Beijing in the 1990s is a city where the urge for modernity and innovation is bringing about great and rapid changes. Lost among impressive skyscrapers and desolate blocks of flats, there is a police station manned by officers who have trouble keeping up with the pace of progress.
Community policeman Yang Guoli works long hours, which causes a lot of stress for his family. When a drunk is bitten by a rabid dog, the authorities decide to instigate a big clean-up campaign. So the cops' workload gets even bigger.
This comic ensemble film is the second part of Ning's Beijing Trilogy, which analyses developments in the Chinese capital. All the actors are non-professionals - in fact, the cops are real Chinese community police officers. in terms of his themes, director Ning can be seen as one of the Sixth Generation of filmmakers, which includes Jia Zhangke. With On the Beat, she expands her horizon by portraying a traditional community that is being threatened on all sides by modernity.