Z Storm tells the tale of corruption at the highest level.
Anti-corruption thriller Z Storm couldn’t be more timely as Hong Kong is currently being rocked by its biggest ever corruption scandal involving Asian property tycoons Thomas and Raymond Kwok, who are ranked 86th on the Forbes’ 2014 list of billionaires.
“In addition to massive anti-corruption sentiments in Hong Kong right now, this year being the 40th anniversary of ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) makes it most opportune for this tale to be told,” declared Pegasus Motion Pictures founder and veteran filmmaker Raymond Wong, 68, in an interview in Hong Kong.
Z Storm tells the tale of ICAC investigator William Luk (Louis Koo) who accidentally uncovers a charity fund scandal involving unscrupulous lawyer Malcolm Wu (Michael Wong) and money laundering industrialist Law Tak Wing (Lo Hoi Pang) while investigating the corrupt Commander of the Commercial Crime Bureau Wong Man Ban (Gordon Lam).
The movie also features Dada Chan, Liu Kai Chi, Stephen Au, Derek Tsang, Janelle Sing, Cheung Siu Fai, Felix Lok and Joe Cheung.
The HK$60mil (RM25mil) flick is produced by John Chong, and directed by former ICAC officer David Lam, who is well-known for his other ICAC thrillers like Powerful Four (1991) and First Shot (1993).
“Having worked with the ICAC, I know the officers should be honest and upright personnel who care for the people.
“Right from the beginning, I knew it was imperative for me to get actors who would be convincing portraying trustworthy characters. Hence, we have a varied cast which includes Louis Koo, Stephen Au, Derek Tsang and even newbie Janelle Sing, who is the only girl on the team.
“She is really suited for the role of a woman who is able to provide technical support behind the scenes as well as engage in field work when her expertise is required,” the director explained.
When the cast of Z Storm took to the stage during the movie’s premiere at the newly-opened Metroplex@Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong earlier this month, the bulk of the audience present were Louis Koo fans who screamed excitedly to welcome their beloved idol.
The dashing 43-year-old actor is keeping a packed schedule; he can be seen in up to a dozen movies this year.
It has been reported that the Louis Koo Charitable Foundation is busy building public schools in remote areas of rural China such as Sichuan, Gansu, Guizhou and Guangxi. Currently, the foundation has built 63 schools.
Brushing aside talks of his low profile charity work, Koo preferred to focus on his latest movie project, saying that he was really impressed by the work done by the ICAC when he read the script for Z Storm.
“What got my attention was the fact that there is actually a department within the ICAC that investigates other departments within the organisation for corruption.
“I cannot name that department for obvious reasons, but our movie bosses say that if Z Storm does well at the box office, then our next movie will focus on that division of the ICAC,” Koo revealed.
Shooting the movie proved to be daunting for Dada Chan ... especially the scene where Gordon Lam’s corrupt cop throws a wad of money at her face.
“We had to shoot that scene about six times, and each time we finished, he quickly apologised and asked if I got hurt. I’ve never met a more polite ‘villain’,” said Chan, 25.
Z Storm is Chan’s comeback film after she went on a three-month break following a bout of depression last year.
Jesting that he would like to have money thrown at himself too, 46-year-old Gordon offered: “The director wanted me to inflict such humiliation on her character using only body language and without resorting to too many words.
“So, I really threw the stack of money at her. If you observe her face carefully, you will see that one side is redder than the other.”
Gordon found it interesting shooting a love scene with Chan. He said: “People usually chew some gum before doing such scenes. So, you can imagine how surprised I was to see her eating a bowl of noodles with ham and eggs, instead!”
Portraying Tammy Tam, an IT investigation expert with the Operations Department of the ICAC, mainland Chinese actress Sing shared how she struggled to fit in.
“There’s this scene where I was trying my very best to act professionally. Louis Koo later said that he found it rather amusing to watch me, because I wasn’t aware that the cameras hadn’t started rolling yet,” recalled Sing, winner of the Best New Actor Award at the recent Macau International Film Festival for her turn as a new mother suffering from post-natal depression in Baby Blues (2013).
David hopes this anti-corruption movie will elicit a positive response from viewers.
The director said: “I know that youth nowadays and society as a whole are under a massive amount of stress and pressure from the high cost of living. But, having been established for 40 years, ICAC continues to help keep Hong Kong a fair, stable and prosperous society.
“As such, we hope that our youth will continue to benefit from such positive conditions.”
Z Storm opens in cinemas nationwide on June 19.