(This is The White Storm 2: Drug Lord film review, which is a thematic sequel but features new characters and storylines from its predecessor)
HK Cinema has never gotten far from themes of triads, guns, police and drugs. And The White Storm 2 is essentially another entry that makes full use of those themes. Except this time it features 2 of the biggest HK actors – Andy Lau and Louis Koo.
It is not a direct sequel to the first film, as it features an entirely new storyline and characters, and not much link to the original. The film is directed by Herman Yau and also features other casts such as Michael Miu, Karena Lam, Kent Cheng and Cherrie Ying.
Without further ado, let’s delve down to the The White Storm 2: Drug Lord film review below!
When two ex-brothers from the same gang split up due to an incident involving the drugs, they go on separate path and pursue their conflicting goals. One aiming to be the biggest drug lord, and one aiming to kill all drug lords. Who will emerge victorious?
The White Storm 2: Drug Lord Film Review
The premise itself is pretty formulaic that is now pretty commonly seen in HK films. The stories of triads and police have never gotten old in the harbour city. Now, it is essentially similar in storyline where we can tell who is the bad guy and good guy straight away.
I actually enjoy some of the cliché premise that has been rehashed so many times
So, there is not really any surprising twist and neither is there any mystery involved. And the film knows this as it focuses on its strengths, which are the action sequences by banking on its biggest stars. With that said, though this film has a predictable premise, the execution is pretty well done.
Perhaps its due to the great actors’ talents in bringing out the characters, but I actually enjoy some of the cliché premise that has been rehashed so many times. The film contains some ups and downs of the characters, but overall, it’s just decent and not original at all.
Pacing is pretty great where the film moves fast and put in action sequences at just the right amount. It also knows when to slow down for some emotional moments that make this film enjoyable. It’s only the middle portion got dragged a bit as the good and bad guys come into sort of a stalemate.
VFX is another unexpected feast for me. I did not think they will spend so much time and effort on this film. Firstly, I have to say the special effects are pretty high quality. There are very memorable scenes involving 2 car chases that starts from the road all the way down to the inner MTR – the underground train in HK.
this is really over-the-top and actually makes this different a bit from the usual
Man, this is really over-the-top and actually makes this different a bit from the usual HK action drama films. Normally it’s all happening in an abandoned building or on the street, but this film takes it to the next level. Some of the scenes do look a bit fake, but the atmosphere and tension that it create more than make up for it.
Now that is how you use VFX to make things bigger and better, especially for HK action movies.
The characters themselves are cliché. You can find similar characters across most of the HK action cinemas that deal with the same theme. But here, I like them, and it’s because of the actors themselves.
And Andy Lau is great at acting cool and badass, but also looking calm and clever
Andy Lau’s character is a man who vows to kill off drug lords due to his childhood and also deaths of family members from drugs. His experience is relatable to the audience and his motive is clear and simple. Though some will say it’s too black and white, most of us, or at least I, still like his approach of dark justice.
His character, Yu Shun Tin, just looks cool, badass and calm in his demeanour. Especially the parts where he plans out everything in order to wipe off all drug lords. And Andy Lau is great at acting cool and badass, but also looking calm and clever. Not a lot can pull this off.
Then there is a scene where his wife is killed by a stray bullet and man, that is something that is akin to John Wick. The hidden anger behind a calm emotionless face from Andy Lau just increases the tension by folds, and make the movie feel more emotional and also exciting. The film also makes his character as straightforward as possible, totally at odds with the antagonist.
Louis Koo is the bad guy, and also a pretty black and white, in that though the whole incident started from a misunderstanding, he becomes a bad guy through and through. I like his character as a Drug Lord who is the total opposite of Andy Lau’s character.
Louis Koo’s character is nicknamed Jizo, which ironically refers to a Buddha. And he is cunning but also easily angered. So when the two met, it creates a division that is easily felt by the audience. The way he talks and handles stuff are all acted well and felt natural, not really too much of a cringe at all.
As for the police side, Michael Miu acts as a police officer who wants to eliminate all drug lords by law, but he is forced to protect them instead. So the film wants to present him as a normal everyday man that tries his best to capture criminals legally. And also to show the law loopholes.
But sadly, the film does not pay much attention to this and instead, focuses too much on Andy Lau vs Louis Koo. Which is a pity as I felt that with the addition of a third character, it could be more exciting and also makes people think of the current law situation in HK.
Soundtrack is just decent but nothing memorable. The soundtrack for the action scenes are pretty typical, and there is a theme song sung by Andy Lau and Louis Koo but that too is some forgettable one. Soundtrack is the part where HK action movies have never been great at, and this film follows its predecessors in this department.