Int’l Critics Line: Anna Smith On Andy Lau Action Pic ‘Shock Wave 2’

Picture the scene: Hong Kong International Airport is trying a mass evacuation when a high-speed prepare filled with missiles crashes right into a terminal. Shown in gradual movement, a nuclear explosion rips via the airport and blows it sky excessive right into a mushroom cloud. 


From the beginning of Shock Wave 2, this Hong Kong-Chinese blockbuster’s message is evident: the stakes are excessive and the explosions will probably be huge. It’s quickly evident that the story may also be difficult, as a voiceover introduces an alternate narrative, and flashes again to the sooner profession of its protagonist: bomb disposal professional Poon Shing Fung (Infernal Affairs’ Andy Lau). What begins as a catastrophe film turns into a catastrophe prevention film.

Co-written and directed by Shock Wave’s Herman Yau, the follow-up is already successful in China, topping RMB 1B ($155M) immediately to greater than double the 2017 authentic (it’s also presently in cinemas within the U.S., Australia and New Zealand). Yet, whereas the film could also be set within the bomb disposal world, it is a sequel in identify solely. Also returning as producer, Lau performs a completely new character. A sequence of tense scenes inform us that he’s big-hearted and good at his job — he’s even form to cats. But his morale is challenged when he loses most of his leg in an explosion, and later falls right into a coma. Waking to find that he is suspected of terrorism by his former police colleagues, he is additionally amnesic and turns to his ex-girlfriend, Poon Ling (Ni Ni), to assist fill within the blanks. But it is no straightforward process, and terrorists proceed to focus on Hong Kong landmarks.

Drawing from movies as numerous as Armageddon and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, the formidable script tackles themes together with loyalty, sacrifice, consistency and reminiscence. One plot line veers in the direction of fantastical science fiction, nevertheless it’s introduced totally critically. It’s an overwrought idea, conspicuously patched up by flashbacks and expositional dialogue.

While suggesting that Poon Shing Fung is unfairly demoted after his accident, the script appears torn between arguing for incapacity rights and moralizing about obeying the authorities. There’s additionally the problem of a non-disabled actor portraying a personality who acquires a incapacity. Lau was Goodwill Ambassador for the 2008 Paralympics, however his casting — or maybe relatively his character’s story arc — invitations controversy as the controversy about disabled roles rages on.

Lau has been known as Asia’s Tom Cruise, and it is easy to see why. He’s a likable presence and a long-term field workplace attract slick, big-budget motion thrillers. Also, he typically stars reverse a lot youthful ladies. At least Ni Ni, 27 years his junior, is cast as greater than the love curiosity, finally changing into chief inspector of the Counter Terrorism Response Unit. But their romance, principally conveyed throughout a sentimental montage set to a saccharine rating, is perfunctory at greatest.

The motion is the actual star right here. While some potential stress is undermined by the opening reveal, there are many spectacular set items alongside the way in which. Visual results are often employed and are persuasive sufficient to create a way of spectacle and drama. Each bomb disposal scene comes with its personal creative twist, both stunning or darkly humorous sufficient to make you exclaim out loud — you possibly can see why this has performed effectively in theaters. Even outdoors of perilous conditions, visible curiosity is essential: two characters focus on a plan whereas skydiving, for no obvious motive. 

For all its plot confusion, Shock Wave 2 delivers two key parts that it guarantees: escapism and explosions.



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