Shock Wave Movie Review

The narrative of Shock Wave is simple, which is the good cop versus the bad terrorist and the hostages that stuck in between. The clear cut of what’s right and what’s wrong is given from the beginning. So, it is easier for the viewer to choose the side on who to root for.

A salute must be given to Andy Lau. Though he is pushing 57 and just recovered from horse-riding injuries, he is still as suave and believable as ever. He does his job quite well in the movie. Jiang Wu also delivers as a neurotic villain with a touch of sadism.

Some supporting characters make the story interesting while some just blew it. There are plenty of familiar faces that are given the roles without any opportunity to further develop their characters.

Even Song Jia’s performance though her character is kidnapped and faces a quite amount of danger is pale in comparison. Perhaps the director (Herman Yau) wants the attention to focus entirely towards Andy Lau and Jiang Wu characters.

However, some manage to steal the show. (Babyjohn Choi) as a rookie inspector named Wong Tin Lok, for example, will cause a lot of men to shed their manly tears. With only a few lines and very limited screen-time, he outshines other the veteran actors in Shock Wave.

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Herman Yau is brilliant for utilizing the set that is familiar to every Hong Kongites which is the underground sea tunnel. Hong Kong is an Island that is connected to mainland China through its three underground sea tunnels. Water-traversing infrastructure can invoke a sense of paranoia.

The claustrophobic induced environment won’t make things any better. No matter how safe and secure the tunnel is, most of us will start praying for a safe journey when we reach the entrance to get to the other side. Imagine being held hostage inside the undersea tunnel with bombs rigged in every nook and corner of the place. The horror is enough to make someone pees their pants.

Shock Wave shares a bit similarity with the movie Die Hard and The Taking of Pelham. But unlike the super strong, immortal and Bulky Mc Lane who always win a fight, Superintendent Cheung is humble, thin and not so immortal.

Those qualities are much preferable to Asian in general, a hero is a human being with limitation who do everything he possibly can to make things right. The plot twist is expected, with an attempt as big as blowing up the tunnel, revenge is just not strong enough as a factor to cause such destruction. It is merely a distraction to cover up something bigger that is happening in the background.

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Shock Wave also gives exposure to the lesser known division of the Hong Kong Police Force, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau (EOD). There are several insightful scenes where the viewers can learn about the different type of explosion devices such as grenades, bombs, another type of explosives. The viewers also got to see the process of disarming the prewar bomb. It is great to highlight the function of this division in the arm forces.

Despite all the explosions, high-octane thrills and high body count, be prepared to throw some logic out of the window. How on earth can the villains acquire a huge number of explosives that are enough to blow the entire tunnel without being detected?

How do they communicate with each other to cook up something this big? Especially when it takes place in China where everyone knows is quite restrictive when it comes to their security. They can block Facebook easily and yet they cannot detect something this big?

Shock Wave tries to pay tribute to Hong Kong Police Officers and yet at the same time, it makes them look weak and totally unprepared. Though he is an expert in his field, he doesn’t always manage to disarm the bombs which leads to some casualties that are heartbreaking to watch.

His struggle racing against time when disarming the bomb is enough to make you feel restless and agitated. You will feel a relief every time he manages to pull it off and start having a mental fit when he fails to disarm the bomb.

It is also interesting to note that Herman Yau sneakily included a scene where rows of police coffins of fallen officers who lost their lives to the tragedy are draped with the SAR’s bauhinia flag instead of China’s flag. It is perhaps symbolizing that these heroes died as Hong Kong warriors.

Despite having the SAR status, Hong Kong movie industry is affected by some China strict regulations and Herman Yau is also known for his loud critic to certain restrictions and regulation imposed by China government when it comes to how the movie should be portrayed.

To sum it all up, Shock Wave is an action-packed movie with a clear-cut narrative. The villain is a nasty psychopath. There is plenty of violence, explosion, and death everywhere. It has flaws but no too noticeable. Some hit and miss but still satisfying to watch. Just don’t have a high expectation that there will be rainbow and sunshine at the end of the movie. You won’t find those in Shock Wave.

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    When explosive attacks begin breaking out across the city, a shocking hostage situation unfolds within one of the world’s busiest tunnels. Only Cheung, the most respected member of the EOD unit, has the skills needed to end this threat.