Released by: Well Go USA
Released on: March 7th, 2017.
Director: Sunny Luk, Longman Leung
Cast: Aaron Kwok, Chow Yun Fat, Tony Ka Fai Leung, Charlie Yeung, Eddie Peng
Year: 2016 Purchase From Amazon
Four years after their first movie set the Hong Kong box office on fire, Sunny Luk and Longman Leung return with a sequel that continues the story that its predecessor began. Picking up where the first movie began, Joe Lee (Eddie Peng), the son of Deputy Police Commissioner M.B. Lee (Tony Leung Ka Fai), has been put behind bars for his part in highjacking an armored car full of cops.
When the movie begins, Police Commissioner Sean Lau (Aaron Kwok) is contacted by an unknown party who has taken his wife hostage. Their end game is to exchange her in return for Joe Lee. Lau agrees to their terms, obviously wanting to get his wife back in one piece, but when he meets up with them at a subway station to make the swap, a bomb goes off. Lee escapes in the ensuing chaos and Lau gets his wife back but there’s some fall out over his actions. Soon enough, a former judged named Oswald Kan (Chow Yun Fat) is leading the charge to see Lau removed from his position for not going through the proper channels. However, it soon comes to light that maybe Kan’s motives aren’t so pure, particularly once it seems that he’s got ties to M.B. Lee, clearly not an impartial player in any of this.
Those expecting a slam-bang action movie might be put off as this is much more of a police thriller than anything else, though the scene where the bombs goes off at the train station is mighty impressive in its staging and there’s a decent shoot out or two along the way. The film is pretty talky, and as the story plays out and the various conspiracies start to unwind, it can and does occasionally get bogged down in some of the dialogue. Having said that, the picture sure is a glossy one, featuring excellent production values, impressive cinematography and an impressive, sometimes epic, musical score. Occasional doses of melodrama seep into the storyline, but never so much as to hurt things, while the pacing here is deliberate, if not lightning quick. As it was in the first film, however, so too is it in this picture – not everything is all that neatly resolved and you get the impression that Sunny Luk and Longman Leung are clearly leaving the door open for a third picture. Hey, filmmaking is an art, but so too is it a business – you can’t really fault them for that even if the ploy is obvious.
The acting in the film is quite good. There’s some A-list talent onboard here, with Peng reprising his role as the bad guy from the first film and doing just as good a job with it. Tony Leung Ka Fai is also very strong here, but most familiar with his work could have probably guess that by now – the guy is good in almost everything he does. Aaron Kwok, the third main holdover from the first picture, plays his part well too but it’s the addition of the legendary Chow Yun Fat to the cast that really shines here. No longer the young man he once was, Chow’s nevertheless an eternally cool figure and he’s still got plenty of great screen presence to put to good use in the film. Getting to watch this talented roster of actors work against and off of one another makes this film much more interesting than it would have been otherwise – this is one case where the cast really is the main draw.
Well Go USA presents Cold War II on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 2.35.1 widescreen. Shot digitally, obviously there are no problems with any print damage, dirt or debris nor is there any grain to discuss. The image is obviously pristine then, while detail and texture are typically very strong throughout.
Cantonese and Mandarin language options are provided in DTS-HD 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo with optional subtitles provided in English only. The Cantonese 5.1 mix is the way to go, it sounds quite good delivering excellent channel separation and solid balance throughout. The sound effects pack a nice punch while the dialogue remains clearly audible.
Extras for the disc are comprised primarily of a series of short, promotional style featurettes starting with A Powerhouse Cast. This two minute piece is just what it sounds like – a look at the lead actors who pop up in the film and some thoughts on their work. The Story is a two minute segment that takes a look at various plot points in the movie while The Three Powers spends two minutes discussing the three central elements that make up the storyline (kind of hard to describe it otherwise without being spoilery). Last but not least is a three minute piece called VFX and Action that goes behind the scenes of some of the movie’s more intense set pieces to give us a look at how they were done.
Outside of that we get a trailer and a teaser for the feature, trailers for a few other Well Go USA properties, menus and chapter selection.
The Final Word:
Cold War II is a perfectly enjoyable follow up to the first film with some solid performances and a few decent action set pieces. It doesn’t really break any new ground but it does what it does quite well and it proves to be, if nothing else, an entertaining watch. Well Go USA’s Blu-ray looks and sounds quite nice. All in all, nice quality release for a decent movie.
Click on the image below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!