Fire of Conscience (Dante Lam, 2010): China

Reviewed by Charles Starr, viewed at the Metro 4, SBIFF 2011

Fire of Conscience is a Chinese film directed by Dante Lam.  While I did actually sit in front of a large screen showing this film, I struggle to determine of I don’t remember it well simply because I am a tired college student, or if anything did infact hapen in the film.

I chose the above picture as my image because it pretty accurately depicts my expression upon exiting the film: “WTF”…? The film was your usual action flick as far as plot is concerned: corruption in the police force, a brutal murder, and much sought after revenge. The stunts and visual effects were of the quality you would expect to see in any larger production film. However, this film could not pull off something even lightly entertaining.

Action movies typically work because you see all of the big explosions and action sequences and everyone in the audience “oos and awws”. That same audience may yawn through the brief sequences of dialog and the movie is over all still mind numbingly enjoyable. However, when concentration is involved it looses it’s purpose which is, essential, to zone out and drool at a screen for a couple of hours to escape reality. Subtitles involve concentration, even when the dialog is simple or in this case cheesy and I felt this took away from the film. There were a few odd scenes that went beyond what your everyday light, showy action flick goes. In one scene, a man who has a bomb strapped to his chest explodes and literally turns into a mist of guts and blood. While this didn’t partiularly bother me, I felt it unnecessary, and going a bit too far.

I thought a lot about my choice for an image for this article, if you couldn’t already tell. I really wanted to find a screen shot taken from the film from a particular scene, one of the final ones in the movie. This particular scene, takes place in a building being consumed by flames and in it two men struggle to kill each other while a lady weeps curled up in a ball giving birth to a baby. I found such a ridiculous image so appropriate to represent this film and, yet, I could not find one. Perhaps it is just because no one saw this film.

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