Truth be told, I don’t normally watch Chinese movies, unless it’s Chinese New Year! However, there is something about this movie To The Fore 破風 that draws me in. Granted, my hubby is a rider, and this movie is clearly close to his heart, but the other reason is that is is something new and different. There are not that many cycling movies out there, and Dante Lam Chiu-Yin being the director and winner of various awards including the 2008 Hong Kong Film Award for Best Director (Beast Stalker) is enough reason for anyone to watch this movie.
Main actor for To The Fore is non other than Eddie Peng Yu-Yen (彭于晏), a Taiwanese Canadian actor. This movie actually has a great cast from all different countries. The main actress is Wang LuoDan (王珞丹) from China, an actress and a singer and supporting casts are Shawn Dou (窦骁), a Chinese Canadian Actor, and last but not least Choi Si Won (최시원) Korean Actor and Singer and famed for movies like Dragon Blade and Helios and of course, part of Korean Boy Band Super Junior. Bet the fans only watched this movie for him, but be warned, his appearance are not a lot. Anyways, casting is awesome, a great mix of actors and actresses from various countries with their strong fan base.
To The Fore is a movie about romance, cycling but most of all, inspiration. It follows the life of two men who had the passion to join a professional cycling team. They soon became close friends while competiting and winning together in many races. Ming, played by Eddie is the highly skilled rider but also one with a temper and much pride. He was the one that gets to go on the podium to lift the trophy while the teammates looked on, even though they played their part to push him to win. Basically in a road race, there are teammates that need to act as the wind breaker, riding in the front so that the guy at the back does not need to use more energy. However, nearer to the finishing line, the sprinter will be brought forward to cut through his wind breakers to win the race. The sprinter needs to be someone with a strong heart and high energy to be able to leave the pack behind and win the race. However, in this system, it means only the sprinter gets the fame and glory, even though the whole thing is based on team work.
Ming is that sprinter and Tian (played by Shawn) is the wind breaker who aspires to take Ming’s position, but he couldn’t due to his weak heart condition. There are lots of drama in their relationship, which I won’t reveal too much lest it becomes a spoiler. However, any human with friends would be able to relate to the ups and downs of their relationship, involving bursting temper, to envy and competition. What made matters worse was the sudden appearance of female cyclist Shiyao (Wang LuoDan) who became the love interest of both men, even though she levitated towards only one of them. You got to watch the movie to find out who she chose!
Choi Si Won played Ji Won, a Korean sprinter from another team and the main rivals of Ming and Tian for the trophy in various races. The film was beautifully shot with the latest tech and span from Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taiwan, Italy, Korea, to the Tengger Desert. It was noted that Dante Lam had the idea for this film 10 years ago, but lacked the right technology to make this movie perfect in all the fast paced action scenes. Now his dream was realised in To The Fore. It is always amazing to watch such a movie that took years to be realised. Filming started in June 2014, so it can be considered quite fast.
While filming, Merida the high end bike makers of Taiwan decided to become the main bike sponsor, therefore you will see a lot of Merida in this film. The make the whole film, about 400 bikes was used.. I bet some was crashed.
Another amazing point is that all the actors, the main cast, are not in real life cyclists. They were actually trained from scratch just for the film and even had Olympic Bronze Medalist Sarah Lee come in as their mentor in order that all of them really passed off as real cyclists. To me that is true determination and perfection in their craft. Even so, being a cycling movie means there are super a lot of accidents that cannot be helped, especially in the scenes involving hill climbing and downhill speeding…granted the actors had stunt doubles, yet it is all still pretty dangerous for them. I heard that many helmets cracked during the whole shooting of this movie, a daunting task indeed.
The ending of the movie is really inspiring and with a touching storyline about friendship, love and passion for the sport, sacrifice, unity and sportsmanship. Just like life for real, it is not just about us and how we feel, it is also about the person next to us, how we can stand together and all find happiness at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter if you love the cycling sport or not, this movie will be able to thrill you and at the same time brings tears to your eyes. So don’t forget to catch it in all Cinemas near you. Congrats to all the cast and especially director Dante Lam for another blockbuster hit.