THE WHITE STORM 2 : DRUG LORDS
Directed by: Herman Yau
Starring: Andy Lau, Louis Koo, Chrissie Chou, Kent Cheng, Kiu Way Miu
In 2004, crime boss Dizang is made an example of by the godfather Yu Nam, for selling drugs in his nightclubs. He forces his nephew, Yu Shun Tin, to chop off three of Dizang's fingers. Shortly after, Tin implores his uncle to let him out of the gang so he can pursue a legitimate career. Meanwhile, a young policewoman is murdered in a drug raid, leaving Fung, her distraught husband to raise their baby daughter.
Fourteen years later, and Tin has become a self-made billionaire with the help of his wife, Ching-Mei, while Dizang has created his own drug empire, and Fung is now an inspector in Hong Kong's Narcotics Bureau.
After suffering a personal tragedy, Tin uses his wealth and power to embark on a covert mission to destroy the drug trade in Hong Kong, bringing him in conflict with both Dizang and Fung…
White Storm 2 might be a hard sell in the UK as its predecessor never got an actual release here. However, it is one of those films which is a sequel in name only, although it does have some familiar elements - it starts Louis Koo (albeit in a completely different role), it's story revolves around the drug trade and it contains amazing action scenes.
The plot and script writing is very heavy handed, with the melodrama turned way up to 11. The first thing we see is a younger Tin drunkenly fighting with his girlfriend and then pleading for her to stay (It's the catalytic moment that makes him ask his uncle to leave the gang). There are at least two set-ups which tell you straight away someone is going to get killed ("hey, hang back - you've just returned from maternity leave!"}. However, spotting these moments kind of adds to the enjoyment of the whole thing.
A trip to the Philippines sees Tin taking in the filipino President's assertion that the only good drug dealer is a dead drug dealer, so he hooks up with a couple of his old gang buddies to start a literal war on drugs. This leads to an amazing action set piece.
I've wondered out loud before if there were ever a drug deal in a movie which actually ended without some betrayal or raid by the cops, and this is no exception. However this time we have two factions, the cops surveilling them and then….
What occurs is complete carnage. Jaw dropping carnage. I was worried that maybe the film had peaked too soon, it was so good.
n amidst all the melodrama, this is a very, very violent film. I don't think I've seen a film with so many characters falling/being pushed to their deaths (at least 5), where we even see them hitting the floor with a sickening crack and thud. Once Dizang figures who's behind the attacks, things start escalatiing drastically. Especially the action.
So at the midpoint I mentioned the drug bust-gone-wrong. That has nothing on the carnage that happens at the end of the film. I realised, halfway through this mass or orchestrated destruction, that I was almost leaning out of my seat. It is just so damn good.
Herman Yau is a solid director, responsble for the infamous EBOLA SYNDROME movie but also the two non-Donnie Yen IP MAN films, A LEGEND IS BORN and FINAL FIGHT. He also directed the excellent thriller SHOCKWAVE (released in the UK as THE TUNNEL), which also starred Andy Lau. The cast is very solid with two entertaining leads. Both Andy Lau and Louis Koo always being their A-Game and this is no exception.
THE WHITE STORM 2 has a very heavy handed approach to its subject matter, hammering the point that "drugs are bad, m'kay?" over and over. It also loves the melodrama and lazy set-ups for certain underwritten characters' deaths in the film. However, when the action kicks in, all that is forgotten, as Herman Yau delivers two spectacular moments of carnage, death and destruction.
8 out of 10 RECOMMENDED
The White Storm 2: Drug Lords is released in UK cinemas 12th July from Cine Asia