Out of inferno (PG13)
Should the call of duty override love and concern for one's kin? Can firefighters choose who to save?
Those will be the questions at the back of one's mind when one watches Out Of Inferno, a 3-D disaster movie from the Pang Brothers.
The 3-D effects did add realism and worked to heighten the fear factor, but they were in most parts redundant as they were hardly noticed, thanks to the stellar performance of the leading cast.
I'm referring to spot-on piercing gazes and looks of despair when the characters questioned each other's morals.
At the get-go, the film shines a spotlight on the conflicting perspectives of brothers Da Jun (played by Sean Lau) and Qiang (Louis Koo) on firefighting, when the former berates his younger brother for his lack of "discipline" when his concern for his teammates' well-being prevents him from completing his training mission.
This debate on whether a firefighter should stick stubbornly to protocols at the expense of the safety of others remains in the foreground for the rest of the movie - and is the reason the brothers become estranged for four years before ill fate brings them together.
On the hottest day in 50 years, a big fire breaks out in a packed commercial tower in Guangzhou, where, coincidentally, Qiang's new firefighting company is housed and where Da Jun's wife, Si Le (Lee Sinje), goes for her gynaecological check-ups.
Da Jun's squad is called upon to lead the rescue mission at the fire site, which he navigates from bottom to top, instead of rushing straight for his wife.
The reason being that, as a fireman, he "cannot choose who to save", much to the disapproval of Qiang, who ends up trapped in the burning building after opting to stay behind to help others escape.
As the fire rages, it seals an unlikely group of victims within the building, each with his own dramatic back story.