Fong Sai Yuk II (1993)
After the success of the original Fong Sai Yuk it was inevitable that a sequel would be produced. FONG SAI YUK II picks up a little after FSY left off, with Fong Sai Yuk (Jet Li) now a junior member of the Red Flower Society. He's taken under the wing of resident coward Li Guobang (director Corey Yuen) and given special favour by the society chief (Adam Cheng). This earns him the enmity of the rebel element of the society, who seek to take control from the chief and turn the society to less patriotic ends.
Fong Sai Yuk's love interest (Michelle Reis) has followed her man, and it's not long before his mother (Josephine Siao, for many the real star of FSY1) turns up to make sure her son is getting by.
When Fong Sai Yuk is sent on a mission to recover a secret box from the Japanese, he meets a beautiful governer's daughter (Amy Kwok) who falls for him. Since the box ends up in her dad's hands, Fong Sai Yuk is sent on a mission he never expected - to seduce the daughter and get the box back.
FSY2 is a little more serious than its predecessor, since Fong is now caught up in the nation's politics from the start of the film. It still spends plenty of time on comedy, however, with Josephine Siao providing most of the laughs. The film tries to squeeze in many of the elements that made the first film so popular, without simply doing a retread of the plot. It still ends up feeling rather less fresh as a result, though.
There's slightly less action in FSY2 than in FSY1, suggesting it was probably made to a tighter schedule. There's some good sequences though, with the highlights being Jet Li fighting on a river with a paralyzed Amy Kwok stuck to his back and an inventive finale.
Jet Li seems to have fun in the role, which he has often said is the character he can most identify with. The rest of the cast also fit their characters well, but for me the best performance was from Amy Kwok. This cute actress seems very talented, but appears to have been in very few movies. Perhaps she does more TV work.
The film fails to quite capture the broad spectrum of emotions that the original evoked, and doesn't provide any set piece moments that are quite as memorable. It's definitely a lesser film, but still pretty good. It's worth mentioning that this was the first HK film I saw, and it was enough to turn me into a passionate fan, so even if it doesn't hold up as well now that I've seen a lot more, it is certainly an entertaining work that shows the unique style of film-making you only get with any success in Hong Kong.