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Film / Helios

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The beginning of a terrorist nightmare.

"If shit happens and someone is held accountable, it'll entail more than just saying "we'll do our best" and a job transfer."
Professor Siu Chi-yan's warning to the task force on the dangers of DC8's accidental detonation.

Helios (赤道; Cek3 Dou6 in Cantonese and Chì Dào in Mandarin) is a 2015 Hong Kong terrorism thriller movie written by Longman Leung and Sunny Luk, the same duo who also directed Cold War. The movie stars Jacky Cheung, Nick Cheung, Shawn Yue, Wang Xueqi, Fen Wenjuan, Choi Siwon, Ji Jin-Hee, Yoon Jin-Yi, Chang Chen and Janice Man. It debuted in China on April 30, 2015 and in Hong Kong/Macau on May 1, 2015. The movie is the first in Hong Kong live-action film/TV history to feature the Hong Kong Police Force's Counter Terrorism Response Unit, which was established in 2009 in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

The movie takes places in various locations, which includes Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea. A South Korean terrorist by the codename "Helios" storms a nuclear facility and kills the employees after seizing Davy Crockett 8 or DC8, which was South Korea's successful research into nuclear weapons without assistance from the United States. When the National Intelligence Service learns of this, Colonel Choi Min-ho and Lieutenant Park Woo-cheol are sent to Hong Kong to investigate and secure DC8 back before Helios would sell it to the black market.


In Hong Kong, the SAR government is alerted of this development. As such, a task force led by Hong Kong Police Force Chief Inspectors Eric Lee Yan-ming and Wong Kin-chung was created to lead the way to secure the WMD back from "Helios". To help in the search, CIP Lee secures the assistance of Siu Chi-yan, a professor of Physics at the University of Hong Kong to help advice the task force with regards to the weapon. After a series of raids and arrests, the task force is alarmed that Beijing wants DC8 to remain in Hong Kong for some time in order to help them toughen their anti-terrorist stance. The Hong Kong and South Korean representatives object to this, due to the dangerous nature of DC8.

During the course of the task force's investigation, various conspiracies start to pop up and challenge the limits of the task force in securing the weapon. This is coupled with complications as "Helios" strives to secure the DC8 from the HKPF's custody.


This film provides examples of:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: While the movie is a terrorism thriller, it emphasizes more on the inner workings of the task force and their struggles to stay connected in terms of working together to seize DC8 back from "Helios".
  • Action Prologue: "Helios" commences a raid on a South Korean nuclear facility at the start of the movie.
  • All There in the Manual: Most of the details, such as character backgrounds, were revealed in press releases in print or on the internet.
  • Anti-Hero: CIP Lee is generally quite emotionless and detached when it comes to other people and is willing to waterboard suspects and threaten children to get the job done. He also seems to be less concerned about saving lives and more concerned about doing his job.
  • Arch-Enemy: While CIP Lee is quite stoic and professional most of the time, he has a special hatred of "Messenger" for brutally beating and humiliating him.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: At the end of the movie, Colonel Choi and Lt. Park didn't succeed in bringing DC8 back to Seoul with the former forced to be on a wheelchair for an indefinite amount of time due to multiple gunshot wounds sustained with Park dead, although he's given a hero's funeral. CIP Lee was assassinated by "Messenger" when he was about to bust the real "Helios" aka Professor Siu after he figured out who he was. And if the ending is of any indication, it's implied that DC8 was already in the process of being sold to the black market.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The CTRU arrives with reinfocements when the lone gunman attempts to escape from the HKPF cordon. Subverted later on as it doesn's stop "Helios" from escaping.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Most of the time, it consists of Cantonese and Korean (with bits of English in between) with Mandarin and Cantonese. They're justified since the issued Sony VAIO smartphones have a built-in translator for their bluetooth headsets.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Averted. You can see bullet holes in corpses and blood coming out of the gunshot wounds. Though for some instances, you'll see wounded persons without blood coming out of their gunshot wounds due to camera movements.
    • Also averted when "Messenger" assassinates Sophia in Macau. You can see a bullet hole in her forehead.
  • Bulletproof Vest: CTRU officers don ESKI plate carrier-type tac vests with ballistic plates inserted to have it function as a bulletproof vest.
  • Car Fu: The Indian Australian mob boss uses a Mercedes E 280 to take out CIP Wong during a CTRU raid when he intentionally scraped the sedan to knock him off the car. The E 280 ran over his body to make sure he was dead.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Averted. The CTRU, the Indian Australian mob boss' men and "Helios"/"Messenger" use vehicles to take cover during the raid on the parking lot building in Tsim Sha Tsui, but only by taking cover from the rear since they were easily shot full of holes. "Messenger" uses a dead corpse as a shield and gets out of the way when CTRU officers try to shoot at her position.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The CTRU sustained wounded officers after they mostly clearing the parking lot building of hostiles due to ambushes, grenades and sneak attacks.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The infighting in the task force between the Chinese and Hong Kong representatives brings to mind the Umbrella movement protests that took place recently.
  • Dark Action Girl: "Messenger" serves as Helios' Dragon, and is more than capable of beating up the combat savvy CIP Lee.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The CTRU has an underground base somewhere in Kowloon.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: This is the first movie filmed in Hong Kong that features the Counter Terrorism Response Unit. However, there were some instances that they were being gunned down in ambushes and sneak attacks. Justified that "Helios" and "Messenger" were shooting at exposed body parts, using dead bodies as human shields and grenades to reduce their numbers while they were busy fighting off armed men working for the Indian Australian mob boss.
  • Evil All Along: The Professor is actually the true Helios.
  • Evil Gloating: Helios takes a moment to smugly enjoy his victory at the end of the movie.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Partly the reason why the CTRU raid to arrest "Helios" didn't go so well.
  • Generic Ethnic Crime Gang: The Indian gang meeting with "Helios" is possibly of Australian origin due to the mob boss having an Australian accent.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: Played with. The bad guys using AK-type assault rifles and the HKPF CTRU using MP5s and Glock 17s. Averted with "Helios"/"Messenger" as they're seen using SIG SG 552s and CZ-805 BRENs.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Beijing sends in WMD experts to help the task force study the DC8. However, "Helios" anticipates this and ambushes the HKPF bus used to transport them. It really happened since the real "Helios" was in the task force and used their information to supply the time the experts would arrive at the airport.
  • Hostage Situation: Part of the movie's Action Prologue when "Helios" took nuclear facility employees as hostages to secure the DC8.
  • The Informant: The task force relies on them for some of their intel against "Helios".
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Lee waterboards "Messenger" after she's arrested in order to make her talk.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: The HKPF, NIS and the Chinese Ministry of State Security get into a standoff on taking custody of DC8 after the weapon was secured. While the Hong Kong and South Korean representatives want the secured WMD out, the Chinese representative wants DC8 kept in Hong Kong.
    • Also the confrontation between Colonel Choi and Inspector Fan on having Lt. Park join the CTRU raid.
    Choi: Please allow Woo-cheol to join [in the raid].
    Fan: As [NIS] observers, you have no jurisdiction in Hong Kong.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The CTRU uses handheld ballistic shields during the raid on a deserted parking lot.
  • Private Military Contractors: Near the end of the movie, "Helios" recruits mercenaries to assassinate a team of WMD experts sent to Hong Kong from Beijing. They were later deployed to ambush Choi and Park on their way out of Hong Kong.
  • Race Against the Clock: The task force is deployed to immediately seize DC8 from "Helios" since it was a matter of time before it was scheduled to be sold to an unknown buyer.
  • Red Shirt Army: Unfortunately, the CTRU starts to show this off after the gunfight started during the raid on the parking lot despite bagging a few kills at the start.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: One of the armed men working for an Indian Australian mob boss uses a shotgun to disable an unmarked HKPF cruiser used to shield a CTRU team by shooting the engine block.
  • Shown Their Work: While HKPF weapons/uniforms/vehicles were properly depicted thanks to assistance from the HKPF, the real success was to accurately depict CTRU weapons/tactics/call signs used. For instance, the call signs used by the actual CTRU as shown consist of Cougar, Trooper, Ranger & Unicorn.note 
    • Choi mentions in a phone call that the South Korean consulate is located in an office building. It's specifically located at the Far East Financial Centre.
    • During debates at the CTRU's underground HQ in determining the justification of Beijing's intervention in keeping DC8 in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Basic Law was used to justify China's intervention in major issues in foreign affairs, specifically Articles 13-14.
  • Take Cover!: The good guys and bad guys use parked vehicles and concrete structures as cover to avoid being hit by bullets.
  • Title Drop: It's mentioned several times throughout the movie, serving as the codename of the Big Bad. And it also serves as the codename of The Man Behind the Man.
  • Urban Warfare: Most of the gunfights occurs in the cities of Hong Kong and Macau since both SAR territories are heavily urbanized.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: Davy Crockett 8 or DC8. Said to be the most smallest WMD made.
    Helios: DC8 is the smallest nuclear weapon to be ever built.

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