Hong Kong is a breeding ground for action masters. Wilson Yip, John Woo, Johnny To; I'm only scratching the surface. What's interesting about these names, is that they all do it very differently. With Dante Lam's Fire of Conscience, my eyes were opened to a very unique new style of action.
It's not particularly slick, there's no slow motion, and absolutely no moments of glorified heroism. When people get killed in FOC this becomes an ironic abbreviation because that's what I'm saying. It's a cacophony of unrepentant realism. It's raw with a bitter after taste. Salty. And for savory action fans, you're in for a treat.
To directly compare it to the rough and tumble style of modern American Actioners like The Bourne Identity series or even the new James Bond films would do it a disservice. While these movies rely on urgent hand held cameras following the kinetics, Fire of Conscience still feels very Hong Kong in its incendiary explosiveness. Nothing feels staged, and you are never put in a position to watch the action from a pretty angle. Rather, the violence washes over you like a tidal wave. And "pretty" really isn't the right word for what you see. More like "badass".
When trying to sum it up the feel of the movie, the words that kept coming to my mind were "Worst case scenario" action scenes.
In Fire of Conscience; survival precedes reflection, but you better believe everyone involved is leaving the gun fight with the same baggage. It's all instinct on this battle field, and only the most callused and jaded warriors stand a chance; and no fight leaves anyone unscathed. Except maybe you, on the other side of the screen.