Full Alert (film)

Full Alert

Hong Kong film poster for Full Alert
Chinese 高度戒備
Mandarin Gāodù Jièbèi
Cantonese Gou1dou6 Gaai3bei6
Directed by Ringo Lam
Produced by Li Kuo-hsing
Screenplay by Lau Wing-kin
Ringo Lam
Story by Ringo Lam
Starring Lau Ching-wan
Francis Ng
Jack Kao
Amanda Lee
Music by Peter Kam
Cinematography Ardy Lam
Edited by Marco Mak
Angie Lam
Brilliant Idea Group Ltd.
Release dates
  • 18 July 1997 (1997-07-18)
Running time
98 minutes
Country Hong Kong
Language Cantonese
Budget HK$13,000,000[1]
Box office HK$14,691,880

Full Alert is a 1997 Hong Kong action film directed and co-written by Ringo Lam. The film's plot is set in 1997 when cops find a corpse and bomb chemicals, Inspector Pao (Lau Ching-wan) arrests suspect Mak Kwan (Francis Ng) hoping that his girlfriend will lead them to his Taiwanese gang, but Mak makes an escape and the girlfriend makes off for Macao. Pao then figures that the gang will go for the $230 million at the Hong Kong Jockey club while Mak plans his escape from prison.

Full Alert was shown at both the Rotterdam Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival in 1997. It was nominated for five awards at the 17th Hong Kong Film Awards.


Mak Kwan (Francis Ng) is an expert in bombs. After killing off his partner, he is arrested by police officer Pao (Lau Ching-wan). His girlfriend, Chung Lai-hung (Amanda Lee) informs the head of the gang that Mak is being held by the police. Since mafia leader fears that Mak will reveal their plans, and promises to rescue Mak with his underling and Chan Wah (Raymond Cho). Knowing the leader's plan, Pao prepares for the battle. Although the mafia leader cannot get to Kwan, they manage to kill Pao's subordinate Yung. Pao and his subordinate Bill are upset over Yung's death and swear to get revenge. Chan Wah is also killed by the gang leader to frame Pao. Meanwhile, Kwan escapes from prison with the assistance of a fellow prisoner. As he grows to understand Kwan's personality, Pao waits for Mak at the Jockey Club. Kwan reacts by tying up Pao's family. When he sneaks into the Jockey Club and takes the money, the head gang leader then wants to kill him so that he can take the whole portion of the money for himself. This leads to Mak killing the leader. Mak takes the money with Lai-hung but is followed by Pao. As they battle each other, Pao shoots Lai-hung. Kwan cannot handle her death and shoots himself.


The action scenes in Full Alert are all real and were shot secretly without a shooting permit in the streets of Hong Kong.[2]


Full Alert was released in Hong Kong on 18 July 1997 and earned a total of HK$14,691,880 in the box office.[3] In 1997, the film was shown at the Rotterdam Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival.[1][4]

The Region 2 DVD for Full Alert was released on 17 July 2000. It included a Ringo Lam filmography and the film's theatrical trailer.[4] The BBC referred to DVD's image quality as more poor than average mainstream DVDs but has suffered less print damage than other Hong Kong films.[5]


In Hong Kong, the film received five nominations at the 17th Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor (Lau Ching-wan), Best Editing (Marco Mak and Angie Lam), and Best sound.[6] At the 4th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards, Full Alert won the award for best film and best actor (Lau Ching-wan).[7]

Outside of Hong Kong, the New York Times praised the film, calling it "one of the best new Hong Kong cop stories (rivaled only by Benny Chan's Big Bullet)" and praising the plot and characters as "well-drawn" and the camerawork as "Mr. Lam's best".[8] Variety gave the film a positive review noting that Ringo Lam "invests the outwardly formulaic crimer with dark character play and a visceral power that are new in his career."[1] A review from the BBC gave the film three stars out of five calling it "far more entertaining" than Ringo Lam's previous film Maximum Risk and that the film "has its moments".[5] Sight & Sound referred to the film as a "bravura thriller" with "car chases and shoot-outs are staged with ingenuity." and that it was "excellently acted by the two leads Lau Ching-Wan and Francis Ng".[9] The review concluded that "Lam tells his story with such verve that we hardly notice it is riddled with clichés."[9]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Elley, Derek (5 January 1998). "Variety Reviews - Full Alert - Film Reviews - - Review by Derek Elley". Variety. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  2. Hendrix, Grady; Fukazawa, Hiroshi (9 September 2014). "Kaiju Shakedown: Ringo Lam". Film Comment. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  3. "Full Alert". Hong Kong Film Archive. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  4. 1 2 Stewart, Bhob. "Full Alert - DVD - AllRovi". Allrovi. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  5. 1 2 Haflidason, Almar. "BBC - Films - review - Full Alert DVD". BBC. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  6. 第十七屆香港電影金像獎得獎名單. Hong Kong Film Awards (in Chinese). Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  7. "The 4th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards : 香港電影評論學會". Hong Kong Film Critics Society. 22 January 1998. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  8. Strauss, Neil (2 August 1998). "Amid Decline, Some Standouts". New York Times. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  9. 1 2 Macnab, Geoffrey (October 2000). "Full Alert". Sight and Sound. London: British Film Institute. 10 (10): 66. ISSN 0037-4806.

External links

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