Thursday, May 05, 2011

DETECTIVE 2 - More of a Repeat than Sequel

THE DETECTIVE 2 (crime thriller in Cantonese)
Cast: Aaron Kwok, Liu Kai Chi, Patrick Tam and Beibi Gong
Director: Oxide Pang
Screenplay by: Oxide Pang and Pak Sing Pang
Time: 110 mins
Rating: * * (out of 4)

Liu and Kwok

PREAMBLE: Like its 2007 original (also titled C+ Detective, this sequel (alternately titled B+ Detective) is a Hong Kong movie set in Thailand. Most of its dialogue is in Cantonese - which kinda sounds weird in locations - and among the people - of Thailand.

Still, the main attraction here is Aaron Kwok, reprising his role as Tam, the dorky private eye who 'fumbles' his way around investigating murders.

SYNOPSIS: Tam (Kwok), the ex-cop turned private detective, is still trying to make sense of his parents' death. This is because a series of mysterious murders reminds him of his childhood. And as he 'assists' his cop buddy Chak (Liu Kai Chi) to solve the mysteries, against the wishes of Chak's boss, Inspector Lo (Patrick Tam), he discovers clues that suggest that the killer is psychotic.

And as Thai police start pulling in mental cases for investigation, the killings start piling up...

HITS & MISSES: The plot is so similar to the first movie that this one is more of a remake than a sequel. In fact those who have seen the 2007 film would get a feeling of deja vu as Kwok and Liu Kai Chi go through the same buddy-buddy repartee here. Director Oxide Pang's work here is erratic at best. He expands and repeats scenes of Tam's doggedness in his unofficial investigations and squanders the chance to heighten thrills in the murder sequences by cutting off abruptly at crucial stages. He makes no attempt to lend credibility to the plot involving the Thai police, making them look so incompetent and ignored.

Also Pang 'divulges' the killer after an hour into the movie - and the rest of the film seems to drag on and on to its predictable conclusion.

On the plus side, it is there is good chemistry between Kwok and Liu - and their friendship is one of the main strengths of the movie. Pang also manages to capture the gritty and sleazy side of Thailand - just as he did in the two Bangkok Dangerous films of 1999 and 2008 that he directed with his brother Danny. (Pic left: One of the unnamed stars of the movie)

THE LOWDOWN: More like C- Detective.


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