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Breaking News (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Blu-ray Region A, B

Kelly Chen (Actor) | Richie Jen (Actor) | Johnnie To (Director) | Nick Cheung (Actor)
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Breaking News (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7 out of 10 (20)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Johnnie To adds a satirical twist to his pet genre in the 2004 crime thriller Breaking News. Winning Best Director for To at the 41st Golden Horse Awards, this clever police drama features the director's signature thrilling gunplay and charismatic (anti)heroes, but differs from his other genre efforts with its satirical pokes at the media and fresh casting. For Breaking News, To departed from his usual actors to work with pop idol Kelly Chen (An Empress and the Warriors), Taiwan singer Richie Jen (Exiled), and Nick Cheung (Election), in what would be the first of many collaborations. Playing against his comedic image of the time, Nick Cheung stars as the brash cop pursuing Richie Jen's brazenly cool criminal. Kelly Chen portrays a police inspector trying to orchestrate the cops-and-robbers showdown into a media show, changing the nature of the game for both the police and the criminals. Johnnie To regulars Simon Yam, Maggie Siu, and Eddie Cheung also make appearances in the film.

Breaking News opens with its most memorable scene, an amazing eight-minute one-take continuous shot following a team of thieves led by Yuan (Richie Jen) as they make their getaway and engage in multiple shootouts with the cops. The criminals' bold escape is all captured on camera, leading to a public outcry against police cowardice and incompetence. In steps Inspector Rebecca Fong (Kelly Chen) who proposes fixing this public relations nightmare by putting on another big show for the media: televising their capture of the criminals.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Breaking News (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) 大事件 (Blu-ray) (香港版) 大事件 (Blu-ray) (香港版) ブレイキング・ニュース (大事件) (Blu-ray) (香港版) Breaking News (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Kelly Chen (Actor) | Richie Jen (Actor) | Nick Cheung (Actor) | Maggie Shiu (Actor) | David Richardson 陳慧琳 (Actor) | 任 賢齊 (Actor) | 張 家輝 (Actor) | 邵美琪 (Actor) | David Richardson 陈慧琳 (Actor) | 任 贤齐 (Actor) | 张 家辉 (Actor) | 邵美琪 (Actor) | David Richardson 陳慧琳(ケリー・チャン) (Actor) | 任賢齊(リッチー・レン) (Actor) | 張家輝 (ニック・チョン) (Actor) | 邵美琪 (マギー・シウ) (Actor) | David Richardson Kelly Chen (Actor) | Richie Jen (Actor) | Nick Cheung (Actor) | Maggie Shiu (Actor) | David Richardson
Director: Johnnie To 杜琪峯 杜琪峯 杜琪峰 (ジョニー・トー)  Johnnie To
Blu-ray Region Code: A - Americas (North, Central and South except French Guiana), Korea, Japan, South East Asia (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan), B - Europe, Africa, Oceania (including Australia and New Zealand), Middle East, French Territories, Greenland What is it?
Release Date: 2009-04-03
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
Country of Origin: Hong Kong
Picture Format: [HD] High Definition What is it?
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen, 1.78 : 1, 2.35 : 1
Sound Information: Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format(s): Blu-ray
Screen Resolution: 1080p (1920 x 1080 progressive scan)
Video Codecs: AVC (MPEG-4 Part 10)
Rating: IIB
Duration: 89 (mins)
Publisher: Intercontinental Video (HK)
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1019599969

Product Information

* Video Resolution (maximum) : 1920 X 1080p Full HD
* Video Codec: AVC
* Audio Specifications:
- Cantonese: Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
- Mandarin: Dolby Digital 5.1
* Special Feature:
- Trailer
- Behind the Scene

Director: Johnnie To

When an ambulatory TV news unit live broadcasts the embarrassing defeat of a police battalion by five bank robbers in ballistic showdown, the credibility of the police force drops to a nadir. While on a separate investigation in a run-down building, detective Cheung discovers the hideout of the robbers. Cheung and his men have also entered the building, getting ready to take their foes out any minute. Meanwhile, in order to beat the media at its own game. Inspector Rebecca decides to turn the stakeout into a breaking news show.
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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Breaking News (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)"

View Professional Review:
April 2, 2009

The fact that Johnnie To's latest film Breaking News got an invite to the Cannes Film Festival should tell you something about the director's international reputation. Basically, that reputation exists, but it's also inexorably tied to the crime genre. Films like Love For All Seasons and even the award-winning Running on Karma don't usually get international fans salivating, and this even goes for the Hong Kong Cinema-faithful who'll watch everything that To directs - and who probably gnash their teeth over the latest Johnnie To-Sammi Cheng romantic laffer. All those lingering fears of Johnnie To-lite should be put to rest with Breaking News, an entertaining crime thriller with a few interesting satirical nods. Still, the cast is a bit surprising: popstars Richie Ren and Kelly Chen, and usual funnyman Nick Cheung (!) play the suave cop/criminal types in this film. Was Lau Ching-Wan busy?

Richie Ren is Yuan, a cool Mainland professional thief who sets the Hong Kong streets on fire in the film's first eight minutes - an amazing steadicam sequence that details the beginning of a pitched gunplay battle and its subsequent fallout in a single take. On Yuan's tail is Inspector Cheung (Nick Cheung), a slightly goofy-looking version of the standard "Cop Who Breaks All the Rules™". The cops' stakeout goes bust, leading to a firefight and finally a media-covered sequence of an average beat cop actually raising his hands and surrendering to Yuan and his three comrades. The televised display of cop cowardice sets the public against the police, a sentiment furthered by the fact that Yuan and his gang gets away. The Royal Hong Kong Police Force have likely never had a poorer Q-rating.

Enter Inspector Rebecca Fong (Kelly Chen), who suggests to her superior officers (including Simon Yam in a cameo) that the cops regain face by putting on a "big show". That show will include unprecedented media access to the apprehending of Yuan's gang - once they catch up with them. Fong has her crew scouring the streets for info, which leads them to Yuan's apartment building hideout at nearly the same time as Cheung and his team, who brazenly disobey orders by staying on the case and invading the building. Once Fong gets wind that the planned primetime bust is going down, she assembles the cops and media for her big show, and begins to orchestrate events to make the cops seem like the heroes they're supposed to be. Meanwhile, Yuan catches on to the media manipulation, and starts finding ways to debunk the cops' media spinning. All the while, Cheung stays in the building, and strengthens his personal resolve to bring down Yuan.

Breaking News charges forward like a barrelling freight train, which can be credited to Johnnie To's solid direction, as well as his unparalleled ability to work minor quirks into otherwise generic crime films. Inspector Cheung may be a hard-nosed cop cliché, but his interaction with the frustrated Fong, who wants him off the streets pronto, and his sometimes dopey subordinates (including To regular Hui Siu-Hung as a flatulent cop) is handled efficiently and entertainingly. Similarly, Yuan is revealed to be a suave, honorable thief who frowns on killing kids, and has the charisma to defuse tensions between his gang and the men belonging to Chun (Yao Yong), a Mainland hitman who happens to be caught in the building too. Yuan takes hostages (Lam Suet and his two kids), but treats them extraordinarily well, even cooking dinner for them and delivering footage of their meal to the media to show up the cops.

The satirical element of Breaking News offers some rich ground to cover. The cops are trying to put on a show, but their media machinations are countered by Yuan's intelligence and gamesmanship. Yuan is portrayed as a smart guy who puts his principles first, and is perhaps better at handling the media than the cops are. Indeed, he would probably get away with the whole shebang if it weren't for Cheung's Rambo cop ingenuity, or some minor happenstance involving the ultra-photogenic Inspector Fong, who's seemingly admired by every male cop (and even male thief) within 100 yards of her. Yeah, even though this is a tough thriller/media satire combo, it's all too apparent that there are screenwriters at work. The pointed media satire provides some good narrative fodder, but there are more obvious screenwriting conceits - like the forced attraction between Yuan and Inspector Fong - that seem like remnants of a marketing meeting.

There's also a weird male bonding subplot that goes to an illogical extreme, and seems to exist only to end the film on a self-referential note. Odd existentialism in Hong Kong crime films is nothing new, but their presence in Breaking News only seems to weigh the otherwise sleek narrative down. Screenwriters Chan Hing-Kai, Yip Tin-Shing, and the Milky Way Creative Team (Woohoo! Screenwriting by committee!) spend too much time crossing their thematic wires, and the result is not a film that really seems to say much. The media satire is there, but not fully played out. The male bonding, and existential thoughts of professional criminals are explored, but the ultimate payoff seems forced. And the attraction between Yuan and Fong is too undeveloped and uninteresting to be anything other than movie screenwriting.

Also problematic is the film's casting, which is totally odd for a Johnnie To film. Richie Ren gets the Andy Lau role, and is sufficiently charming and even charismatic as the intelligent thief Yuan. What he doesn't seem to possess is the requisite edge of a killer, which Yuan plainly is from minute one of the film. Nick Cheung fares slightly better as the hard-boiled Cheung, if only because he's not really required to carry the film. Cheung is suitably intense for a light media satire/action thriller like Breaking News, though he would still be all wrong for either the Lau Ching-Wan or Andy Lau roles in Running Out of Time. On the lower end of things is Kelly Chen, who no matter how you slice it, does not look or act like she belongs in this film. Inspector Fong's intensity and intelligence aren't adequately conveyed by Chen, nor does there seem to be much lingering beneath Fong's gorgeous exterior. At the very least, Chen's icy screen persona seems fitting for her character, but that doesn't really make her seem interesting.

But despite all the above gripes, Breaking News does provide one major, major bonus: it entertains, and not in a dumbed-down, unintelligent way. The media satire, while not fully explored, does give the film a few sly laughs, and Johnnie To paces the cat-and-mouse "Die Hard in a Hong Kong apartment building" storyline with enjoyable tension and appropriate bursts of action. Aside from the astounding one-take opening sequence, Breaking News provides a climactic minibus chase also shot in one take, and effective split-screen moments which bring the characters and their situations closer together. Even if marketing botched some aspects of Breaking News, Johnnie To handles the actual storytelling with admirable cinematic panache. It's not a perfect film by any means, but for Hong Kong commercial cinema, Breaking News is still better than we probably deserve.

by Kozo - LoveHKFilm.com

July 14, 2004

This professional review refers to Breaking News (DTS Version)
Johnnie To confuses me. I have never been able to satisfactorily account for why I enjoy his films so much, and I don't like that. It has always seemed to me that he strikes a very uneasy balance between visual style and dramatic substance; those devices (plot and character-related) To employs to lend weight to the emotional side of his films are usually very conventional, but somehow he always manages to obscure this until I think about it afterwards, which I find really frustrating.

Well, now I've seen Breaking News. I can tell you why I enjoyed it too, but it hasn't supplied me with any principles I can apply to my assessment of To's other films; in fact, Breaking News' success is actually dependent on its exaggeration of the problem - my problem - outlined above, with To so privileging style over narrative substance that the former essentially renders the latter irrelevant. This is, of course, the point; Breaking News is a film all about image and how to sell it using any means possible. In their fight to control public opinion, both the police and the besieged gangsters constantly try to find new means of communicating with their audience in a way that recalls the proliferation of new media in the 'real' world outside the film. Internet web-cams and message boards and mobile phones with built-in video capture capabilities are the primary tools in use here, but even boring old television has its place in this hi-tech mix when the police hire a film director to edit and digitally retouch the 'live' footage they are supplying to the networks.

From reading the synopsis for the film, you might be forgiven for thinking Breaking News is a comedy. It's not. Despite featuring plenty of laughs (mostly in the satirical vein), Breaking News is a police action flick, albeit one that constantly strays outside the boundaries of its generic form. The basic premise for the film is fairly straightforward, but the reason To can use such a predictable cops-and-robbers story to such great effect here is because there is almost no narrative tension generated by the formulaic plot points that unfold on-screen; instead, what matters here is the spin that the police/gangsters put on these events after they have happened. However, this is not to suggest that the film is simply formed out of an uneven combination of scenes 'valuable' and not-so-valuable; rather, Breaking News works as a cohesive whole due to some excellent work by the cast (including To regulars Simon Yam and Lam Suet) and To's stunning direction (the standout scene being the seven-minute single-take gun-battle that opens the film).

An almost total emphasis on style, no matter how deliberate, can only go so far though, and despite (or perhaps because of) Breaking News' effective satirical elements, the film still feels a little hollow. Only a little though - this is a great film and easily one of To's best. As usual, I'm looking forward to whatever he does next, and, also as usual, I'm going to spend the time until its release trying to work out why I like him so much!

9 departmental abbreviations out of 10

by Jonathan McCoy - heroic-cinema.com

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

Customer Review of "Breaking News (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7 out of 10 (20)

Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews


April 26, 2010

This customer review refers to Breaking News (DTS Version)
Nonsensical To-directed actioner Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10
Given its improbable story elements and inappropriate casting choices, "Breaking News" falls back on piling on the visceral energy with enough bullets and bombs to rival an old John Woo movie. Police detectives are surveilling a gang of bandits when a couple of clueless street cops intervene and cause all heck to break loose. Unfortunately, a TV news crew is on hand to film the carnage and the resulting news coverage gives a black eye to the HK police force. Police honcho Simon Yam calls a meeting of top cops to discuss how to respond to the situation; glamorous cop Kelly Chen proposes that, in order to restore their reputation, the police should respond with a televised spectacle in which they bring down the gang in front of the assembled news media. In the real world, anyone with half a brain would have nixed such an absurd idea, but in director Johnnie To's world it apparently seems like sheer genius to gather an army of policemen to take out an ultra-violent gang of thugs holed up in a crowded apartment building in the full glare of the news media. What could go wrong?

Fortunately for the viewer, director To keeps the pedal to the metal throughout, setting an almost unrelenting pace of cops running down narrow hallways amidst a hale of bullets and bursting bombs. Chief among the pursuing cups is grim-faced Nick Cheung, whom Kelly Chen wants to rein in but who disregards orders and ceaselessly pursues the bad guys. Indeed, his pursuit becomes laughable, as he gets blown through the air by bombs, hit by a car, and shot off of a motorcycle, yet never relents in his pursuit of the evildoers. (Another improbability: Lam Suet, playing a hostage held by the baddies, seems to be a model dad to his two adorable children, but then seeks to flee out a window, leaving his kids in the hands of killers. What father would do such a thing?)

Richie Jen plays the lead bad guy, but, due to his affable screen presence and to a script that romanticizes the thugs, Jen lacks the requisite menace for his role. A worse casting decision is Kelly Chen. There seems to be no one home behind that those high cheekbones and beautiful eyes; one can't imagine her being entrusted to run such an operation. In the end, the viewer is left with an improbable, mildly entertaining, and blessedly short actioner shot in the slick MilkyWay style.
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Rhoda
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October 21, 2008

This customer review refers to Breaking News (DTS Version)
Loved it Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
This movie is really appreciated by me. I think this is the first To movie i have seen...late review only. But i really liked the acting of Ritchie Chen. I find him so manly in this action movie.. even the ending is great. I film you should not miss.
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Les
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November 3, 2005

This customer review refers to Breaking News (DTS Version)
Uneven Story Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10
Lots of suspension of disbelief is required in order to buy into this movie. Several major plot holes occur and detract from what could have been a very suspenseful story. Some of the gunplay was quite ridiculous & unbelievable. Also as with many other HK movies, the level of police tactics, training & cooperation is unprofessional & near incompent -- insubordination & renegade techniques are frequently present. The use of grenades as boobytraps was poorly done as they were all obviously inert dummies because the fuze handles were blue color. They could not have been used as a threat against the hostages either. The theme of media as a determining factor in how a crime in progress plays out was not satisfactorily explored. It was good to see reliable actor Simon Yam. Kelly Chen was in over her head. Nick Cheung was his usual goofy self. Passable entertainment for just killing time. No great climatic pay off at the end.
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Anonymous

March 20, 2005

This customer review refers to Breaking News (DTS Version)
simulation of a good movie Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7 out of 10
This movie was very fast paced and had big EPS (Explosions per second). The acting wasn't perfect, but it was good enough to let you get involved in the plot. A "show" between police and some thugs. The build up to a climax was great, lots of shooting and explosions... however, the ending kind of dissappointed me. All the buildup for such a simple, weak ending.
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Anonymous

March 17, 2005

This customer review refers to Breaking News (DTS Version)
It's Okay Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7 out of 10
It's an okay movie for me. Kelly is not suited for this role. I have nothing against her and thinks she is a good singer and role model but she doesn't carry this role well and across. She hasn't got that air of authority. In fact, I think Maggie would have done a much better job. Nicky Cheung, as usual, is a talented actor. Plot wise, a bit weak for me. Deepest impressions will have to be the segments where the bad guys were in the hostages' home.
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