07th Mar2014

‘Motorway’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Shawn Yue, Xiaodong Guo, Barbie Hsu, Josie Ho | Written by Joey O’Bryan, Kam-Yuen Szeto | Directed by Pou-Soi Cheang


I don’t know what it is about cars in movies but they can be very entertaining.  Be it The Fast and The Furious in its various forms, Driver or even The Italian Job the non-stop action of high-speed racing and chases has always been popular.  Motorway (aka Che Sau) is a film that taps into this popularity and comfortably sites between Fast and Furious and Driver as a understatedly cool “cops and robbers” film that brings some brains to the car chase sub-genre.

When an overconfident rookie is confronted by a getaway driver who appears to be able to do impossible turns through the use of a unique drifting technique he seems to have found his match.  Taking him under his wing his veteran partner teaches him the technique but also gives him some advice that he must listen to if he is ever to catch his opponent.  As the police close in on the driver and the rookie enters the chase, the question is does he have the ability to not only match his opponent in speed and ability, but also a battle of wits.

People who watch Motorway hoping for The Fast and The Furious will either be disappointed or engrossed, depending on the type of movie that they enjoy.  Where The Fast and The Furious is more about no-brainer action and big stunts, Motorway is more about the characters themselves as well as a few very memorable chases.  The drifting that becomes a major part of the story is both impressive and a very impressive plot device as it’s in mastering this technique that the rookie will succeed in his job and catch the getaway driver.  His veteran partner has a history with the criminal which adds tension between the two cops as he sees the younger driver is not ready.  Of course through his teaching that the rookie learns and it’s the bond between the two cops that takes on the most importance.

Motorway is a good example of why I like movies from Asia, there is a different style to the movies even ones that are focused on action such as this.  Where the Hollywood style is for action and “popcorn” entertainment, in Asia the style is often more spiritual, even when it comes to horror.  Yes, we know that they have their moments in movies like Tokyo Gore Police, but consider the Takashi Miike as a director most of his movies are about looking at the characters themselves, no matter what hell he puts them through even in movies like Ichi the Killer and Visitor Q.

Motorway is a good action movie, good police film and above all has some fun car chases that actually use some imagination and often takes the action off the beaten track.  Whether it’s into car parks or even down alleys with impossibly tight corners the action is pushed to a more intellectual style where it’s more a case of using brains rather than how fast the car can go.  It’s a movie where the cars may not be as flashy and may not be as speedy but that’s not what’s important, which in fact may be the very message Motorway is trying to give to its characters.

Motorway is released on DVD on March 10th.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek.com

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