Shock Wave Tunnel REVIEW: A familiar but entertaining action film

Shock Wave Tunnel REVIEW: A familiar but entertaining action film

0 comments 📅28 November 2017, 09:09

Director: Herman Yau
 Out Now
From: Cine Asia
Format: DVD, Download and On Demand
Age Rating: 15

When bomb-disposal expert JS Cheng (Andy Lau) goes undercover to apprehend the explosive-loving criminal Kai-pang (aka Blast, Jiang Wu), he is willing to do anything except hurt his brothers in blue. So, during a bank heist he can’t help but turn on Blast and his men when the pressure is on and lives are at risk. Blast gets away, vowing that he’ll have his revenge on Cheng, and so we are brought to present day in Herman Yau’s Shock Wave Tunnel.

In Hong Kong the Cross-Harbour tunnel snakes its way into the city underwater, it’s a colossus highway which is used by thousands of people every day. This makes it a great setting for Blast’s revenge in the second half of the film. It’s during this hostage situation that the film is finally able to pick up the pace, as it pits the two characters together but also uses the claustrophobic surroundings to create tension. It’s a shame how long it takes to get to this point then, as a slow-burning introduction does nothing but puff up the plot with filler for filler’s sake.

That being said, the film does deliver some intense sequences, especially when Cheng finds himself up against the wire with a complicated bomb to disarm in a short amount of time. It doesn’t quite feel as high-stakes as, say, The Hurt Locker, but it works all the same. In one heart-pounding scene Cheng goes up against an old war-bomb that was uncovered at a construction site. Yau approaches these scenes well, and is easily able to up the ante when the narrative calls for it later on.

Shock wave tunnel certainly has its moments, glimmers of a great story hidden beneath a familiar action thriller. A scene where Cheng tries to help a young policeman who has a bomb strapped to his chest is particularly arresting, thanks mainly to the actors. It’s an intensely tough moment to witness but Andy Lau and Babyjohn Choi work well together to create a distinct bond between their characters in a relatively short amount of time.

Scenes like this are few and far between, though, and what we end up with instead is a booming blockbuster with lots of action and very little else that we haven’t seen already. The final showdown between Cheng and Blast is entertaining purely because of how ridiculous it is, and at the film’s climax there’s an action scene that would make even Michael Bay jealous. So, with that in mind, maybe it’s better if you don’t take this film too seriously, otherwise you’re bound to be a little disappointed.

Written by Roxy Simons

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