The Bravest 烈火英雄 (2019) - China
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
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In terms of filmmaking achievements, the latest fire fighting fiasco is given an absolute grand scale treatment in the Andrew Lau’s produced and directed by Tony Chan in “The Bravest”. Whilst the nationalistic pride is unavoidable, the film is largely good one as we see the real life struggles of firefighters risking their lives for the greater good of the rest of the population. It’s a tough job and in these sort of situations, it comes down to team work, individual heroism and mental toughness in order for them to save the day.
Huang Xiaoming makes a good leading man as a fire fighter captain aiming for redemption after an unfortunate incident. Huang shows plenty of intensity required of the role and carries the film with his broad shoulders from start to finish. In these kind of disaster films, the visual spectacle usually out-shadow the characters, but Huang and Du Jiang manages to rise above the fire. Yang Zi does well in a small role as the bride to be adding an emotional core to the tragedy. Meanwhile Tan Zhuo’s character arc is wasted as the desperate Huang’s wife searching for their son in midst of crisis.
All in all, “The Bravest” is visually stunning and manages to be as engaging as it intends to be. Disaster epic flicks like these are always a hit and miss and the over the top fire sequences remain the highlight as well as some well drawn out characters on display. Taking a leaf out of Hong Kong filmmaking, producer Andrew Lau adds the much needed layer of commercial credibility to the film, but ultimately the film shines through with its fighting spirit and well meaning message.
I rated it 7.5/10