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Full Alert (film)

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Ringo Lam

Music director
Peter Kam

Hong Kong


Action, Drama



Full Alert (film) movie poster

Release date
18 July 1997 (1997-07-18)

Ringo Lam (screenplay), Ringo Lam (story), W.K. Lau, Yuen-Leung Poon

Ringo Lam, Wing-Kin Lau, Yuen-Leung Poon

Sean Lau
(Inspector Pao),
Francis Ng
(Mak Kwan),
Amanda Lee
(Chung Lai-Hung),
Monica Chan
Jack Kao Kuo-Hsin

Similar movies
Directed by Ringo Lam, Sean Lau movies, Hong Kong movies

Full alert car chase 1997

Full Alert is a 1997 Hong Kong action film directed and co-written by Ringo Lam. The film's plot is set in 1997 when cops find a corpse and bomb chemicals, Inspector Pao (Lau Ching-wan) arrests suspect Mak Kwan (Francis Ng) hoping that his girlfriend will lead them to his Taiwanese gang, but Mak makes an escape and the girlfriend makes off for Macao. Pao then figures that the gang will go for the $230 million at the Hong Kong Jockey club while Mak plans his escape from prison.


Full Alert was shown at both the Rotterdam Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival in 1997. It was nominated for five awards at the 17th Hong Kong Film Awards.

Full alert trailer hq


Mak Kwan (Francis Ng) is an expert in bombs. After killing off his partner, he is arrested by police officer Pao (Lau Ching-wan). His girlfriend, Chung Lai-hung (Amanda Lee) informs the head of the gang that Mak is being held by the police. Since mafia leader fears that Mak will reveal their plans, and promises to rescue Mak with his underling and Chan Wah (Raymond Cho). Knowing the leader's plan, Pao prepares for the battle. Although the mafia leader cannot get to Kwan, they manage to kill Pao's subordinate Yung. Pao and his subordinate Bill are upset over Yung's death and swear to get revenge. Chan Wah is also killed by the gang leader to frame Pao. Meanwhile, Kwan escapes from prison with the assistance of a fellow prisoner. As he grows to understand Kwan's personality, Pao waits for Mak at the Jockey Club. Kwan reacts by tying up Pao's family. When he sneaks into the Jockey Club and takes the money, the head gang leader then wants to kill him so that he can take the whole portion of the money for himself. This leads to Mak killing the leader. Mak takes the money with Lai-hung but is followed by Pao. As they battle each other, Pao shoots Lai-hung. Kwan cannot handle her death and shoots himself.


The action scenes in Full Alert are all real and were shot secretly without a shooting permit in the streets of Hong Kong.


Full Alert was released in Hong Kong on 18 July 1997 and earned a total of HK$14,691,880 in the box office. In 1997, the film was shown at the Rotterdam Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival.

The Region 2 DVD for Full Alert was released on 17 July 2000. It included a Ringo Lam filmography and the film's theatrical trailer. The BBC referred to DVD's image quality as more poor than average mainstream DVDs but has suffered less print damage than other Hong Kong films.


In Hong Kong, the film received five nominations at the 17th Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor (Lau Ching-wan), Best Editing (Marco Mak and Angie Lam), and Best sound. At the 4th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards, Full Alert won the award for best film and best actor (Lau Ching-wan).

Outside of Hong Kong, the New York Times praised the film, calling it "one of the best new Hong Kong cop stories (rivaled only by Benny Chan's Big Bullet)" and praising the plot and characters as "well-drawn" and the camerawork as "Mr. Lam's best". Variety gave the film a positive review noting that Ringo Lam "invests the outwardly formulaic crimer with dark character play and a visceral power that are new in his career." A review from the BBC gave the film three stars out of five calling it "far more entertaining" than Ringo Lam's previous film Maximum Risk and that the film "has its moments". Sight & Sound referred to the film as a "bravura thriller" with "car chases and shoot-outs are staged with ingenuity." and that it was "excellently acted by the two leads Lau Ching-Wan and Francis Ng". The review concluded that "Lam tells his story with such verve that we hardly notice it is riddled with clichés."


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