If TIFF only shows one film from Hong Kong, chances are it will be a Milkyway Image production. Directed by Soi Cheang Pou-Soi (who also directed Accident, which showed at TIFF two years ago), the film stars and reunites Internal Affairs II co-stars, Shawn Yue Man-Lok (Love in the Buff, Younger Tony Leung in Infernal Affairs) and Anthony Wong Chau-Sang (award-winning actor, The Untold Story) as two police officers responsible for apprehending speeders on the streets of Hong Kong.
The story is not ground-breaking but I don’t really expect it to be from a Milkyway from unless the writer is Wai Ka-Fai. But that’s fine as Motorway is a top-notch genre picture that’s reminiscent of the work that used to populate Hong Kong cinemas. The characters are archetypical – the youngster with a need for speed, the retiring cop trying to slow things down – but that doesn’t hinder the enjoyment factor as they are played by Anthony Wong and Shawn Yue who share strong chemistry as mentor and rookie. Wong tends to take two approaches to his roles, underplaying or going over the top and in this instance, he tones it down appropriately, revealing layers to his character that is eventually revealed in the plot but can be seen early on, even if it wasn’t on paper.
Soi Cheang Pou-Soi is pretty entertaining during his Q&A and it was refreshing to hear him talk about his process in choosing actors in that he actually chose actors based on the parts and not have the parts tailored for the actor which is what happens in Hong Kong a lot nowadays. It’s fun to see Soi Cheang’s take on a Johnnie To staple and he reveals he took on this project as a refresher for some of his grittier works like Accident and Dog Bite Dog.
Motorway plays this Friday, September 14 at 12:30 PM and Sunday, September 16, 6:30 PM in in Scotiabank.