With an ensemble cast from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Korea, Helios was the only crime-themed action movie released during the May Day holiday. Buoyed by its handsome cast, the film took in 300 million yuan at the box office.
The story begins with Kam To-nin (Chang Chen) and his assistant Cheung Yi-kwan (Janice Man) stealing a weapon of mass destruction and 16 uranium spheres from a South Korean military factory.
Song An (Wang Xueqi), a senior official from the mainland, and his assistant Yuan Xiaowen (Feng Wenjuan) team up with Lee Yin-ming (Nick Cheung), chief inspector of Hong Kong’s Counter Terrorism Response Unit, Siu Chi-yan (Jacky Cheung), a physics professor at the University of Hong Kong, and Park Woo-cheol (Choi Siwon), South Korean special agent, to recover the most powerful weapon ever made in Asia.
An adrenaline-packed thriller that brings together China’s Hong Kong and mainland police, Korean special agents and professional thieves should have been an amazing movie – especially given it was shot in 3D.
Nevertheless, the jumbled story and messed up scenes managed to kill what could have been the action movie of the year.
Viewers complained that the film tried to make everyone seem like a traitor but only ended up leaving them confused and clueless.
Lok Man Leung and Sunny Luk, the directors, took the brunt of the blame. In spite of big ideas and impressive shots, the movie had an impossibly simple story. Most of the scenes failed to convey any sense of tension or danger.
The most disappointing thing was the ending, which was nothing more than a message that “The battle has just begun.” The most cynical critics compared the ending to having paid money to watch a trailer.
Critics compared Helios to the film Cold War, which was also directed by Lok Man Leung and Sunny Luk. Cold War was criticized for failing to clear up its mysterious story, and Helios failed in the same way.
Both films tried to imitate I Want to Be You , the last breakout hit in 2002 made in Hong Kong. After a string of lackluster action films, many have started to suspect the era of Hong Kong film is fading away.
While the handsome actors may have won Helios a 6.0 ranking on Douban.com, it’s unlikely the film will stay relevant – except as a yardstick to measure Leung and Luk’s next failed collaboration.