The nominations for the 32nd Annual Hong Kong Film Awards ( HK’s Oscars) were just announced 10 days ago on February 6th. Up for Best Director and Best Film are Soi Cheang for his action thriller Motorway.
Released back in July, I just got the DVD recently. I wouldn’t exactly call it a full on action thriller because most of the action is restricted to automobile chases rather than explosions and gunfire. That means we are long on screaming tires, burnt rubber left on the streets, and dashboard gauges edging into the red zones, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t exciting.
We start with two cops – basically they’re uniformed traffic cops with a bit more than just that going for them. Of course one is a veteran cop and one is a hot shot younger cop. Sort of like Robert Duvall and Sean Penn in Colors. While these guys are watching for speeders they are often called in by the Major Crimes Unit to assist with roadblocks, chases, and surveillance. In fact they are called The Invisible Squad because they drive unmarked cars. While Shawn Yue won’t remind you of Ryan Gosling in Drive in general, meaning as an actor or a character, but when he gets behind the wheel – he will. One other plus is that we won’t see a smarter-than-you-ever-thought-possible detective throughout the entire film. On the other hand, this being about cops, we do get the impatient bosses otherwise known as captains.
Anthony Wong and the aforementioned Shawn Yue are the leads. Of course, Wong plays the nearing retirement Officer Lo. He’s been on the force a long time and he and his wife, played by Michelle Ye, are looking forward to his retirement so they can head out to the beach in Langkawi in Malaysia, or take in some art at The Louvre in Paris. He’s seen it all, done it all, and is at the emotional core of the film. He’d be happy to teach his young partner the ropes – but only if he’s asked. But Yue’s Cheung goes in for silent brooding rather than the acquisition of knowledge.
Yue plays Cheung as a hot-headed younger cop who has trouble following orders, is basically uncoachable, and he thinks he’s God’s gift to women.