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The Bravest

Opening Date
29 Aug 2019
PG13 Some intense sequences
90 mins
Mandarin - subtitles to be advised
Action, Thriller
Tony Chan
Huang Xiaoming, Du Jiang, Tan Zhuo, Yang Zi, Ou Hao
When an oil pipeline in Bingang’s harbor explodes, oil flowing through a gigantic Tank catches fire, igniting the tank and triggering unrelenting explosions, threatening the lives of millions in the city, the province, even neighboring countries. Yet as the people flee, fire engines rush into the flames…
By Yian Lu  29 Aug 2019
A rare attempt from China at an action-thriller, firefighting story, The Bravest is bound to bring tears to your face. But the storyline can do better with more details.
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The Bravest is an action thriller film which is based on a literature review of the 2010 Dalian oil spill incident. The story illustrates an explosive fire accident at an oil depot by the sea, starring Huang Xiaoming and Du Jiang as the captains of the firefighters. Despite citizens fleeing the area for fear of their own lives, the courageous souls march on forward, determined to put out the seemingly impossible fire.

The Good
The Bravest is China’s rare attempt at a firefighting story. It is said to be “the first Chinese movie that puts the spotlight on firefighters as a whole group,” according to Xinhuanet. True enough, the story does not have just one hero who saves the day. Instead, the movie shows that often in a disaster as dangerous and difficult as this, it is teamwork and the effort of many that help to overcome it. It is the very fact that everyone has a part to play in firefighting, be it putting out the fire, assessing the situation, giving out commands or ensuring water supply and resources.

As with most if not all disaster films, there are bound to be sacrifices. And with sacrifices, there will be tears. So yes, please remember to bring a pack of tissue with you. (Or more, for your neighbours.) The movie is packed with heart-breaking scenes that comes at you waves after waves. Even if you managed to hold your fort the first time, you will eventually break down.

The Bad
The storyline is choppy with a number of loopholes. For instance, the firemen were trapped in the raging fire and had to rely on someone who is outside of the fire to call for help. After they are out of the fire, the captain is seen with a handheld radio transceiver in his hand, reporting the status. So why couldn’t he use it in the first place to seek help? Also, more fire engines and even firefighting airplanes were seen making their way to the fire scene but they never arrived. There was only one pathetic helicopter releasing a measly amount of firefighting foam over the ever-expanding fire. And the best thing is the helicopter almost got thrown off path by an explosion before it even did anything to help.

Running at 90 minutes, The Bravest can do better on its story-telling, giving more details to help with the flow of the story, especially for the climax. What it seems to be now is a sudden and rather silly death and an abrupt ending. Even the other sacrifices are more tear-jerking than this so-called climax. While shutting off the valves from the other oil sources — which are linked to this main tank where the fire is at — does improve the situation, it still doesn’t explain why they can then extinguish the fire.

And The Summary
A rare attempt from China at an action-thriller, firefighting story, The Bravest is bound to bring tears to your face. But the storyline can do better with more details.
read less
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