In my eyes, Andy Lau can do no wrong. So, Lau wants to put on a fat suit? I’m game. He wants to play an advertising guy who can secretly listen to what women want? Give him a Nobel prize. He wants to portray a calculative jerk who made use of Tony Leung’s identity as an undercover gangster to become the “good guy” in the end? Genius!
In his new movie Shock Wave, Lau plays JS Cheung, a bomb disposal expert who works with the Hong Kong Police Force. His character embodies the kind of guy that every other cop would kill to be by his side.
He is willing to take extreme measures just to protect everyone else and that includes putting his own life on the line. He even break things off with a lady friend (Carmen the school teacher played by Song Jia) to avoid causing her harrowing emotional pain that comes with his risky job.
Cheung is so black-and-white and righteous that I rolled my eyes at one point when he attributed his life-saving skill to a higher power. Then I remembered it’s Andy Lau so … my bad. He gets to say whatever he wants.
The ying to Cheung’s yang is Peng Hong or Blast (Jiang Wu), a bank robber-turn-mass murderer who is out for revenge. Many years ago, Cheung worked undercover and put away Peng Hong’s brother for bank robbery.
So, Peng Hong puts his bomb-making skill to use by setting up 1,000kg of C4 explosives in a massive highway tunnel and holds hundreds of hostages for his brother’s release. Oh, and he also wants Cheung to die.
Shock Wave itself takes no prisoners when it comes to delivering a high-octane action sequences. Expect plenty of car chase scenes with ear-deafening noises. Look out for all the nerve-racking bomb disposal scenes.
If you think it’s the usual red wire-green wire scenario or the Joker asking someone to make a choice between a ferry full of criminals or innocent people, think again because Shock Wave brings a whole new level of tension.
There is a bomb under a car, a pressure cooker bomb, a poor guy having to wear a bomb suit in one emotional scene and then there’s Cheung finding Carmen tied up in a car boot with a grenade in her hands. Now I know what Bruno Mars was singing about when he did that one song about catching grenades for a lover.
Will Cheung be able to put out these explosives or will he go out in a bang? Forget I said that.
There is a sense of intrigue to keep viewers wondering as to what really triggered Peng Hong’s hostage situation in the tunnel. In short, Shock Wave is an exciting, adrenaline rush of a movie with so much going on to keep your eyes glued to the screen.
However, there are some jarring moments such as questionable decision-making on the part of the Hong Kong Police Force. Let’s just say, they could get things going faster and better in their bid to rescue the hostages.
I wish there was more character development on Peng Hong’s side because I can’t tell if he’s motivated by money or the love for his brother. Then again, some men just want to see the world burn.
I guess Shock Wave doesn’t care for its villains. We get reminded so often about terrible people in the real world that for once, it just wants to highlight the sacrifices and heroic deeds of ordinary people.
In a world wihout superheroes, Shock Wave shows how everyday people such as a tour guide, a taxi driver and retirees can save lives in time of need.
Director: Herman Yau
Cast: Andy Lau, Jiang Wu, Song Jia, Philip Keung, Ron Ng, Babyjohn Choi Hon-yik