MOSCOW MISSION (莫斯科行动) (2023)

Genre: Action/Crime
Director: Herman Yau
Cast: Andy Lau, Zhang Hanyu, Huang Xuan, Janice Man, Jason Gu
Runtime: 2 hrs 8 mins
Rating: NC16 (Violence)
Released By: mm2 Entertainment
Official Website:

Opening Day: 12 October 2023

Synopsis: In 1993, a series of violent armed robberies occurred on the K3/4 international train connecting Beijing and Moscow, the only land communication line between China and Europe back then. The Chinese police engaged in a cross-border investigation and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice. Disguised as businessmen and undaunted by danger, a special operations team led by the Railway Police set off for this investigation in the unfamiliar territory of Moscow, with only one goal in mind: to arrest the criminals and successfully extradite them back to China. The film is based on a real historical event.

Movie Review:

Hong Kong director Herman Yau is a very hardworking filmmaker. Before this title, he had already helmed three other thrillers: Raid on the Lethal Zone, Death Notice and The White Storm 3 - Heaven or Hell which we saw in theatres some months back. Most of his works are extremely testosterone driven, starring the who’s who of Hong Kong showbiz. Leading actors like Sean Lau, Louis Koo, Francis Ng and Julian Cheung are just some of the names you’d expect to see on the movie posters. It is no different for his latest work, which is based on a series of train robberies which happened on the train journeys from Beijing to Moscow. This is already a win for viewers who enjoy movie adaptations of true life crime stories.

Back in the 1990s, it was common for businessmen to take a six day train trip between the two locations to trade commodities. Given the economy then, this was an opportunity for people to earn high profits. And this also means this would be a field day for bandits – simply because there were no law enforcers on the train. Violent crimes like rapes were also known to take place.

The backdrop is perfect for what seems like Yau’s favourite genre of thriller flicks. The movie is not too interested in the political undercurrents between the two countries (it is a production with substantial backup from China after all), because a popcorn movie with cat and mouse chases and explosive gun shootouts is likely to bring in more bucks than a film with lots of talking.

And so it is with this premise we are treated to an exhilarating ride. The leading men this time round are China’s Zhang Hanyu and Huang Xuan (both of them starred in The Battle at Lake Changjin), as well as Hong Kong’s Andy Lau (the star of Yau’s Shock Wave movies). Zhang plays the righteous cop who leads a team of men to hunt down the gang leader (Huang) and another shady individual (Lau) who Is somehow involved in the robberies.

There are many remarkable action sequences in this 128 minute movie, and every one of them leaves an impression. There is a scene where the law enforcers attempt to capture the bad guy in the midst of an orchestra performance, and another one that sees the antagonists being pursued by the police in a maze of underground water passages. There is also the finale where a whole train is held hostage and the evil doers are not holding back with their gunshots.

Besides these sequences that will have your eyes glued to the screen, there are also storylines which explore loyalty, brotherhood and what it means to serve justice. Thanks to the commendable performances by the ensemble cast (which also includes Janice Man as a robbery accomplice and Jason Gu as the gang’s second in charge), the drama is engaging throughout. If you have watched Yau’s previous works, you wouldn’t expect anything less from this explosive action movie. 

Movie Rating:

(Herman Yau delivers yet another explosive action thriller, and this one features impressive performances from Zhang Hanyu, Huang Xuan and Andy Lau)

Review by John Li

You might also like:


Movie Stills