Written by Jayce Ching & Edited by Dave Ong, Ervin Llobrera, Mark Yu
Cold War 2, an action thriller film centered around members of the Hong Kong Police Department against the corruption of the political elite, is the sequel to highly acclaimed multiple award-winning Cold War. Strong and impactful at first glance, it boasts of a very influential and formidable cast full of well-known and veteran actors: Aaron Kwok, Tony Leung, and Chow Yun-fat to name a few. With such an impressive cast and the overwhelming success of its predecessor, expectations are incredibly high, but I can assure you that this movie did not disappoint.
The movie starts off with explaining the aftermath of the events in the first movie, wherein Sean Lau (Aaron Kwok) ascends to the position of police commissioner of HKPD after MB Lee (Tony Leung) stepped down to prepare for his retirement after surrendering his son, culprit of the crimes from the previous film, to the authorities. However, said son’s freedom was exchanged for the life of Lau’s wife, the news of which caused an uproar amongst the citizens and the authorities, casting a bad light over Lau and the HKPD. With Lee’s son at large, Lau and his team raise all efforts to apprehend the criminal, and in the process, learn that the roots of the crime spree run much deeper than they thought.
More often than not, action movies rely on a great deal of special effects and stunts, i.e. explosions, fighting maneuvers, car chases, but Cold War 2 took upon a narrative that compelled the audience to grip upon their seats in anticipation of whatever may come next. In this story of cunning strategies in the game of politics and justice, the suspense of the movie ultimately relied upon the choices the characters would make, rather than the actions they would take. Even with the audience watching in a third person’s view, the decisions of the characters remain ambiguous until they’ve set their plans to action. All the characters are intelligent and skillful in their own professions, yet it is how they play the game that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Family is a central theme in this movie and constantly underlines each character’s choice and motive. Lee and his son are prime examples of such: at the beginning of the movie, Lee’s son is shown to have a grudge on his father for turning him in, saying that Lee doesn’t hold family as a priority unlike Lau, who as the son had predicted, dropped too many protocols to be deemed acceptable to save his wife and daughter. Lee’s son was wrong in his assumptions about his father however, as the movie progressed and we find Lee’s actions actually revolved around the safety of his son – Lee making Lau promise that his never be killed in any of his operations – the promise striking a very clear bell that it should never be broken lest Lau wanted to incur Lee’s wrath, Lee turning his son in to prevent the younger from being killed, and later, asking his son to leave behind this life of crime and hiding and start a new life somewhere else, knowing that his son wasn’t the actual mastermind.
In the face of a war, loyalty is an invaluable asset, producing an impressionable layer of its own in the movie. Within a movie that not-so-subtly strives to leave a good impression of the HKPD upon the viewers, the police having the utmost loyalty to their commissioner showcases the credibility and strength of the HKPD. One of the most heart-wrenching moments of the movie depicts loyalty in its rawest form – leaving so much trust in a person and staying true until the end. In the midst of so much deceit and lies, such vulnerability and genuine trust left a great impact that even while surrounded by injustice and corruption, people still have the capability to lay forth all their hopes upon what and who they believe in.
Following the success and high acclaims of its preceding film, Cold War 2 did not come close to Cold War. Nonetheless, Cold War 2 is a great movie in its own right, filled with a variety of characters and gripping fast-paced scenes, with an emphasis on the importance of family and loyalty in spite of power. Other than the spectacular and riveting performances of the actors, the balance between narrative and action set the atmosphere of the movie just right, complementing the other in this action thriller film.