City on Fire (1987 film)

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For the 1979 American disaster film, see City on Fire (1979 film).
City on Fire
Hong Kong theatrical poster
Directed by Ringo Lam
Produced by Karl Maka
Ringo Lam
Written by Ringo Lam
Starring Danny Lee
Chow Yun-fat
Sun Yueh
Carrie Ng
Roy Cheung
Music by Teddy Robin Kwan
Cinematography Andrew Lau
Edited by Wong Ming-Lam
Distributed by Cinema City Film Co. Ltd. (Hong Kong)
Release dates
  • 13 February 1987 (1987-02-13)
Running time
105 min.
Country Hong Kong
Language Cantonese
Box office Hong Kong HK$ 19,723,505

City on Fire (simplified Chinese: 龙虎风云; traditional Chinese: 龍虎風雲; pinyin: Lóng hǔ fēng yún) is a 1987 Hong Kong crime film written, produced and directed by Ringo Lam.


Chow (Chow Yun-fat) is an undercover cop who is under pressure from all sides. His boss, Inspector Lau (Sun Yueh), wants him to infiltrate a gang of ruthless jewel thieves; in order to do this he must obtain some handguns; his girlfriend (Carrie Ng) wants him to commit to marriage or she will leave Hong Kong with another lover; and he is being pursued by other cops who are unaware that he is a colleague.

What is more Chow would rather quit the force. He feels guilty about having to betray people who have become his friends, even if they do happen to be killers, drug dealers, loan sharks and protection racketeers: "I do my job, but I betray my friends."

To add to his problems, he begins to bond with Fu (Danny Lee), a member of the gang.


  • Danny Lee Sau-yin as Fu
  • Chow Yun-fat as Chow
  • Sun Yueh as Inspector Lau / Uncle Kung
  • Carrie Ng as Hung
  • Roy Cheung as Inspector John Chan
  • Maria Cordero as Lounge Singer
  • Jessica Chau as Lily
  • Yeh Fang as Chow Nam
  • Victor Hon as Bill
  • Kong Lau as Inspector Chow
  • Elvis Tsu as Chan Kam-wah
  • Wong Kwong-leung as Kwong
  • Cheng Mang-Ha
  • Parkman Wong
  • Jessica Chow
  • Ringo Lam

[1] [2]


Filming began in Hong Kong in 1985 and concluded around the Christmas season


City on Fire is Ringo Lam's most celebrated work. The film has been critically acclaimed, holding a 91% "fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes.[3]


Quentin Tarantino's 1992 film Reservoir Dogs includes several similar key plot elements and scenes, most notably the famous Mexican standoff near the end of the film. After critic Jeffrey Dawson noted "in jest, similar elements" in Empire magazine, other publications including Film Threat promoted the observation, and a Michigan film student created a 1995 short film, Who Do You Think You're Fooling?, which mixed dialog and visuals from both movies to demonstrate the similarities.[4] In addition to Reservoir Dogs, critic Matt McAllister notes that one "can equally see the influence of City On Fire - and similar Hong Kong cops-and-robbers movies - on many other Hollywood 'undercover cop' movies such as Point Break."[5]

Chow Yun-Fat and Danny Lee faced a role-reversal two years later when, in John Woo's The Killer, Chow plays a hitman who bonds with Lee, this time appearing as the cop.


  1. ^ City on Fire at HKMDB
  2. ^ City on Fire at
  3. ^ City on Fire at Rotten Tomatoes
  4. ^ Jeffrey Dawson (1995). Quentin Tarantino: The Cinema of Cool. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 90. 
  5. ^ McAllister, Matt (26 April 2005). "City On Fire Film Review". Retrieved 29 March 2012. 

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