Running Out Of Time II (2001)

Disappointing sequel
Reviewed by Simon on 2002-01-21

Latest from Johnnie To and Milkyway, a fairly loose sequel to Running Out Of Time with Ekin Cheng (who isn't actually Running Out Of Time at all) replacing Andy Lau, and Lau Ching-Wan playing the same basic role. It basically treads the same ground over again, but with the tension and cool of the first part replaced by a little bit of camp and a little bit of "oh dear". Kelly Lin plays a hard-assed business woman whose insurance company is blackmailed by Ekin (and whose all-Chinese colleagues choose to conduct their meetings in stilted English for some reason). She doesn't want the police involved because the publicity will hurt their upcoming merger, but Lau Ching-Wan has been tapping her phone for some reason anyway, and tells her he's going to help her whether she likes it or not. Which coincidentally happens to be exactly what Ekin wanted and expected, as he wants to make LCW his unwitting assistant in crime.

The plot to the movie is flaky, to say the least, and seems too consciously to be trying to reproduce the first movie - several of the "cool" scenes are taken almost directly from the first ROOT. Other scenes are just embarrassing... sitting watching Kelly Lin and Lau Ching-Wan chasing a CG bald eagle around the streets of Hong Kong I really found myself wondering "why am I watching this?". The movie is only 90 minutes, but I was checking my watch and ready to leave by the half way mark.

If it wasn't a Johnnie To film, and wasn't the sequel to ROOT, I'd probably have enjoyed it a lot more as nicely filmed (and soundtracked) slightly camp & dumb fun. As with Fulltime Killer last year though, ROOT2 suffers from the high expectations that Milkway Image created with their first batch of intelligent and sophisticated action thrillers, which it fails to meet. I get the impression that To has definite career plans (perhaps not just for himself, but for the HK industry as a whole) and these are at the fore of his mind when he directs a movie now. If he just focussed on making a good, clever movie again I think he'd be more likely to meet success.

Best moments - all of Lam Suet's scenes. Worst moments - the eagle, the buoy, the tightrope, every scene with English spoken, every scene with Hui Siu-Hung hamming it up.

See it anyway, you'll always be curious if you don't, but don't expect something on the same level as ROOT, The Mission or A Hero Never Dies.