More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 0 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Dead Dicks by Jay Seaver

Ford v Ferrari by Rob Gonsalves

Portrait of a Lady on Fire by Peter Sobczynski

Long Walk, The (2019) by Jay Seaver

Ride Your Wave by Jay Seaver

Enter the Fat Dragon (2020) by Jay Seaver

Sea Fever by Jay Seaver

Synchronic by Jay Seaver

Downhill by Peter Sobczynski

Man Standing Next, The by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

White Storm 2: Drug Lords, The
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Jay Seaver

"Worth sitting through to get to the insane car chase."
3 stars

As much as I liked "The White Storm" when I saw it in 2014, I didn't know it was successful enough to become a crime-movie brand, in that apparently any movie about former allies turned enemies in the drug trade could wind up released under that banner. That's what this film is - a similar outline with new characters that has to work to reach the same melodramatic highs, although there's no arguing against the action when the gloves come completely off.

Fifteen years ago, Yu Shun Tin (Andy Lau Tak-Wah) and "Dizang" Fung Chun Kwok (Louis Koo Tin-Lok) were close as brothers in the Ching Hing triad, whose leader - and Tin's uncle - Yu Nam (Kent Chang Jak-Si) was staunchly against getting involved with drugs. Then it all went to hell - Tin's girlfriend (Chrissie Chau Sau-Na) leaves him on the same night Tin is forced to punish Dizang for allowing drugs to be sold in Ching Hing territory. It's a wake-up call for both - Tin goes straight, proving to be an excellent stock trader and marrying lawyer Chow Man Fung (Karena Lam Ka-Yan), while Dizang dives headlong into the narcotics trade, becoming one of Hong Kong's most powerful drug lords. Circumstances cause Tin, who has always given generously to anti-drug organizations, to escalate his battle with direct action, which looks to Chief Inspector Lam Cheng Fung (Michael Miu Kiu-Wai) of the HKPD's narcotics bureau - whose wife was also a cop and killed in the raid on Dizang's clubs that night - like fighting between the triads.

There is a lot going on there - there are threads about the Yus trying to conceive, Lam's daughter, and a side-trip to the Philippines - but there's also too little. Hong Kong cinema has a great tradition of these sort of close friendships ripped asunder to the point where they disintegrate into extraordinary violence, but the great ones establish these relationships more solidly. There is barely enough time to see Tin and Dizang as brothers before they're hurtling in opposite directions, and despite Lam's origin story being connected to their falling-out, he is always on the periphery of the story, a necessary official perspective but never one that drives the action. It's easy to see the shape of how all of this should work, but it never becomes visceral until the script drops the big, obvious bombs.

It's disappointing, considering that the film is full of pros who should be able to make this work, from co-writer/director Herman Yau to the stars. Andy Lau, for instance, is capable enough in his return to the screen after a back injury, but never does much to connect the smooth financial operator we see in the bulk of the film to the messed-up triad soldier of the start until he's chewing the scenery gunning for revenge. Louis Koo is given a grandiose character to play but only occasionally comes across as maniacal in the way everyone else talks about Dizang being. Michael Miu, Karena Lam, Kent Chang, and a typically stacked Hong Kong cast fill in around them well.

All that quibbling about moderation or lack of conviction goes out the window when the bullets start flying. Director Herman Yau and his action teams (there are two action directors credited, one for firearms and one for cars) take a less-than-subtle "more is more" approach, but it sure as heck works. If one early raid is kind of frantic, the goals are fairly clear, and the actors sell the heck out of it; the folks making the next John Wick movie should talk with Michelle Wai's people for how confident her secondary character comes off in the middle of the chaos. The final chase winds up being absolute madness; almost certainly CGI-enhanced but still impressive in how it's stitched together, and just thrilling in how the choreography is massive but also precise, destructively pounding away at how the feud between Tin and Dizang spills out into the rest of the territory on top of inevitably destroying them. The Central Station sequence may not quite be an all-timer, but it feels reckless and massive, making an impression for both the apparent destruction and what it represents.

That final twenty minutes or so makes up for a number of faults that appear earlier, maybe not guaranteeing that fans of Hong Kong action leave the theater happy but certainly making it more likely. The title marks this movie as "another one of these things", and while it doesn't rise above that as a whole, it certainly end with a reminder of why some of us really like said things.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 07/16/19 01:54:31
[printer] printer-friendly format  

Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum


  12-Jul-2019 (15)

  12-Jul-2019 (MA)

Directed by
  Herman Yau

Written by
  Herman Yau
  Erica Li
  Eric Lee

  Andy Lau
  Louis Koo
  Michael Miu
  Karena Lam

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast