Rating: 3 stars
The Stars: Anthony Wong, Shawn Yue, Guo Xiaodong
The Story: A rookie cop (Shawn Yue) takes on a veteran escape driver in a death defying final showdown on the motorway.
The Buzz: Directed by Soi Cheang, this HK film aims for ‘Fast and the Furious’-like thrills.
insing.com says: With a few great set pieces and a story that’s as flat as week-old road-kill, ‘Motorway’ is often slick but could use more in the story department.
Anthony Wong plays mentor to his partner, the moody and reckless Sean (Yue). Turns out Lo, (Wong), used to be a driving prodigy until an encounter with a getaway car driver, Jensen (Guo Xiaodong), who’s just resurfaced to break his friend out of prison.
Turns out Jensen has some serious driving skills, and has a special move to get a car out of an enclosed space, which would be nifty in some of the tighter parking spots around this island.
Lo, like some ancient martial arts exponent, tries to impart into Sean the proper technique to execute this extreme manoeuvre, while also dispensing some Yoda-like advice about driving, in a scene that comes close to parody.
A second showdown with the criminal has fatal consequences, and if you can’t guess what happens to Wong’s ready-for-retirement cop, you probably haven’t watched many movies. By the end of the film, it’s up to an increasingly sulky Sean to take down Jensen, by mastering the special technique.
There’s not that much car chases, and those scenes have so few establishing shots and so little actual speed it’s hard to get much as much excitement as in the ‘Fast and Furious’ films. That said, the set pieces which are set in dimly lit areas, such as a forbidding mountain pass and a car park, where the cars stalk each other, are where the movie at least can boast some originality.
Josie Ho and Barbie Hsu have one-note throwaway roles in the film, and Wong clearly out-acts the two-dimensional Yue. Motorway is neither fast nor furious, but does provide some suspenseful scenes. It never really gets into full throttle, keeping mostly within the lines.