Set against backdrop of the boundless, arid, desolate desert in the western part of China, revolving around the three polar groups: detectives, runaway convicts, and assassins, Tempest of the Westerly Winds explores the hope for survival, the true meaning of love, the final resting place of destiny as the three groups keep each other in check and struggle against each other.
The fantastic four detectives, roaming the desert freely for years, displaying beastlike aggressiveness and strength, yet there is a mundane, soft, and even inept side to them. The assassin team of two, world class top drawer killers, ruthless and accomplished when carrying out their assignments, yet deep down in their hearts are bleakness and a drifting feel, arriving on the silent, solitary desert, as if responding to its beckoning to snatch lives. The fate of the fugitive couple may have been sealed from the outset, yet their sacrifices for love are nothing short of nobility of spirit and tears-inducing. And behind each character lies their own back-story, transcending the boundaries and identities of fugitives, assassins or police, that is a more simplistic, conceivable type feelings belonging to that of a regular person.
There are five major action scenes in Tempest of Westerly Winds, “绝地围捕” Deadend Besieging, “月夜狙击” Hunting Under Moonlight Sonata, “戈壁飞车” Gobi Flying Cars, “旱峡枪战” Gunfight at Waterless Ravine, “决战空城” Final Fracas at Vacated Village and they entail what Gao Qun Shu, with his wild, crazy ideas, describes as “turning the illogical into logical.”
Currently, the production have finished 3 action scenes, and have just begun work on the perilous 8-minute Gobi Flying Cars, comprising steeplechase and shootout on horseback, jeep and truck chase, collision, car flip, explosions, etc, after which, there is one more action scene remaining – Final Fracas at Vacated Village.
Action director Nicky Li Chung Chi was convinced by Gao Qun Shu’s determination and perseverance that he agreed to help him surmount the insurmountable odds in Tempest of the Westerly Winds, “It took 2 months just to film that 3 minutes of night battle at a mine, I suppose it would be after Lunar New Year when all action scenes are completed. The difficulties and risks involved in the action scenes are very high, and they must suspend disbelief, these are some things we don’t see in Hong Kong films. Every action scene is a seemingly impossible mission, but director Gao Qun Shu insists on doing it.”
As such, filming is taking significantly longer and more funds are poured in, as Gao Qun Shu pursues the peaks of action, “Most of our time are spent on going the extra mile to create and enhance the action scenes, like carving the delicate lines of a statue. Every scene must become a challenge, challenging visuals is also challenging the audience’s quench for novelty. The action must be plausible yet beyond imagination.”
In a scene whereby the Jeep Rubicon is fleeing from the dumper truck, and to shake off the pursuers, it has to slide along the cliff. And the driver was none other than Wu Jing, and the passenger behind was Charlie Yeung. “As the jeep juddered, those inside were tossed about till they were nauseating, but we had already gone all out.” says Nicky Li.
Duan Yi Hong concurs that Wu Jing is a terror when it comes to driving. As the Prince of Flying Car in the film, all his passengers would all throw up.
In order to rescue Charlie Yeung, Wu Jing steps on the accelerator, driving at 180mph, overtakes the dumper truck, does a 180 deg tailspin, intending to stop Francis Ng’s truck in its track. But Francis Ng is showing no signs of slowing down, and instead charges right at Wu Jing’s Jeep Rubicon. A loud crash, and the jeep is almost destroyed. Wu Jing reverses the jeep at high speed, while front passenger Duan Yi Hong launches a grenade at the truck. However, the truck is unaffected and keeps going forward. So, the only recourse left is for Duan Yi Hong to board the truck by jumping onto dumper as Wu Jing drives to its side. This death-defying scene was shot in 3 parts.
A few days ago, the production filmed this heart-stopping scene involving Francis Ng’s titanic dumper truck ramming Wu Jing’s diminutive Jeep Rubicon, which took Nicky Li weeks of planning and preparation to ensure safety of the cast, as well as the crew doing close-ups, was well taken care of. Just a second before the collision, Wu Jing had to do a fishtail. The moment they crashed was very scary indeed, for the outcome was worse than expected, the jeep was in a far bad shape than what was forecast. Everyone had a fright, and all rushed to see if Wu Jing was alright, and it was chaos, thankfully, apart from Rubicon’s glorious sacrifice, all was fine.
Another part of the scene involves Wu Jing driving in reverse at high speed and Duan Yi Hong tossing a grenade at the dumper truck. Compared to Wu Jing who was on the edge of his seat, front passenger Duan Yi Hong was on tenterhooks, “This is the first time I’m doing something so dangerous in a film.” After the shoot, Duan Yi Hong heaved a sigh of relief, “This crash was no joke, we were all literally staking our lives on it.”
Filming action scenes for the first time, Duan Yi Hong wasn’t very successful in his attempts at doing the jump from the jeep to dumper truck. Duan Yi Hong was having hitches hitching up the rungs on the dumper and gets a number of bumps on his arms and legs until Wu Jing offered some tips and gave him encouragements.
Nicky Li remarks, “Shooting each action scene is like living on a high, narrow ledge. But, there is nothing Wu Jing doesn’t want to try out, as such, I could not stop him, so, might as well let him have his fill instead.”
Wu Jing says nonchalantly, “Apart from flaunting your mastery of car stunts, it also tests your courage, I find it very heroic in spirit, and exhilarating.”
Duan Yi Hong jumping from one vehicle to another: Sohu, Sina