When I heard about Chasing the Dragon II: Wild Wild Bunch, I was curious about its predecessor. Apparently, it stars Donnie Yen and Andy Lau, but here in America, we don’t really have much access to that 2017 release. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t watch a sequel without seeing the original, but this was different since it’s not a direct sequel. It takes place about thirty years after the first one and doesn’t feature the same cast of characters,
Based on the real-life crimes that shook Hong Kong in the 1990s, Chasing the Dragon II follows Sky (Louis Koo), an undercover agent given the task of infiltrating a notorious and dangerous gang. Led by Logan (Tony Leung Ka Fai), the ruthless gang mainly take part in criminal activities that include human trafficking and abducting children of Hong Kong’s elite. While earning his way into the gang is tough for Sky, uncovering their plans and surviving the entire ordeal may prove to be impossible if he slips up at all.
From the beginning, there’s a pretty quick pace set by Chasing the Dragon II. It’s no surprise to see things move quickly early, but this speed is maintained throughout the entire first act. During this time, the film is busy establishing the lead and showing us the goals that he must accomplish. Once that’s done, we move right into the next phase of the movie without much need to wait.
Into the second act is where you begin to see things settle down just a bit. It never slows too much because the characters are constantly moving even when the story is growing stagnant and proving to be thin. At this point, our protagonist is doing what’s necessary to earn the trust of the gang. He’s also doing what he can to remain in their good graces. We also get to see him do his best to maintain his cover as he takes on a number of risky acts that threaten to expose him.
Some of this stuff we get during this portion of Wild Wild Bunch is typical, but it fits into the story they’re trying to tell. It also helps that undercover agent Sky is dealing with high-level criminals with brains. This places him in a difficult situation with not too many easy answers. In cases like this, a movie could lose steam, but that doesn’t happen in this instance due to them being able to generate intrigue and suspense by having smarter than usual villains.
Aside from the pace and the constant movement forward, another reason why this part works is because of the twists and turns. With this being about an agent going undercover, you knew this kind of stuff would be included. It works well here because none of what we get is too outlandish as they always seem to fit within the logical parameters of the film. This allows most of what we get to flow in a more seamless manner.
As far as the final act, the twists and turns work in the same way, but the movie is moving at a faster pace again as everything around the protagonist speeds up. This part of the film heads into action/adventure territory more than the first two acts. So while it felt connected to the other two acts, it also has its own approach as the stakes are being raised to the highest levels they could possibly reach here.
The fact that Chasing the Dragon II doesn’t waste too much time on all the stuff we’ve already seen before kept me in the movie. They set things up and chose to keep it all moving forward in various ways. That’s what I would usually want in cases like this because you’re not giving us a lot of new things and some of us would probably prefer you just skip over some certain rather than simply relying on the same stuff we’ve seen over and over again.
Rating: No Rating
Tony Leung Ka Fai
Lam Ka Tung
Film Length: 100 minutes
Release Date: June 7th, 2019
Distributor: Well Go USA
- Score - 7/107/10