Hong Kong action veteran Ringo Lam’s “Sky on Fire” is a loping, crazily ambitious, densely plotted action thriller set off by the hijacking of a cure for cancer. (Lam’s career includes “City on Fire,” the 1987 film that inspired key passages of Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs.”) The official logline sums the patchwork of moving parts in Lam’s script as well as you could in a few words: “Caught in the middle of a robbery gone wrong, a security guard must decide who to trust with the cure to a deadly disease in order to stop an all-out war from bringing the city to its knees.” The casually bravura action scenes, generous with vehicle-on-vehicle action, are punchy and kinetic, far more engrossing than the thriller plotting. Lam’s knack for filling the widescreen frame with eye candy is as sturdy as ever. With Daniel Wu, Joseph Chang, Amber Kuo, Zhang Jingchu, Zhang Ruoyun, Wayne Lai, Philip Keung, Eddie Cheung, Fan Guangyao. 100m. (Ray Pride)
“Sky on Fire” opens Friday, December 2 at River East.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published soon. Previews of the project are on Twitter and on Instagram as Ghost Signs Chicago. More photography on Instagram.