Helios《赤道》Movie Review


If the idea of mutant superheroes is too un-un-unbelievable for you, you may prefer the more plausible and realistic action thriller Helios (赤道), in which a team of experts is being assembled to prevent a catastrophic disaster from happening.


Helios is the name of the enigmatic super villain, who marshaled a number of massive underground weapons deals. His latest coup is a covert South Korean military weapon of mass destruction: 16 Uranium spheres controlled by a handheld nuclear device (DC8).



With intelligence chatter on the impending transaction of the highly-feared DC8 in Hong Kong, the delicate mission of recovering the nuclear device without activating it is tasked to a star-studded crisis team which comprises of:



- Chief Inspector Lee Yin-ming (Nick Cheung, 张家辉) and Inspector Fan Ka-ming (Shawn Yue, 余文乐), Hong Kong Counter Terrorism Response Unit



- Choi Min Ho (Ji Jin-hee, 池珍熙) weapon experts and Pok Yu-chit (Choi Siwon, 崔始源), intelligence officer, South Korea National Intelligence Service



- Siu Chi-yan (Jacky Cheung, 张学友) Physics professor at University of Hong Kong



- Song An (Wang Xueqi, 王学圻), Chinese envoy



Like the Marvel movies, expect lots of eye-popping action and destruction, and yea, the passing of main characters (I'm not telling you who).



Even the closure of the movie is very X-Men-like, with a 'it is only just the beginning' ending, and the train carriage speeding away from the camera as it pans to the surrounding snowy terrains.



In many scenes, we see the infusion of nuclear science concepts, so let me attempt to enhance your movie experience with some not-so-expert explanations on the topic.


What makes DC8 so fearsome?


DC8 is a nuclear weapon made with Uranium-235. Nuclear weapons work by the process of nuclear fission, in which a nucleus of an atom is split into lighter fragments. This process releases a large amount of energy as well as ionizing radiation in the form of α, β particles and fast neutrons.


Image Source: http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/


The fission of a 235Ur nucleus can trigger a rapid chain reaction which culminates in a violent explosion. According to the closing lines, the amount of energy released on activation of DC8 can destroy an area four times the size of Hong Kong.


Even when it is not activated, the slow decay of 235Ur may give rise to a high dosage of ionizing radiation. Exposure to ionizing radiation causes damage to living tissue, and can result in a slew of illnesses.


What’s with the special suits and flush down on contact with DC8?


The suit protects against contamination of the personnel with 235Ur and the flush down ensures decontamination of the personnel after contact with DC8.


What is that beeping device that the Professor carried when he entered the chamber to check on DC8?


The beeping device is a Geiger–Müller counter, which is an instrument used for measuring ionization radiation. Each beep corresponds to the detection of a high energy particle. Hence, when the device started beeping rapidly in the chamber, it meant that the counter is detecting a high level of ionizing radiation.


The professor designed a graphite box to transport DC8. How does it work?


Graphite (carbon) is used as a radiation shield to damp the effect of the ionizing radiation by reducing energy from the high energy particles through elastic scattering.


How’s that for a movie-cum-physics lesson! Helios 赤道 opens in cinemas on 30 April 2015!


Movie Title: Helios (赤道)
Presented by: Media Asia Films
Produced by: Catherine Kwan
Directed by: Longman Leung, Sunny Luk

Screenplay by: Sunny Luk, Longman Leung
Leading Cast: Jacky Cheung (張學友), Nick Cheung (張家輝), Shawn Yue (余文樂), Janice Man (文詠珊), Ji Jin-hee (池珍熙), Choi Siwon (崔始源), Wang Xueqi (王學圻), Zhang Zhen (張震)
Genre: Crime Thriller
Running Time: 118 mins
Language: Mandarin, Korean, English
Singapore Release Date: 30 April 2015


Many thanks to Clover Films for the invitation to the movie première.

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