Hong Kong cinema's best sequels

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In a year of blockbuster sequels and reboots, Jasmine Chan picks out some of HK cinema’s best sequels of this century

People often debate whether a sequel or continuing installments of a popular franchise are necessary. It’s a gamble that risks spoiling a franchise or letting down the expectations of hopeful audiences think Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull or the Matrix sequels. However, if it surpasses expectations The Godfather Part II, The Dark Knight the rewards can
be tremendous. 

2015 is definitely the year of reboots, what with the new James Bond movie Spectre, Terminator Genisys and Star Wars: The Force Awakens all on the horizon. That’s without mentioning the likes of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Mad Max: Fury Road, which have already passed through cinemas this year. To celebrate this year of continuing franchises we highlight some of HK cinema’s best ever sequels.

Infernal Affairs 2 (2003)
The runaway success of 2002 film Infernal Affairs quickly prompted the makers to expand the story. A mere one year later, the prequel/sequel that is Internal Affairs 2 hit screens. Set in the period between 1991 and 1997 in the lives of moles Lau (Edison Chen) and Yan (Shawn Yue), this crime thriller focuses heavily on a conflict between rival triad gangs. With production values equally as good as the previous, the film is visually impressive. The enhanced sound effects and strong colours highlight the clarity of this Hollywood-style film, while managing to retain a true Hong Kong feel. It’s no surprise it nabbed the title of ‘Best Film’ at the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards and led to a third installment being rushed out that same year.

Golden Chicken 2 (2003)
Comedy queen Sandra Ng is probably best-known for her role as Kam, the hooker with the heart of gold, as part of the Golden Chicken (chicken is Cantonese slang for hooker) franchise. The sequel is set in 2046 (a humorous jab on the Wong Kar-wai film of the same name), where Kam is now an 80-year-old prostitute. She encounters a young man (who happens to be her estranged grandson), who wants to wipe out all his mental anguish by taking a memory loss pill. Kam convinces him to reconsider and regales him with a story of Hong Kong’s resilience in overcoming the economic crisis and the social trauma of SARS, which was taking place the year the film was made. The film was a hit because it made us laugh, tear up, but also reminded us about the fortitude of our city. It touched upon a unified social conciousness. 

Election 2 (2006)
Election 2 is one of those rare gems that many consider superior to the original. One of Hong Kong’s greatest contemporary directors, Johnnie To, along with A-class cast members Simon Yam, Louis Koo and Nick Cheung put together this classic gangster thriller, which received international attention when it was screened at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. The film shadows the dark side of Hong Kong triads but it’s the twist it puts on democracy within a local context that is the film’s real strength.

Overheard 2 (2011)
This movie puts a unique spin on sequels by having the same cast as the original Louis Koo, Sean Lau and Daniel Wu play different roles with an entirely new storyline, while at the same time retaining the key elements of the first. A crime thriller about vindictive vigilantes versus investors who manipulate the stock markets, Overheard 2 focuses on classic Hong Kong cinematic themes of greed, loyalty and revenge. They all add up to create an exciting storyline that’s as worthy of your attention as the one that came before.

Upcoming sequels 

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II:The Green Legend
After a 15-year wait, a sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is finally almost ready. Based on the fifth and final book of the The Crane-Iron series, this sequel should wrap up loose ends and give us the fate of the Iron Knight, son of Jen Yu and Dark Cloud from the previous film.

Due West 2
A sequel to the first stereoscopic soft porn movie, Due West 2: Our Sex Vacation is about the sensual adventures of a young Hong Kong couple in mainland China. 

Iceman 2
Three of the imperial guard’s best friends betray him and try to hunt him down, but in the process get frozen in time. 400 years later, they are revived in a strange world. 

Initial D World
Based on the popular Japanese manga, Jay Chou continues his role as Takumi Fujiwara, the young delivery boy who becomes a famous drift racing legend.

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