S.P.L. to watch the sequel, which juices up a standard issue – if convoluted – police-and-thieves story with spectacular martial arts sequences.
Violent cop Ma Jun (Donnie Yen, reprising his role) has been warned by internal affairs that he needs to rein in his tendency to beat the hell out of suspects. But Detective Sergeant Ma isn't interested in procedural niceties: His duty is to fight criminals by any means necessary. Ma's partner, Wilson (Louis Koo), is currently on a dangerous assignment, having infiltrated a smuggling gang consisting of three Vietnamese brothers: Mastermind Tony (Collin Chou), sociopath Tiger/Hu (Xing Yu) and volatile smoothie Archer Sin/Zha (Lui Leung Wai). Tony has been working for crime boss Sam/San (Ben Lam), but he intends to take over all Sam's operations. Wilson, meanwhile, starts seeing Julie/Qiu Di (Fan Bing Bing), mostly because the isolation of living undercover is driving him crazy. Tiger is sent to murder Sam, but doesn't finish the job; from his bed in intensive care, Sam tells Ma and Wilson's boss, Inspector Wong/Huang (Kent Cheng), that he wants to turn state's evidence. Unfortunately, by this time the brothers have figured out that Wilson is a cop and try to kill him. Though they fail, he loses a leg. The police manage to arrest Archer, but Tony and Tiger escape and vow to spring him. Three months later, shortly after Wilson is released from the hospital with a prosthetic leg, they return to make good on their promise.
All is just the run-up to Tony and Tiger's increasingly violent – if occasionally comical – rampage against everyone who might be able to send Archer to jail: The sheer nuttiness of planting a primitive remote-controlled bomb inside a delivery of take-out chicken isn't diminished by the mayhem when it finally goes off. It goes without saying that everything is leading to the showdown between Ma and Tony, and for martial arts fans it's worth the wait. Donnie Yen is famous for combining martial arts traditions into his own unique fighting style and Collin Chou, who studied with Sammo Hung, is up to the task of holding his own. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh