Cold War 2

HK Magazine - - FILM -

(Hong Kong) Crime/Ac­tion. Di­rected by Long­man Le­ung and Sunny Luk. Star­ring Aaron Kwok, Tony Le­ung Ka-fai, Chow Yun-fat, Char­lie Young. Cat­e­gory IIB. 110 min­utes. Opens July 8.

All eyes are on the se­quel to 2012’s “Cold War,” which cleaned up at the Hong Kong Film Awards that year, win­ning Best Film, Best Ac­tor and Best Di­rec­tor. But in this new in­stal­ment, di­rec­tors Long­man Le­ung and Sunny Luk seem to be bit­ing off more than they can chew.

“Cold War 2” picks up right where its pre­de­ces­sor left off. Sean Lau (Aaron Kwok) is now the new Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice, while his ri­val, deputy Com­mis­sioner M.B. Lee

(Tony Le­ung) has re­tired af­ter his son Joe (Ed­die Peng) was jailed for or­ches­trat­ing the ab­duc­tion of four po­lice con­sta­bles.

The film kicks off with plenty of fore­bod­ing, as Lau buries a fel­low po­lice­man, min­utes be­fore re­ceiv­ing a call from an anony­mous masked man. He’s kid­napped Lau’s wife, and will free her in ex­change for Joe Lee’s re­lease. Lau in­sists on car­ry­ing out the swap him­self, so as to fer­ret out the cul­prit.

But the op­er­a­tion fails mis­er­ably, end­ing in an ex­plo­sion in an MTR sta­tion and Joe’s sus­pi­ciously timely es­cape.

New to the game are in­de­pen­dent leg­is­la­tor Oswald Kan (Chow Yun-fat) and his squad of lawyers who, dur­ing a public in­quiry into the botched op­er­a­tion, be­gin to sus­pect that a plot lurks behind the sur­face, to get the Com­mis­sioner re­moved from of­fice. The cam­era turns, and we dis­cover a group of self-pro­claimed “king­mak­ers” di­vid­ing up the slices of the cake as they plan their fu­ture roles in the Hong Kong gov­ern­ment.

Hong Kong au­di­ences will eas­ily spot the po­lit­i­cal metaphors that shine through the court­room bick­er­ing and ac­tion scenes alike. The di­rec­tors clev­erly tug at our un­easi­ness that there is in­deed a “pup­peteer” or a clique of “king­mak­ers” pulling the strings behind the po­lit­i­cal scenes, while steer­ing clear of any ex­plicit fin­ger-point­ing.

Star­ring a ridicu­lously good-look­ing en­sem­ble of cops and ICAC of­fi­cers, the film boasts a bumper mix of movie stars, small-screen ac­tors, singers and ex-news an­chors. See­ing these fa­mil­iar faces pop up in the least ex­pected places pro­vides a lit­tle comic re­lief in this oth­er­wise gloomy flick. But our cen­tral trio does their job well. Aaron Kwok’s char­ac­ter may fall short of the com­plex­ity of his co-stars, but he still man­ages to pull off some in­tense ac­tion se­quences, as well as a re­al­is­tic de­pic­tion of a des­per­ate hus­band. Mean­while Chow Yun­fat, with a twin­kle of wis­dom in his eyes, slips seam­lessly into his slick, pow­er­ful bar­ris­ter per­sona. The gold star, how­ever, goes to Tony Le­ung for tak­ing us for a ride on an emo­tional roller­coaster with his strong eye­brow-act­ing as he turns the cor­ner from righ­teous po­lice com­mis­sioner to ag­o­nized fa­ther.

Sadly, even a star-stud­ded cast can’t save the film from its mul­ti­ple log­i­cal leaps and plot holes that will leave you scratch­ing your head. For one, is there no mech­a­nism in the po­lice force that could over­ride the Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice’s de­ci­sion to drop ev­ery­thing, strap on a bul­let­proof vest and es­cort a pris­oner to a hostage ex­change him­self?

All these un­solved mys­ter­ies and a fi­nal shock­ing, patently un­re­al­is­tic cliffhanger prom­ises that the “Cold War” series will soon be back, with yet more cheesy lines and feel-good po­lice pro­pa­ganda. The Cold War isn’t over just yet. Sophia Lam

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