Cinema to get shot in the arm with new crime thriller

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By XU­FAN xu­fan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Anewcrime thriller prom­ises to res­ur­rect the golden years ofHong Kong cinema with a stel­lar cast of stars from Asia.

Hei­los, set to be re­leased on Thurs­day, sur­rounds the story of an in­ter­na­tion­ally wanted fugi­tive only known as Hei­los, who makes nu­clear weapons to spark a cri­sis in Asia. Hei­los is chased by mil­i­tary elites from China and South Korea.

Film crit­ics say the film is a Chi­nese take on the 2008 US ac­tion movie 24: Re­demp­tion. Hei­los is based on a sim­i­lar anti-ter­ror­ism theme.

The fea­ture-length film is co-di­rected by Hong Kong film­mak­ers Lok Man Le­ung and Kim-ching Luk, who shot to fame three years ago for their di­rec­to­rial de­but,

The 2012 po­lice thriller, de­pict­ing a mys­te­ri­ous hi­jack­ing case, was se­lected as the open­ing film to kick off the 2012 Bu­san In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val in South Korea. It also pickedup­nine prizes at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2013.

Re­garded by crit­ics “up­dated” ver­sion of star­ring top ac­tors Aaron Kwok and Tony Le­ung Ka Fai, Hei­los has dou­bled its bud­get to 200 mil­lion yuan ($32.22 mil­lion) and has a big­ger cast, with eight A-list stars fromHong Kong, Tai­wan, the Chi­nese main­land and South Korea.

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One­high­light of the cast is Jacky Che­ung, the Hong Kong singer and ac­tor who has made rare ap­pear­ances in the past 20 years, do­ing only one film ev­ery five years.

“The big­gest at­trac­tion formeto take onthe movie is the im­pres­sive script and the rep­u­ta­tion of the two di­rec­tors. They are well pre­pared for all the sce­nar­ios and have a clear and ac­cu­rate han­dling of the cor­rect rhythm,” says Che­ung, who plays a physics pro­fes­sor.

The other big names in­clude award-win­ning ac­tor Nick Che­ung, Tai­wan vet­eran ac­tor Chang Chen, Hong Kong ac­tor Shawn Yue, Chi­nese ac­tor Wang Xueqi, and South Korean ac­tors Ji Jin­Hee and Choi Si­won.

Chen says the film re­quired him to train to be­come a gun ex­pert.

Crit­ics say the film may help re­vi­tal­ize the strug­gling Hong Kong movie in­dus­try.

“Hong Kong movies are not dy­ing, but sleep­ing,” direc­tor Le­ung has pre­vi­ously told re­porters.

He says most Hong Kong film­mak­ers have limited bud­gets and tight sched­ules and have to make smaller films, lim­it­ing their abil­ity to shoot big ac­tion sce­nar­ios.

When Hong Kong di­rec­tors have a chance to make big-bud­get movies, such asHei­los, they should take the op­por­tu­nity very se­ri­ously and spend more time pol­ish­ing the script, says the direc­tor.

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