This time it's more than just cop(s) and robbers, it's corrupt officials, CIA... it's a pretty big deal!
The CIA are (as it is later revealed) attempting to sell drugs to buy weapons for Latin American rebel forces so that their own country's strength increases. I'm surprised they had the guts to pull a plot like that! But I'm glad they did, and it turned out great... and did I mention Donnie Yen jumps in on the action? I'm not as happy with his role in this movie as in his latter ones, but he does pack a punch. And weapons too. He packs a lot of stuff.
Also worth mentioning is the final fight with Michael Woods towards the end, his second appearance ever! Seems like I've almost watched all of his movies now, and his fights are all great, and that two-step flying kick is becoming his stigma. Somehow they all end with him dying in a bizarre way though, but I spoke about that earlier, must have to do with how tough he looks. Unbeatable. Buff like a firetruck. HAH.
Apart from the fight with Woods, Michael Wong also makes a new appearance! In the first movie he played a good guy, now, he plays a bad guy, and he seems like an entirely new character. The more you watch these old HK movies, the more you realize how certain actors just keep appearing everywhere, but it's fun seeing them again, they become like old friends for each movie you see.
And the movie's great. When I see the 1989 in the title I'm thinking 'of course it is', twas the pinnacle of action, I was born for stuff like this! Yupp, HK action at its finest.
rated 4/5: fo shizzle
Donnie Yen and my DOB year and maybe the epitome of the ITLOD series! Hell yeah.
Though Cynthia Khan really is the highlight of the show. The cop with compassion. The athletic beauty I might've at some point confused with Michelle Yeoh, with an emphatic kind of bad-assery that makes her come across as pretty much the perfect woman. Or person. What an ideal main character. What a great movie. What stunts, too!
There's a Michael Woods fight at the end of this one as well, where Donnie Yen once again faces off against this beast-like badass, and gets thrown all over a rooftop until... well, maybe you know of Michael's fate in movies as such at this point. His untimely demise. But this one might've been the most fluent; most realistic fight so far. They mix up the choreography a bit, and end it with one brutal armrush at the end. It's fantastic.
Watching these in close conjunction again I wonder if maybe the reason he didn't land more roles - or eventually get to play a main character one - might've been either because of his limited repertoire, or lack of personality, or how maybe he didn't play along as well with the Asian dudes. Maybe threw them a bit harder than he was supposed to. Seems like Donnie can handle it but what about others? Maybe he tired too, or actually got hurt with one of those throws?
There always seems to be a bit of a divide with the native/non-native character fights in HK movies, in how fluent you perceive the action sequences to be, and how naturally the transitions go.
But Michael's definitely a stronger contender than the girl.
You enjoy the fights though, limitations or no, and there are definitely some other good ones along the way this time!
Last time I watched this one I also didn't catch on to how badly they portrayed the US. Big flags and all. CIA and all. You'll appreciate the nod if you see this. I hope. In real life CIA did fuel the drug trade as to grow their budget, and I'm glad they picked up on as controversial a theme here.
But the best parts of the movie are really Luk's and Yeung's interactions, like when they went to see his mom. Such feels. Loved that scene.
And I love this movie. The chemistry. The characters. The fights and all. The eighties soundtrack and style. And the brutal; soul-crushing seriousness of the situation too every now and then...
It may not always be perfect but I'd watch it more than just once more.
The main strength seems to be how effortless the chemistry feels. How great a person Cynthia Khan really is. Self-sacrificing and true. The plot progression's a solid one too. The stunts are real. It feels like Donnie's mere presence probably upped everyone's game a bit too - this was just around the time he started blowing up.
All things considered this one actually feels worth a:
rated 5/5: friggin awesome