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Review: Hong Kong sequel ‘Cold War 2' is a glossy, forgettable procedural

“Cold War 2"
Eddie Peng Yuyan in “Cold War 2.”
(WellGo USA Entertainment)

It’s comforting to know that Hollywood isn’t the only place that produces needless sequels to box-office hits. Case in point: “Cold War 2,” the underwhelming follow-up to Hong Kong’s highest-grossing domestic film of 2012.

“Cold War” directors Longman Leung and Sunny Luk, who co-wrote here with Jack Ng, reunite to revisit the power struggle between a pair of Hong Kong Police Department rivals — Sean Lau (Aaron Kwok), who’s now chief commissioner, and M.B. Lee (Tony Leung Ka Fai), the fallen deputy commissioner — set against a backdrop of crime, politics and ethics in “Asia’s Safest City.” 

Lau acts for the department’s management; Lee represents the force’s scrappier operations arm. These split factions account for much of the story’s “us against them” dynamic plus a roster of one-note characters so dizzying they require on-screen titles to differentiate their jobs. 

Although it contains its share of diverting shootouts, car crashes and explosions, this self-serious film mostly evokes a forgettable TV police procedural. This is especially true of the movie’s talky, confusing second half, which wends its way through a maze of internecine warfare involving a dubious ex-police commissioner (Chang Kuo-chu), a smug investigating officer (Aarif Lee Rahman), a harassed publicist (Charlie Young), a pivotal judge (acting vet Chow Yun-fat) and others.

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Sleek cinematography, perky editing and several stunning locations enliven the proceedings, but a finale that telegraphs “Cold War 3” is disheartening.    

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‘Cold War 2’

In Cantonese with English and Chinese subtitles

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Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes.

Playing: In limited release


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