(director: Herman Yau; screenwriter: Chen Daming; cinematographer: Kwong-Hung Joe Chan; editor: Wai-Chiu Chung; music: Jan-Hung Mak; cast: Hanyu Zhang (Cui Zendhal), Andy Lau (Vasily), Xuan Huang (Miao Qingshan), Janice Man (Li Suzhen), Jason Gu (Miao Ziwen), Bai Narisu (Sun Jiandong), Temur Manisashvili (Gang); Runtime:128; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Ming Beaver Kwei; CMC Pictures/Etalon Film; 2023-Hong Kong- in Mandarin, Cantonese and Russian, with English subtitles)

“The action sequences are crisply done.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The prolific Hong Kong director
Herman Yau (“Shock Wave”/”Death Notice”) helms this big budget action pic, his third film this year. It’s a true story based on an historical incident: the 1993 train robbery aboard the Beijing to Moscow run. Chen Daming does the screenplay.

The Chinese border patrol police were determined to put an end to the frequent robberies on that six-day commuter run, and had a plan for a few of the police to go disguised as businessmen on the Moscow bound train.

The special operations team led by the Railway Police, headed by Captain Cui (Zhang Hanyu) set the trap. Their goal was to arrest the criminals when they acted and to extradite them back to China.

Any politics about the operation was avoided. Instead it plays out as merely a popcorn thriller.

The film’s stars are
China’s Hanyu Zhang as the righteous cop team leader, and Huang Xuan as the train gang leader.  Andy Lau plays a shady character involved in the robberies. The additional supporting cast includes Janice Man as part of the robbery team and Jason Gu as the gang’s second leader.

The action sequences are crisply done, and the location shots are interesting. Though the film is nothing special the action-packed finale, where an entire train is held hostage, was entertaining.

REVIEWED ON 1/22/2024  GRADE: B-