• Sky On Fire

    Released by: Well Go USA
    Released on: June 13th, 2017.
    Director: Ringo Lam
    Cast: Daniel Wu,
    Zhang Jingchu, Fan Guangyao, Zhang Ruoyun, Joseph Chang
    Year: 2016
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Sky On Fire might sound like a throwback of sorts to better known Ringo Lam pictures – the two Prison On Fire movies, City On Fire and School On Fire – but it isn’t in any way a sequel or follow up to those (admittedly) unconnected earlier films.

    The story revolves around a man named Chong (Daniel Wu), who works as the top chief security officer at a top-secret medical facility entitled Sky One. There’s some important work going on at the facility as a doctor named Dr. Gao (Zhang Jingchu) and her husband Dr. Tong (Fan Guangyao) are continuing the efforts of the late Dr. Pan in his attempt to come up with a legitimate cure for cancer. The circumstances around Pan’s death are suspicious to say the least. While on paper the fire that broke out was ruled an accident, there are still some questions that haven’t been properly answered.

    Things get sticky when Pan’s son, Ziwan (Zhang Ruoyun), and his associate Jia (Joseph Chang), swipe the track carrying the experimental cells that Gao is waiting on and needs to continue her work. Jia’s sister, Jen (Amber Kuo), has terminal cancer and so he hopes to be able to use the stolen goods to save her life. As the various plot threads start to weave together, Chong finds himself caught between both sides – wanting to do right by his employer but also sympathetic to Ziwan and Jia’s plight. But as it goes in situations like this, he soon finds there’s reason to be suspicious of both sides as violence breaks out in an attempt to own the cure.

    While you can’t quite call this a true return to form for Lam, Sky On Fire is at least a decent throwback to his earlier and better regarded pictures. The film’s main flaw isn’t that it lacks in action or suspense – quite the contrary, really – but that it fails to make the viewers really connect with either side the way it should. As such, the picture isn’t as emotionally engaging as its admittedly interesting premise would lead you to believe. We don’t know the characters as well as we should and for that reason we don’t care about them as much as the movie asks us to during its occasional bouts of melodrama. Lam is to blame for the good and the bad here, as he both wrote and directed the picture.

    But hey, this is an action movie first and foremost, right? On that level, Sky On Fire is fairly successful. There are a few killer car chases and some genuinely hard-hitting fight scenes here. The cast all do fine work with the material they’ve been given the picture is nothing if not slick and stylish. There are some pacing issues in the scenes that bridge the action set pieces together and the ending is completely over the top but if you don’t need this to resonate on any sort of emotionally cerebral level, Sky On Fire is a pretty entertaining picture that can’t quite live up to its potential.


    Well Go USA presents Sky On Fire on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 2.35.1 widescreen. Shot digitally, obviously there are no problems with any print damage, dirt or debris nor is there any grain to discuss. As such, the image is pristine. Color reproduction is spot on and black levels are reference quality. Skin tones also look nice and natural here while detail and texture are typically very strong. There are no compression artifacts to note and all in all, this transfer shapes up very nicely indeed.

    The Chineselanguage DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix is also very strong. Though you’d think that this might be one of those tracks that beats you over the head with shoots outs and action sequences, and there are moments where this is the case, but at times the sound mix is more subtle than that. Yes, there are moments of intense surround activity but more often than that the film relies on a more subdued mix. There are stretches here without any action that are instead more dialogue and mood based – pay attention during this more restrained moments and you’ll pick up on some subtle but effective use of the surrounds which all goes towards building some welcome ambience and atmosphere in these scenes. There are no alternate language options but a Chinese language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix is also on the disc and optional English subtitles are available.

    Extras are slim, limited to a trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Sky On Fire doesn’t really see Ringo Lam reinventing the wheel but it does see the influential director offering up a solid action picture with a few stand out set pieces. If it doesn’t rank up with his more established classics, it is at least a genuinely entertaining picture. Well Go USA’s Blu-ray release is light on extras but there’s nothing to complain about in terms of the presentation – the movie looks and sounds great.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

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