Cold War II Blu-ray Review
Written by Robert Gold
Blu-ray released by Well Go USA
Directed by Longman Leung and Sunny Luk
Written by Longman Leung, Sunny Luk and Wai Lun Ng
2016, 110 minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray released on December 6th, 2016
Aaron Kwok as Sean Lau
Tony Ka Fai Leung as M.B. Lee
Chow Yun-Fat as Oswald Kan
Charlie Yeung as Phoenix
Eddie Peng as Joe Lee
Janice Man as Bella Au
Chang Kuo-Chu as Peter Choi
Aarif Rahman as Billy Cheung
Cold War (2012) tells the story of the Hong Kong police force tracking down a missing Emergency Unit (EU) van and its crew being held hostage. It is revealed that Joe Lee, son of Deputy Commissioner M.B. Lee, is responsible for the crime and pressure mounts to bring him to justice. Although the hostages were recovered, the EU van was not. By the time of the sequel, there has been a major shake-up in the department and a new Commissioner is at the head. Cold War II (2016) begins with the funeral of a fallen officer and the decision by the newly promoted Commissioner, Sean Lau, to locate the vehicle that led to all the trouble before criminals can use the equipment to their advantage. Lau’s family is kidnapped and the villains call for the immediate release of Joe Lee. He agrees to meet their demands and is forced to take full responsibility when the plan goes sideways and the prisoner escapes custody. What follows is a political thriller that dives into the power struggle being waged by a small number of men manipulating the top brass at the police department. How deep does the corruption go, and will Commissioner Lau hold onto his job long enough to eliminate this threat to his beloved city?
Directors Longman Leung and Sunny Luk return to expand on their complex narrative and bring back some familiar faces in front of the camera as well. Aaron Kwok (Storm Riders) stars as Sean Lau and brings an intensity to the role that is needed to carry the picture through its more bureaucratic moments. Tony Ka Fai Leung (Savior of Soul) is a fitting foil as M.B. Lee, a man shamed by the actions of his son and determined to regain his lost sense of dignity. Chow Yun-Fat (Hard Boiled) delivers a strong supporting performance as Oswald Kan, a successful legislative representative who enjoys solving problems without being dependent upon anyone, including the police. The rest of the cast does a fine job maintaining the tension as the stakes continue to rise. What is primarily a legal thriller turns deadly serious following an amazing car chase that leads to a tunnel shootout at the one-hour mark. The remainder of the picture is filled with scenes that ratchet up the suspense as the villains grow more violent in their attacks on the police.
Cold War II is an interesting and ultimately entertaining film that picks up immediately after the events of the first picture. My problem is that the original Cold War is not readily available and it took some time to catch up on everyone’s role. A lot of characters are given brief text-based introductions, but this is almost pointless given the number of people being identified. If the majority of the cast are returning for this sequel as I suspect most are, it may be easier to follow along when screened as a double feature. My confusion is not necessarily the fault of the movie or the domestic distributor, but in my defense, by releasing only the second half of a larger story, I am at a disadvantage trying to keep up with all of the activity. Further complicating matters is the complexity of some of the dynamics being waged within the political system of the city and the police department. As I stated earlier, I found this title entertaining and cannot say enough nice things about Kwok or Chow, since these guys dominate every moment of their screen time. I wish only that I could see the first half of this engaging tale.
Video and Audio:
Cold War II is presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and looks every bit as good as a contemporary film should. Colors are strong and black levels are solid with plenty of small-object detail.
Four audio options include a DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 mix in both Mandarin and Cantonese. There is a lot of activity and audio levels remain well-balanced throughout. Dialogue remains clear and free from distortion while the subwoofer comes to life during the explosive action scenes.
English subtitles are included for anyone in need.
A collection of short behind-the-scenes featurettes offers a look at the making of the film through a series of interviews with cast and crew intercut with footage shot on set of both rehearsals and some of the more impressive stunt work. Each featurette runs approximately two minutes, which is a bit frustrating without a basic “play all” option.
A theatrical teaser and full trailer offer a look at the marketing campaign for the Cold War II.
Trailers for additional Well Go USA releases are also included for your viewing pleasure.
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