The White Storm 2 Drug Lords
t.l. La tempesta bianca 2 – I signori della droga
掃毒2天地對決 (Sou Duhk 2 Tin Deih Deui Kyut)
Hong Kong, 2019, 100’, Cantonese
Directed by: Herman Yau
Script: Erica Li, Eric Lee, Herman Yau
Photography (color): Joe Chan
Editing: Azrael Chung
Art Direction: Renee Wong
Music: Brother Hung
Producers: Andy Lau, Alvin Lam, Esther Koo, CK Wong
Cast: Andy Lau (Yu Shun-tin), Louis Koo (Dizang), Michael Miu (Lam Cheng-fung), Karena Lam (Michelle Chow), Kent Cheng (Chief), Cheung Kwok-keung (Ming), Carlos Chan (Jack), Michelle Wai (Apple), Jun Kung (Cho Tai), MC Jin (Cho Ping), Cherrie Ying (Ca), Chrissie Chau (Ching Mei), Elena Kong (Cheung Ching), Gordon Lam (Secretary for Justice), Sam Lee (drug pusher), Gil Mohindepaul Singh (Abbas)
Date of First Release in Territory: July 16th, 2019
Premiere status: Italian Premiere
Hard-core vigilantism is on the cards in Herman Yau’s The White Storm 2 Drug Lords, a strong entry in Hong Kong’s line of pricy modern-action thrillers. The film hit screens as a sequel of sorts to Benny Chan’s 2013 picture The White Storm, a flashy work that saw Hong Kong cops target a Golden Triangle narcotics boss. While the hard-drugs theme and lead actor Louis Koo reappear this time around, the ties between the two films largely end there – viewers who missed the first round needn’t rush to catch up before seeing this one.
Andy Lau and Louis Koo star as onetime gangland brothers now turned on each other amid a highly public drug war. Back in 2004, Yu Shun-tin (Lau) meted out bloody punishment on drug-dealing Dizang (Koo) before leaving the triad scene and moving into high finance. Dizang, however, stuck with crime and went on to become a major drug trafficker, cloaking his shady dealings with a pork business. When Yu sees his son die high on drugs, he swears to take justice into his own hands and stamp out Hong Kong’s top narcotics sellers, including Dizang, in a series of brazen hits.
Once Yu gets cracking on his crusade, The White Storm 2 hits its stride as a top-tier Hong Kong thriller.
Scenes of the drug war unfold with gripping gunfire, chases, escapes and more. And the speedy, no-nonsense approach doesn’t let up until after Herman Yau and his team go bananas with a grand finale of cars speeding through a crowded underground train station. Balancing out the action come more gentle moments, like scenes of Yu’s troubled situation with wife Michelle (Karena Lam), and the script nudges viewers to consider meatier matters like the idea of doing away with wrongdoers without proper trial. (Notably, Yu finds inspiration in the Philippines’ extrajudicial killings of drug dealers and addicts.)
Andy Lau adds major star power to the proceedings as the hyper-focused anti-hero, while Louis Koo, seemingly ever-present in major Hong Kong productions these days, appears to have fun with his role as a flamboyant drug peddler. Other performances are similarly colourful on the wrong side of the law, with other drug kingpins coming across as an amusing bunch in their brief scenes and Kent Cheng playing it honourable as a veteran triad. The actresses ultimately hold peripheral roles, but among them Karena Lam and Michelle Wai manage to score stronger moments onscreen.
As The White Storm 2 unfolds, the film’s anti-drug messaging can get heavy-handed – a move that perhaps helped smooth the film’s way into mainland Chinese multiplexes. One triad heavyweight in particular shares Yu’s grave disdain for the narcotics trade and others are seen being deeply affected by its ills. But ultimately Yau’s picture aims to deliver blockbuster-style thrills, and on that count it succeeds. Once the action mayhem escalates to extraordinary levels, The White Storm 2 more than compensates with raw entertainment.
Born in Hong Kong in 1961, Herman Yau majored in film at Hong Kong Baptist College, graduating in 1984. Yau directed his first feature, No Regret, in 1987 and since then has had a prolific and diverse career in film, TV, music videos and publishing. In addition to co-founding several cultural newspapers and magazines, Yau has also been a regular columnist and has self-published books. Best known internationally as a director of exploitation and genre features in addition to socially conscious works, Yau is also active as a director of photography and producer.
1987 – No Regret
1993 – The Untold Story
1998 – Troublesome Night 3
2001 – From the Queen to the Chief Executive
2006 – On the Edge
2013 – Ip Man – The Final Fight
2015 – Sara
2017 – Shock Wave
2019 – A Home with a View
2019 – The White Storm 2 Drug Lords