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.
Sleek cinematography, perky editing and several stunning locations enliven the proceedings, but a finale that telegraphs “Cold War 3” is disheartening.
‘Cold War 2’
In Cantonese with English and Chinese subtitles
Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes.
Playing: In limited release