various items between his legs in a attempt to extract information form him - they are only successful when they produce a durian (if you've ever passed a Chinese greengrocer they are those huge football sized spiky objects) !

This film has a pleasantly surprising amount of warmth and heart - recommended !

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 06/08/2000
Summary: Bite The Bullet

"Bullets Over Summer" was a movie that didn't strive to be any better than it was. This is mostly due to a script that didn't know what direction to take, action, drama, comedy, tragedy, action again. Too may thematic elements--the old jack of all trades, master of none routine.

Two cops, played by Koo and Ng, are on a stake-out that has them move in with an absent minded old lady. This part of the movie of having all the characters mill around granny's apartment was well executed. The interactions were the best part of the film. Koo has a tendency to overact without thinking that he's overacting. He needs to be given something to do when he recites his lines, because they don't come off as being natural. The comic timing was forced. Ng was good but the script was pedestrian. By the end of the film we gets some action that no longer fits. It seemed almost an afterthought to piece the shoot out together, as if the writer thought a tragic moment was needed to round out the buddy-buddy theme between Koo and Ng. Granny was the best part of the film.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: morgold
Date: 01/11/2000

Yet another disappointing HK movie that has many elements of promise, yet suffers from unfocused, meandering direction and an unconvincing conclusion. Why has there been such a trend in HK films, since around 1997, to have such lackadaisical direction? It is as if the filmmakers take a number of character elements here--neurotic cops, a senile grandma, a bloodthirsty criminal, and two love interests (one comic, one serious), and experimentally throw them into offbeat yet insignificant situations, hoping the result will somehow be good. Such experiments result in interesting scenes 20% of the time and awkward, miscalculated, or simply poor scenes for the rest--surprising, since director Yip's previous "Biozombie" was much more focused than this.

The action scenes are relegated to the first and last 20 minutes; everything in the middle is character-comedy. It is, surprisingly, the action scenes that are the weakest--abrupt, poorly staged, often inept. Only a claustrophobic apartment shootout gives an appropriate sense of space; the beginning massacre and climax are not only poorly filmed but seemingly belong in a different film, not the comedy we have been watching. The film's ultimate flaw is that it does not know how to rationalize the disparate comedic and dramatic elements it wants to all-encompassingly negotiate. Rather than synthesizing the dramatic action with the humor, the 2 aspects sit like oil and water. Thus, when the action revs up again in the end, we don't know how to respond to the characters' actions, since they have been mostly comedic characters whose dramatic depths have been underdeveloped. So when the drama is played seriously in the end, we don't know how to interpret the character's emotions and motivations beyond the level of formal gesture.

The ending, especially, is a miscalculation. For what the main character does to be convincing, we would need far more complex characterization than what we are given. We are asked to believe that a cop would jeopardize the life of his partner of many years for the well-being of a pregnant woman he has known for only a few days. The justification for this action is pinned on a couple of lines of psychobabble dialog about how he was an orphan, and is missing a family in his life. We then learn he also has some fatal disease, and is thus (I guess) more inclined towards fatalistic actions. But we don't see any of this--we don't see any chnages in his character. All we get is some perfuctory expository dialog, and it does not demonstrate the motivation we need to believe his actions. But even if we did see more of this, I would not be convinced anyway, because the disease-of-the-week routine is an inherently unconvincing plot ploy that was cliched 50 years ago. It is as if the filmmakers dug themselves into plot holes and desperately (and pathetically) needed to dig themselves out, even resorting to plot devices which are far less hip than this film pretends to be.

I have made this film sound worse than it really is, I think. There are some touching moments, and the offbeat relation between the senile granny and the cops she mistakes for her grandsons demonstrates that the filmmakers do have some aspirations beyond the ordinary. In fact, this relationship is more central than either of the love interests; the film would be far less conventional (and commercial) if it dispensed with the romance and just stuck with the granny. But even she is too much of a comic figure, and is not milked for the pathos she should be. All in all, the film is an interesting failure, which may in some ways be more notable than many a mild success.

Reviewed by: MilesC
Date: 01/11/2000

Between this and Bio-Zombie, Wilson Yip is definitely showing signs of becoming a serious low-budget talent. As in BZ, we've got a fairly unremarkable setup enlivened by humor, gratuitous camera craziness, odd characters, turns for the extremely dark, a bizarre soundtrack, and occasional graphic violence. Bullets Over Summer is one of those great movies that's a bit hard to explain to someone who hasn't seen it. It's just good! Unfortunately, I have to agree with certain other reviews I've read about the ending; I didn't find it terrible, but it is kind of strange and underwhelming. Far from movie-killing, though. Definitely a good one.

Reviewed by: PAUL MARTINEZ
Date: 01/03/2000
Summary: Not What I Expected

Based on the above review I watched "Bullets Over Summer". I however saw it slightly different.

The plotline was fairly generic but well done and then took a strange turn towards the end. It just didn't flow with the way the story had unfolded to that point. There really should've been some foreshadowing put in earlier.

Helena Law Lan was the best thing about this film. She continued to steal every scene she was in. Francis Ng did a fine job as well and has definately become a star.I really liked the cast as a whole.

Overall it was OK but I was slightly disappointed in the ending. Maybe I'm being unrealistic but I just want some fresh plotlines for a change.
Did I like this film? Yes, but it was nothing special.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: ryan
Date: 11/21/1999
Summary: Bullets Over Summer (1999)

Maybe you still have the memory that Willson YIP Wai-shun has done a quality movie last year -- 'Bio-Zombie'. This time he directs a crime and police movie 'Bullets Over Summer'. Despite the relative small number of screens for showing, the casting is quite strong as you can find Francis NG Chun-yu and Daniel KOO Tin-lok. Maybe this is the summer hope for the BIG-Mandarin Circuit. Let's see how it has done.

Judging from the movie title, probably you can consider it as a crime story. Officer Brian (Daniel KOO Tin-lok) and Officer Mike (Francis NG Chun-yue), who has been paired for years, are investigating the case of a big robber Dragon. Their characters are totally different -- Brian behaves like a big kid while Mike seems to be crazy. In this action, they finally make use of Pappa (Helena LAW Lan)'s home for observation. With the days going on, they live like a family. In between, Brian was fallen in love to Yen (MOK Pui-lam), under-cover agent SHEK Sau (LAI Yiu-cheung)'s sister. At the same time, Mike seems to be in love with laundary lady Jennifer (LAM Mei-jing). Jennifer is pregnant while her men ran away. While Brian and Mike are enjoying their love, the thunderstorm is coming......

By judging from the title, maybe you will expect lots of actions and gun-fighting scenes. However, it seems that Willson YIP puts more concern on the descriptions of characters and their relationship with other guys. For gun fightings and action scenes, there are several gun fightings which are well done. At least, you won't think it's a typical production.

For the part about relationships, the descriptions are detailed while the dialogues are well written. They put up the pairs with almost contradicting attributes. This is not a new thing. However, they put up the character Helena LAW Lan in the movie as an alone old guy who has some mental problems. She wrongly recognize Brian and Mike as her sons Brian and Ka-leung. This makes the whole relationship interesting and funny.

Some of the plots are good in decide, the love for Brian and Mike to Yen and Jennifer respectively are natural and real. It hasn't put lots of descriptions on the relationship but the scenes taken are powerful. That's why what you see they have an reunion dinner, you find that they look like a real family.

Another interesting thing is about the interaction between the robbers and the cops. They have made up an interesting situation for presenting the case which make you feel fresh. I don't want to spoil the plot, but I'm sure that it is a bit out of your imagination.

In terms of performance, I consider the thress characters -- Francis NG Chun-yu, Daniel KOO Tin-lok and Helena LAW Lan, especially Helena LAW Lan. This time Helena LAW acted as a crazy old guy. She has lots of opportunity to act. Some of them like mis-recognizing are fun. However, you can also see her dark side at some scenes. The plot has the tension to make Helena to be important and dimensional.

For Francis NG Chun-yu, his character in 'Bullets Over Summer' looks like his direction '9413', being an abnormal cop with his personal problems. His acting is also good and you can see his acting from his various behavious. For Daniel KOO, I think this time he performs more natural.

In short, you may not find lots of bullets in 'Bullets Over Summer', you still enjoy the movie as you can find a well-written story about the relationships between the cops and a old lady and the love of these two cops. The whole movie is entertaining. If you look for actions and gun shootings, there are some quality scenes, but I'm sure you can get more from the movie.