the size of its budget and the scope of the operations it conducts, there will
always be ambitious people eager to serve as the Hong Kong Police Department’s
Commissioner. However, the intricate network of senior-junior relationships
makes it tricky to govern. Former Deputy Commissioner M.B. Lee thought he was
the man for the job, until his son was arrested for betraying the force,
ushering the old man into early retirement. That would seem to be that, but as
long as Lee has the Old Boys network and a mysterious scheming patron, he has
hope in Longman Leung & Sunny Luk’s Cold
War 2 (trailer
which opens this Friday in New York.
Cold War 1 ended with some
conspicuous loose threads, including the hijacked emergency response van that
remains missing, but the threatening call Commissioner Sean Lau Kit-fai
receives would be the most pressing. It turns out there is a reason Joe Lee
looks so smug in his prison cell. His accomplices have kidnapped Lau’s wife.
he is not a stickler for procedure, Lau is perfectly willing to drag Lee junior
to the hand-off. The Commish has no intention of trading him for his wife, but
that is how things shake out, with Lau handcuffed to a ticking bomb for extra
added embarrassment. Obviously, the operation is an unsanctioned disaster,
which turns the legislature into a pack of baying hounds. They are led by the
curmudgeonly civil libertarian-ish Oswald Kan. The councilor will not pull his
punches with Lau, but he is not a fan of the vested interests Lee represents
Lee did his duty and arrested his own son, he will turn on Lau during the
hearings. Apparently, that was all part of the plan. Lee was not initially
privy to the details of the conspiracy, but the high placed government figures
backing his son will make him an offer he cannot refuse. Thus begins a
three-handed intrigue, as Team Lau and Team Kan work at cross-purposes while
trying to investigate Team Lee.
is more closure in Cold War 2, but it
definitely suggests this story has at least another chapter to unfold. The HK
box office is sure to support a third installment, but assembling the big name
cast again will be a challenge. Obviously, the biggest addition is Chow
Yun-fat radiating gravitas as Kan. It follows in the tradition of Chairman of
the Board role in Office, but it is
arguably informed by Chow’s support for the Umbrella Movement’s student
protestors. (When democracy opponents suggested he might be hurting his
commercial appeal, Chow replied he’d simply make less money in that case, which
is reason enough to go to CW2).
Lau is as smooth and steely as ever, while “Big Tony” Leung Ka-fai is still
massively intense as the combustible M.B. Lee. Now that Eastwood primarily
directs, Leung just might be the best squinter and glowerer working in film
today. He and Eddie Peng Yuyan really do look like father and son in their
brief scenes together. Peng continues to prove he has more chops than his early
teen romances suggested. Unfortunately, Charlie Young’s deputy commissioner for
PR gets dramatically short-changed this time around, but at least Janice Man gets
a serious arc to work with as Kan’s protégé, Au Wing-yan.
are several big, explosive action sequences in CW2, but Leung & Luk always use them in ways that advance the
narrative. It certainly looks like they left plenty of odds and ends to be
picked up later, but they steadily ratchet up the tension quite effectively.
Altogether, it is a big, slick police thriller, very much in the Hong Kong
action tradition. Enthusiastically recommended, Cold War 2 opens this Friday (7/8) in New York, at the AMC Empire.
Labels: Aaron Kwok, Chow Yun-fat, Cop Movies, Hong Kong Cinema, Janice Man, Tony Leung Ka Fai