In 2013, the veteran director Benny Chan gave us the spectacular action film “The White Storm” which honored the best heroic bloodshed films Hong Kong madein the 80s and 90s. This year the sequel: “The White Storm 2: Drug Lords ” arrives, at the hands of Herman Yau, another veteran director who does not need any introduction.

The White Storm 2: Drug Lords is released in UK cinemas 12th July from Cine Asia

As is usual in some franchises of this type, the continuity is different, which is why it has nothing to do with the previous one. Louis Koo repeats his part in this installment, and he is accompanied by Andy Lau, Michael Mui, Chrissie Chau, Kent Cheng and Kar Yan Lam among others.

The story begins in 2009 in Hong Kong, where the criminal gang of Ching Hing controls much of the city. This criminal gang, led by Yu Nam (Kent cheng), has an essential rule: No drug dealing. Yu Nam has two right hands at his command: One is Dizang (Louis Koo), a charismatic and intelligent leader; and the other is Yu Shun-Tin (Andy Lau), a loyal man with alcohol problems. One day, the gang lord Yu Nam learns that in one of Dizang’s districts there is drug trafficking, so Dizang is punished with several of his fingers cut off by Yu Shun-Tin himself, and expelled from the gang by Nam. From there, the two business brothers split up to go in different directions.

Now is the year 2019, and Yu Shun-Tin has left the world of crime to engage in altruism and legal businesses. On the other hand, Dizang has become one of the most important drug lords in Hong Kong, and he does not plan to stop until he obtains the monopoly of the drug business in Hong Kong.

“The White Storm 2: Drug Lords” offers an authentic action spectacle that will undoubtedly please those who enjoyed the previous installment in 2013. You know the films of a franchise are laudable when you can’t decide which one is better, and this is due to the fact that each one offers something slightly different, while maintaining the essence and style. While the previous film delivered a more spectacular and frenetic action, this second installment has more defined characters and focuses more on the internal and external conflict of the characters themselves, offering a great conflict to the main plot. The action is well dosed throughout the film, and it’s great quality action, but the element that stands out in the movie is undoubtedly the drama and the characters.

On the other hand, the pacing is held in the best possible way. The hour and a half run time of the film helps it as a whole, within an industry where the majority of blockbusters last up to 2 hours, and frequently even more, without needing it. The script takes its little time to define and develop their characters, and that’s commendable. Furthermore, on the top of the cake are definitely the actors. Andy Lau is incredible as always, giving a believable and charismatic performance through the whole picture, and besides him Louis Koo plays the bad charming guy that has all under control. Among the secondary characters, Michael Miu plays a policeman who will be very important to the story, being also one of the best performances of the movie.

In addition, the cinematography and the camerawork deserve special attention. The cinematographer Man-Yin Ngai takes you to very dark places with his gray color palette, delivering a gritty and interesting atmosphere to the whole. And although there are not many action set pieces as you can expect, they are very well choreographed and are completely fun to watch. Pay special attention to a sequence involving cars inside a subway station. Remember the car shootout sequence in John woo’s “Bullet in the Head”? Well, the final act here will make you remember that better in case you had forgotten.

Overall, “The White Storm 2: Drug Lords” serves as a satisfactory and entertaining action summer blockbuster with an authentic pleasing story and acting. Probably its biggest flaw is that it is a somehow short experience, in the sense that the film hasn’t given you enough and you want more from it. If they make a third installment, I will stay with open arms waiting to receive it.

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Born in Spain in the early 90's. Anime has been with me all my life and i became a film lover on my mid-teen years. My interest and love for asian cinema especially began a couple of years later when i watched two specific films: Hard Boiled and Chungking Express. Since then, i'ts been non stop. I really fell in love with the style of Hong Kong action cinema and with all kinds of films from Japan, South Korea, China and Thailand. There's something very special in all these asian flicks: A unique style, originality, grittiness and passion. It's a whole new world. You can follow me on twitter: @PeterPayne9