For some reasons, I never really see Johnnie To as an action film director even though he could do and has done several and memorable action films these past two decades. It was never really the action that is the focus on his films: it is humanity. On what gangsters, policemen, politicians and the dead have in common.
Breaking News critiques what was now known as the power of media through the battle of wits between a band of bandits and an army of uniformed men. TV served as their battleground: setting conditions, rules, and even weapons. On how powerful public opinion is and why it is important to be gained. How simple TV Post-production and editing could mean the fall of one and the rise of another.
Such complex matter were treated by To with wit, grace and humor; like a dance: something that is quite rare on this generation being fed-up with pretensions of dark plots and "edgy" story telling. That scene when the gang leaders cooked lunch for themselves and their hostages, eating on the same table, followed by the lunch break of the policemen in the middle of an operation, is something funny and even warm, but never transitory. That lone comic scene was a very important turning point, setting the audience to give equal compassion on both warring sides.
Those blurred lines between the bad image of a crook and the goodness of humanity is what sets To apart from his counterparts, or even with any other commercial filmmaker known. I've been very open on my preference of his gangster films over the Godfather series for this lone reason. His films triumphs on making his audience indirectly participate on the story. On his films, I believe, the good always win, it's just that, we were always left to decide who's the good from the bad.