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The First Option (Fei hu) (1996)

  Directed by: Gordon Chan
Written by: Gordon Chan
Starring: Damian Lau, Gigi Leung, Michael Wong
Links: The First Option on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD
Genre: Action

This movie gets: 7.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

""Damn!"" - a review by timchuma

A drug bust by the Customs Office goes belly up when the drug smugglers open up with machine guns and grenades. In the aftermath, the Police SDU is called in to mop up. The SDU is the "Special Duty Unit" and is the equivalent of the Police SWAT in many Hong Kong movies.

The group is led by Don (Michael Wong), an unconventional leader who gets the job done, but is not liked by his superiors. The set up reminded me of any of the myriad of Hollywood cop movies in this regard.

Afterwards, the SDU is assigned to work with Customs on the case, as it is tracking a large shipment of drugs. The smugglers are heavily armed and Customs does not have the firepower to deal with it. Don doesn't like this, but he agrees to go along with it.

The SDU's first operation with Customs does not go well; all the suspects are killed and Don is shot at by accident by a Customs Officer. Of course, you know that Don will have to work with that very officer on the operation. He also gets help from another drug enforcement agent from the US, who happens to be an old friend of his.

The next major operation the SDU has planned with the Customs Office is at an abandoned warehouse complex on the outskirts of Hong Kong. There is much riding on their operation and they are eager for it to go according to plan...

There are quite a few of these Police SDU movies around now and they all seem to involve similar themes. These include fighting drug traffickers, terrorists, or their own agents. Some movies have all three of these themes.

While this movie is only average by the standards of other action movies, it does have its share of good action scenes. The highlights include the drug bust in the opening scenes and the final showdown (there's always a final showdown in these movies).

The main character gets most of the good action scenes, as you would expect. I liked the scenes with the female customs officer operating on her own, as they were exciting.

I understand that there is some bias against Michael Wong who plays the character of Don as he is not the usual person you would expect in a title role. He does a great job though, and I liked his performance here more than the role he played in Theft Under the Sun (1999).

I would recommend this movie if you are a fan of the SDU genre and have already seen Hit Team (2001) or Best of the Best (1996).

timchuma gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 8 Dec 2004

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