Film Review: Echoes of the Thunder 速戰 (2023) Hong Kong 🇭🇰
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia 🇦🇺)
The biggest issue with director Tony Tang’s “Echoes of the Thunder” is that it tries too hard to follow the footsteps of successful racing genre films like “Fast and Furious” and “Need for Speed” and in the process forgotten what makes a film entertaining. It’s not the simple car racing scenes, but a good film needs a strong plot line with credible characters and acting and the racing scenes should be icing on the a delicious cake. Instead, we get a delicious icing, on top of a half-baked cake.
The greater problem lies in the acting and casting choices. Mainland actor Liu Chang looks rather empty and does not have the on-screen presence to carry the leading role. Hong Kong actor Carlos Chan plays the brother and sidekick, but is suitably wasted in an empty role. Likewise we have a crew of quality Hong Kong actors like Kara Hui (as the aggressive mother and CEO), Lam Suet (sleepwalking here), Liu Kai Chi (simply the best out of the lot, with plenty of deep as the xi fu), Bonnie Xian (flower vase role), Philip Keung (one dimensional cop) and Lam Tze Chung (more annoying than funny), whist all perform adequately are given paper thin roles that are almost non-existent. Films with poor plots can usually be saved if the leading actor processes enough charm and charisma, but unfortunately, Liu Chang is a complete failure in this department and why he is casted as the lead in a Hong Kong shot in Hong Kong locations, makes it more bewildering and odd.
All in all, “Echoes of the Thunder” contains a good premise on paper with a quality supporting cast, but in reality, the film is a complete failure with zero emotional core. When the audience does not care about the characters, it is difficult for anyone to be invested in the car racing scenes. At the end of the day, if we want to see entertaining racing scenes, we can always go to the races. I would avoid watching unless time is a luxury.
I rated it 3/10