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Option Zero[1997]
Producer: Gordon Chan
Director: Dante Lam
Screenplay: Chan Hing Kar
Action Directors: Bruce Law, Chin Kar Lok
Cast: Julian Cheung, Anthony Wong, Carman Lee, Monica Chan
Michael Wong, Farini Cheung

After receiving an assistant director credit on Jackie Chan's Thunderbolt, Dante Lam was given the chance to direct his first film by producer Gordon Chan. Working with a script by veteran screen writer Chan Hing Kar (A Better Tomorrow, Thunderbolt), Lam does a nice job balancing the elements of the film.

Option Zero is the third entry of a trilogy of SDU films that began with The Final Option and First Option, both directed by Gordon Chan, the former with a screenplay by Chan Hing Kar. While the first film was successful, the second movie was a critical failure with the writing and performances taking the brunt of the negative reviews.

Looking to bounce back, screenwriter Chan crafts wonderful scenes of the Special Duty officers after hours, away from the job. Contrasted with the intense action sequences the effect on the viewer is quite moving.

The writing is so good the even the usually wooden Julian Cheung is able to make his scenes somewhat believable. He is helped by two fine actresses, Monica Chan, who plays his girlfriend, and Carmen Lee, cast as a co-worker. Anthony Wong appears as the superior officer of the SDU and, as usual, gives a flawless performance.

The film is out on DVD, in a fine presentation. This movie can be enjoyed on it's own merits, apart from the earlier works.

copyright 2000 J. Crawford

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