Cloudy Mountain review: An action-packed geological disaster film

·3 min read
Zhu Yilong as Hong Yizhou in Cloudy Mountain. (Photo: Golden Village Pictures)
Zhu Yilong as Hong Yizhou in Cloudy Mountain. (Photo: Golden Village Pictures)

Length: 115 minutes
Director: Li Jun
Cast: Zhu Yilong, Huang Zhizhong, Chen Shu, Jiao Junyan
Language: Mandarin with English and Chinese subtitles

In theatres from 21 October (Singapore)

3.5 out of 5 stars

Cloudy Mountain is an action disaster film starring Zhu Yilong as Hong Yizhou, the acting chief engineer of the Yunjiang Tunnel Project. However, constructing the tunnel in the mountainous region has met with a lot of difficulties, especially those triggered by geological changes.

One day, the mountains decide to unleash their fury through a massive landslide, which threatens not just the tunnel project, which has been ongoing for a decade, but also a nearby town filled with people who cannot evacuate in time. The China Railway Construction has to find a way to save both the tunnel and the town, or either one has to be sacrificed.

Cloudy Mountain has an interesting concept on the difficulties of constructions, which pays tribute to the hard work and sacrifices of the railroad soldiers. Hong Yizhou’s father Lao Hong (Huang Zhizhong) represents these railroad soldiers and the traditional ways of managing constructions, while Yizhou represents the modern, technological ways. In an escaping scene, you will see how these two methods differ and the progress that technology has provided.

However, the storyline did not live up to the expectations of the concept, and can be too predictable. In addition, Yizhou has been given way too much limelight, such that almost every decision or idea comes from him, making the others in the tunnel project team seem useless.

Even so, Cloudy Mountain is still packed with exciting sequences that will keep the audience on the edge of their seats. A thrilling scene happens as soon as in the introduction of the film, which also sees a hidden side of Yizhou, who presents a strong and capable facade. This hidden side will later unveil the conflicts Yizhou has with Lao Hong.

During the climax of the father-son conflict, Zhu Yilong has done a remarkable job in portraying the raw and helpless feelings of Yizhou. It is impossible not to be moved by his realistic, heartfelt acting, which has taken up a notch from his well-known portrayal of Wu Xie in the mystery drama Reunion: The Sound Of The Providence.

Similar to most disaster films, Cloudy Mountain also does not forget to include some tear-jerking scenes. But the predictability of the story undermines these scenes, making them less impactful than they could have been, which is really a pity. In a way, it feels like the film is trying to achieve a lot — action scenes, disaster scenes, touching scenes, tribute to the railroad soldiers — but does not explore each part in depth, making the plot somewhat superficial.

With exceptional acting from Zhu Yilong, Cloudy Mountain is an exciting film to watch. But it could have been even better with a more coherent and less predictable storyline.

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