Story blazes out of control

Story blazes out of control
Cinema Still: As The Light Goes Out, starring Shawn Yue.


115 minutes

The story: A perfect storm of factors come together, on Christmas Eve no less, to create a fiery disaster. A liquor warehouse goes up in flames. If it spreads to a nearby power plant, Hong Kong will be plunged into darkness. Senior firefighter Sam (Nicholas Tse) has to wrest control of the situation together with his buddy Chill (Shawn Yue), China-transfer Ocean (Hu Jun) and old hand Li (Simon Yam).

Think fires are dangerous? It is the smoke that is often more lethal.

We are informed as such at the start of the movie and it also indicates how As The Light Goes Out intends to distinguish itself from other fire disaster flicks.

And the smoke is indeed impressively menacing in its various incarnations from poisonous yellow fumes to thick smothering blankets of it which reduce visibility to almost zero.

Add in greedily devouring flames and the threat of explosions and collapsing walkways and buildings and there is drama aplenty on the screen.

Writer-director Derek Kwok (Gallants, 2010), however, is not content with incendiary action alone and ups the stakes on the plotlines.

But in trying to top the drama of the fire, he ends up with overwrought stories instead.

For starters, there is the backstory of how Sam, Chill and Yip (Andy On) once disobeyed orders on the ground.

Yip was later promoted ahead of the other two and now, Yip and Sam are classic frenemies.

And every other firefighter has a tragic past and/or troubled present.

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