‘Explosion’: Film Review | Shanghai 2017

Rising Chinese star Duan Yi-hong plays an consultant cave blaster on a run with his partner Yu Nan in Chang Zheng’s thriller, that sealed a Shanghai Film Festival.

Who doesn’t suffer a huge, stirring blast on film in all a CGI glory? The bigger a flame and a larger a destruction, a better. So what about a story of an detrimental cave consultant who, by no error of his own, is forced to run around a towns and plateau of northern China make-up a tiny arsenal of homemade bombs that would make James Bond immature with envy, while he tries to stay one step forward of a cops and killers on his trail?

That’s a familiar grounds behind Explosion, a sophomore directing bid of Chang Zheng, whose prior underline credit is a dim family comedy Ma Wen’s Battle. More thriller than actioner, and shabby by stylish art cinema some-more than Hollywood, it starts off with utterly a bang. In a claustrophobic guts of a mine, a blast goes wrong and sends a fiery fireball racing by a missile in a brief yet effective disaster stage that leaves 4 workmen passed and a assembly inspired for more.

Duan Yi-hong (Drifters, The Dead End), who is receiving a Star Asia Award this week during a New York Asian Film Festival, is dirty and glammed down as gifted blast technician Zhou Yu-dong. He’s dumbfounded and harmed by a explosion, yet instead of rushing him to a nearest hospital, his gangster-boss Li Yi knocks him down for screwing up, afterwards throws hush income during him. The 4 victims, who are seen usually from their burnt feet, are fast buried.

Zhou is too consultant not to smell a rat. Exiled from a mine, he moodily hangs around a internal eatery run by his eye-catching partner (the glorious Yu Nan from The Expendables 2) until he creates adult his mind to examine what unequivocally happened. In a suspenseful yet picturesque scene, a lab techie during a cave spills a dump of recovered explosve on his shoe, and he and Zhou are frightened to watch it smoking a approach by a leather. Ever so carefully, they lift it outside, where it explodes. A few scenes later, a whole mining domicile disintegrates in a gratifying blast.

As a physique count grows, a military pierce in and concentration on Zhou as their primary suspect. He doesn’t open his mouth to absolve himself with a good patrolman heading a investigation, preferring to take a some-more advantageous march of flight. (The discourse mentions that a same patrolman sent him to jail “last time.”)

Just as Duan plays a blaster with brooding, tight-lipped realism rather than required heroics, a screenplay by Chang and Li Meng toys with something coming amicable realism. Overhead shots of waste landscapes, moodily photographed in a sleet and sand by cinematographer Chan Chor-keung, are dotted with mill Buddhas forged into a mountainside. The atmosphere, in short, leads one to trust something critical is during interest behind a gunpowder.

Or is it? Yu Nan’s required purpose as a flattering lady in a story bodes no good. Things get out of palm and implicitly treacherous when Zhou, on a run from a cops, starts environment off tiny explosives in a swarming marketplace to confuse his pursuers — blasts in that people apparently get hurt. 

New to Chinese films is a border to that a categorical impression is decorated as an antihero; yet his predicament evokes sympathy, he’s clearly peaceful to mistreat trusting bystanders to keep out of a hands of a military and a cruel torpedo dogging his tracks. While, for example, a inebriated investigator in Black Coal, Thin Ice still hold on to his beliefs and query for a law even after being dangling from a military force, this protagonist seems encouraged usually by a clever presence instinct for himself and his profound girlfriend.

The tragedy starts evaporating with a introduction of a new villain, a polished enlightenment maven who hovers over his terminally ill brother, dabbing kindly during his forehead, and performs tea ceremonies for his guests. As realism flies out a window, so does a writers’ invention. The prolonged shutting method is a vital letdown, shot like a arrange of explosve quarrel during a O.K. Corral. The film ends on a testy note of censure from Zhou to his policeman-nemesis, so out of place it got an random giggle from a Shanghai audience.

Of note is a glorious complicated soundtrack by Zhang Yi-lin, that experiments with epitome rhythmic sounds in place of song to siphon adult a suspense.

Production companies: Beijing Ferry Pictures, Beijing Light King Pictures
Cast: Duan Yi-hong, Yu Nan, Wang Jing-chun, Cheng Tai-shen
Director: Chang Zheng
Screenwriters: Chang Zheng, Li Meng
Producer: Xia Wei-zheng
Executive producer: Zhang Dai-jun
Director of photography: Chan Chor-keung
Production designer: Liu Wei-xin
Music: Zhang Yi-lin

Editors: Zhu Li-yun, Tu Yi-ran
Venue: Shanghai Film Festival (closing film)

Sales: Huayi Brothers

100 minutes