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Movie Review: Helios

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Amongst the huge anticipation for Hong Kong’s Blockbuster of the year.. HELIOS was finally screened in Singapore last Thursday – 30th April
Pardon my delayed review and I hope many of you who have yet to catch this, will make your movie selection to be Helios this weekend

I mentioned “this weekend” because I would really suggest you to watch on a relaxing weekend where you would have been more well rested than a usual working day
The movie requires a fool proof drainage system for your brain cells

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An extremely witty plot keeps your mind alive through the 2 hours screen time
I was honestly exhausted after the special preview on a Tuesday evening
The conversations were brainy and it requires some second guessing on your own part

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In Helios, top Asian law enforcement personnel gather in Hong Kong to track down the nuclear device stolen by a most-wanted criminal called Helios.
Turned into the most dangerous city overnight, Hong Kong is on the verge of exploding.

A star-studded cast from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea—including Jacky Cheung, Nick Cheung, Zhang Zhen, Wang Xueqi, Ji Jin-hee and Choi Siwon
— assemble for a battle of acting skills, topped off with swooping performances by up-and-coming actresses Janice Man, Feng Wenjuan and Yoon Ji Ni.

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As with every criminal movies, we definitely have a spectrum of the good and bad guys
This round, the bad guys are totally worth watching

The Good Guys …

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The Hong Kong Police Force has inspired an array dramatic plots for decades in the Hong Kong Entertainment Industry
I grew up watching police stories from TVB with my dad
Typically, the spirit of the Police Force resisted the age of time and remained supremely upright

With Jacky Cheung, Nick Cheung and Shawn Yue on the good team
Supporting them from the Korean side, we have heart throbs Choi SiWon and Ji Jin-Hee
What a spectacular scene!

The Villains ….

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Zhang Zhen and Janice Man tag team to form the most vicious fighters ever
Slim figure Janice Man went through vigorous training to knock down anyone in her way
As if that wasn’t bad enough, she was ruthless as well

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This fight scene with Nick Cheung was more than impressive!

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The Twist

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That’s about all I can tell you since we are discouraged from announcing the major twist of the movie
I was too busy analyzing certain conversations that I have absolutely neglected the surprise twist that caught me towards the end
I would definitely say there’s more than one twist and we can be expecting more goodness from the movie makers!

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About Their Roles….

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Jacky Cheung

“I play a physics professor who at first glance doesn’t seem to be central to the story, but he actually plays a key role. It’s the first time I play a professor, and I spent a lot of time exploring his psychological and emotional journey.”

“After I received the script, the first thing I did was talk to Kenneth Yee Chung-man about creating the character’s look. The directors provided references, and when we showed our completed look, people asked if the beard was a fake. They were all impressed when I said I had grown them for the character. When they said it looked the part, I knew I had the perfect look.”

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Nick Cheung

“Lee is a senior police officer still waiting for his big break, despite having been in the force for years. He has this indignant attitude, which makes him extra ferocious in handling crises like that in the movie, to make up for feeling unacknowledged at work.”

“It’s very rare when two directors come together—artistic creation is often a very totalitarian work, as it’s tough resolving differences among individuals. Fortunately, the directors share the same vision and elevate each other’s work. The occasional disputes always get us a better solution.”

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Shawn Yue

“The script is intriguing in that the directors are able to connect a singular incident to so many regions. When characters from different places are tasked with handling the same incident, it showcases their different cultures in naked honesty. It’s a mirror of humanity.”

“This is my first collaboration with Longman Leung and Sunny Luk as directors. They have worked in different capacities in the industry, so there’s no questioning their experience. Precisely because of their experience, the shooting was smooth and they knew what to do to achieve the desired effect.”

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Janice Man

“The action scenes are the most memorable, most of which gun fighting and hand combat sequences. Other than attending the training provided by the company, I also did a lot of running and boxing to tone up. It’s not only for the character, it’s as if I myself am a transformed person.”

“The character is fierce and cruel—the opposite of what I’m like. I’m not saying that I’m weak, but playing a cold-hearted person is tricky. I had to brainwash myself with assassin movies, telling myself, ‘I’m not JM. I’m a killer.’ I felt a bit of pressure when the directors urged me to be more vicious, but when I saw the finished product, the satisfaction felt better than anything else.”

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Zhang Zhen

“My character has multiple personalities and disguises, like a musician and a Japanese. He is an impenetrable character—you don’t know where he comes from and what he does. He appears reserved and employs many deliberate body gestures—a very enigmatic character. In the past, I don’t usually get to try out so many different looks in a single movie. There were also plenty of action sequences, with a lot of shootout scenes, which I think is great fun and challenging. In one scene, I had to drive a motorcycle on high speed in Tsim Sha Tsui. It was very exciting.”

“I’m always surprised by them. For example, in a scene at a sewage processing plant, we wore gas masks and biochemical protective suits, which gave the scene a distinct sci-fi vibe. One time, we were shooting in a greyhound racing venue in Macau. I was restrained by two bodyguards, but the directors made the shot look like a fashion magazine spread. That really helped me get into character.”

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Ji Jin-Hee

“In the past, I was usually cast as the gentle, caring man, but my character this time is tough, which fits my past impression of Hong Kong movies. This second collaboration with Jacky Cheung was filled with surprises, and I look forward to working together with such brilliant actors again.”

“I had once thought that there would be no more serious Hong Kong-style criminal thrillers, but the directors’ previous film Cold War is exactly that, harking back to Hong Kong movies’ golden era. Helios not only gathers actors from across the regions, the story holds you captive from the get go. I am very excited.”

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Choi Siwon

“The shooting was very fun, because of Jacky Cheung, who made shooting seem like a musical concert every day. I really look forward to Helios.”

Official Trailer & The Making of Helios

Playlist of a collection of the Making of the movie

Cast

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Jacky Cheung
Nick Cheung
Shawn Yue
Janice Man
Ji Jin-hee
Choi Siwon
Wang Xueqi
Zhang Zhen

Directed by

Longman Leung and Sunny Luk

Movie Synopsis

Helios, a most wanted criminal in the global radar, has stolen the South Korean military’s latest mass destruction weapon: a handheld nuclear device DC8 and 16 uranium spheres. An underground trading of the stolen weapon is due to take place in Hong Kong. Chinese envoy Song An, Hong Kong’s Counter Terrorism Response Unit Chief Inspector Lee Yin-ming and South Korean weapon expert Choi Min Ho are all gathered in Hong Kong on a mission to recover the weapon. Physics professor Siu Chi-yan joins the team as consultant. Beneath the shared goal of recovering the weapon, the three regions’ representatives are all armed with hidden agendas. Choi not only has to capture Helios and recover the weapon but needs to prevent the leaking of national classified information. Song has China’s interests in mind. And on top of resolving the unit’s biggest crisis since its conception, Lee and Siu have to grapple with the tension between the two countries. Although the Hong Kong police manage to capture Helios’s assistant and recover the weapon, a diplomatic dispute between China and South Korea on who owns the confiscated nuclear device is unleashed. Meanwhile, Helios pops up in Macau, determined to reclaim the weapon and avenge his earlier defeat. In the final showdown, no one is safe from the danger and conspiracies that lurk underneath.

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