The first “Project A” was an enormous success in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, with the emperor of Japan insisting for Jackie Chan to shoot a second part, a request that was eventually met. The result was a Part II, although Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao did not appear in this, because they were shooting the film “Eastern Condors.”
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The story continues where the first part left off, with Sergeant Dragon Ma given the task of cleaning up crime and corruption in one of the roughest districts in Hong Kong, Sai Wan. His placement, however, has another purpose, since the local government puts an effort to strip Superintendent Chun, who is in charge of the police districts in three areas, of some of his responsibilities, as they are sure that he has been staging the arrests that have made him famous in Hong Kong. Dragon soon realizes that the whole department he was assigned is corrupt, and quickly proceeds on engaging Tiger Ow, the kingpin who dominates the area, with the help of the marines. As Superintendent Chun proves a rather cunning opponent, Dragon also has to face a revolutionary cell that acts in the area, a team of pirates who want to exact revenge for the death of their former leader, and agents of the Empress Dowager, who have an agenda of their own.
Probably the absence of two of the “Three Brothers” led Jackie Chan to include (along co-script writer Edward Tang), a number of sociopolitical comments, dealing with the “resistance” of the Chinese people towards the British Empire, the meddling of the mainland in Hong Kong affairs and the corruption that dominated the area. This aspect stripped the film of the impressive rhythm its predecessor had; on the other hand, it induced it with more depth, which made this part more than an action flick.
The conception and implementation of Superintendent Chun’s character, who is the most analyzed among the two parts, also move in the same direction, with Dragon having to face an opponent that attacks him in non-physical ways for the first time. David Lam is impressively despicable in the part. Furthermore, the presence of women roles with some substance at least, also adds to the quality of the movie, with Maggie Cheung, Rosamund Kwan and Carina Lau providing a quite welcome break from all the testosterone, even if eventually they end up in damsels-in-distress parts.
However, the aforementioned do not mean that the action aspect is toned down. To the contrary, the action scenes are many and quite impressive, once again highlighting the prowess of Jackie Chan and his stunt team, both in the choreographies and the various stunts. Particularly the last one with the crushing building is quite impressive and very dangerous, on equal quality with the clock scene in the first part.
Jackie Chan is once again in top form in all of his roles (director, stuntman, actor) with the scenes in the hotel and the final sequence highlighting his abilities in the best way.
Add to all that, much comedy, mostly deriving from the pirates and the sequence in Chief Tung’s house, and you have the gist of the film.
“Project A: Part 2” may not be as great an action comedy as its predecessor, but is also a great movie, which provides much entertainment and more depth than its predecessor.