Film review: To the Fore, Dante Lam's action-packed cycling drama
Movie follows trials and tribulations of Asian trio hoping to make their name in international bike racing
While the world of professional cycling has featured in a number of exemplary documentaries — such as Louis Malle's Vive le Tour (1962) and Jørgen Leth's A Sunday in Hell (1976) — the subject has never really received the top-notched fiction feature treatment. Dante Lam Chiu-yin's To the Fore aims to change that.
As the action auteur's latest detour from crime thrillers after his acclaimed boxing drama Unbeatable (2013), this sports movie takes a testosterone-drenched look at road races — in places as varied as Kaohsiung, Hong Kong and the Tengger Desert — to reveal the hurdles faced by a trio of cyclists aspiring to rise through the ranks of international racing.
While the cocky Ming (Eddie Peng Yu-yan) craves personal glory despite his role as a "lead-out" (responsible for making way for his team's "sprinter"), his shy teammate Tian (Shawn Dou Xiao) is unlucky in both romance and fitness. Another teammate, Korean Ji-won (Choi Siwon), has to contemplate the ethics of his manager.
The off-the-track melodrama — involving a female cyclist and love interest (Wang Luodan), a long-estranged mother, and heavy alcohol consumption — is trite and boring. But when it gets back to the road, To the Fore reveals itself as a hot-blooded movie with a sophisticated view of the high-pressure pursuits of pro riders.
To the Fore opens on August 6