Thursday 19 July 2012

Motorway (2012) Movie Review!!!

Tired of CGI laden blockbusters?? Then this movie is definitely for you! Read on to find out why.

When you see the Milkyway Images logo at the beginning of a Hong Kong movie, for fans, that usually signifies something special.  Founded by the superbly talented director Johnnie To and fellow filmmaker Wai Ka-Fai in 1996, they have enough of a pedigree to get most film fans excited.  With big titles under their belt such as Exiled, Breaking News, Election, Running Out of Time, Mad Detective and even rom-coms Love on a Diet and Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, it’s easy to see why.

Motorway is the latest offering from the production house and I’m happy to say that it should keep fans and non-fans happy alike until their next offering. 

Though there are always exceptions to every rule, I personally think that if a Hong Kong movie has either Anthony Wong or Lau Ching-Wan starring in it then chances are it will be pretty good.

Anthony Wong this time comes to us as a veteran highway cop with days left to retirement along side rookie hot head partner Shawn Yue.  When a prison in-mate is broken out of jail right from under the nose of the Hong Kong police force with a few policemen fatalities, the chase is quite literally on and what an enjoyable ride it is.

There’s only so much you can do to make a car-racing movie exciting.  It’s all been pretty much done and seen before.  Previously we had out-and-out racing.  Then with movies like The Legend of Speed and The Fast & The Furious we were introduced to cars super-charged with NOS.  Then when we were bored with that we were given drift racing.  What could they possibly offer us next I imagine you wondering?  Well that’s where this movie excels and bravo to the Hong Kong film industry for being innovative.  I’ve no doubt we’ll be seeing the car moves from this in a US movie soon.  Several times in the movie the criminals employ a unique technique when driving to make their get-away, a move that leaves Shawn baffled.  Shawn, who fancies himself as a bit of a racer, just can’t get over how the criminals escaped from him but discovers that one of his police colleagues may in fact know the secret to the move and know more about driving than they first let on.

Under some expert tutelage and following some dramatic events, Shawn learns to put his angst aside and become the policeman he needs to be to stop these criminals.

I would have preferred the filmmakers to have taken a less obvious route and perhaps to have allowed Anthony to have been the main lead in this.  So many times we’ve seen the young hot head in movies rise up to the challenge and become the hero, it would have been refreshing instead to have seen the young hot head failing and, as a surprise twist, the older and wiser veteran, Anthony rising up to the challenge and taking down the criminals. 

The plot may be formulaic and predictable but the execution, direction and pacing make for a thoroughly enjoyable movie experience.  The tension builds and seeing Shawn become the man we want him to be, no matter how predictable, is a joy to watch.

This is true film making skill.  There is no fancy CGI or aliens and demons.  The story is driven by characters and tension coupled with some really excellent driving scenes.  Anyone looking for a summer movie that doesn’t center around super heroes should definitely check this out.  You won’t be disappointed.

Rating 4/5


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