And so our non-standard route around this franchise reaches its conclusion with a look at the first sequel. Will it be as special as the first film? Will it have the humour of the third? Or will it fall a little short as the fourth?
I’m glad to say that “Her Fatal Ways 2” is actually pretty darn good. Shih-nan starts the film back on the mainland, having been rewarded for her exploits in the previous film by being made something akin to a Chief Constable. Her nephew still assists her, but the gang is bulked up by a beefy if possible simple Martial Artists, Tiger (Michael Chow – in a very fetching false beard). The cousin of her love interest from the first film, who also happens to be a Police Officer (Waise Lee) gets involved with a murder, which leads on to another visit to Hong Kong, and drug/gun running and triads!
The set pieces are of a good quality – and interestingly even those which are repeated in the third outing (Karaoke and Airplane Flights) still work well and are amusing enough second time around (well for me anyway!). The addition of Michael Chow works well, not just in the physical/action scenes, but also as another comedic foil – he works especially well in a couple of scenes he shares with Alfred Cheung. What makes all these films stand out to me is the way the comic set pieces are never stretched beyond the point they cease to be funny – the joke stops when it is made and the requisite chuckles have been extracted from the audience.
What is less successful is the romantic angle – Waise Lee’s character never really sparks with Do Do, and whilst it does work when he is making her uncomfortable with his physical presence, the charm from the first movie is absent. Only for a few moments when she is asking after his cousin do you really get that emotional undercurrent which served the finale of the first film so well.
The other interesting thing is how competent Shih-nan has become, along with how much more seriously (for comic effect) the ESP talents of her nephew are. They really come to the fore in both a casino scene and in the final shoot out. It actually feels correct that this should be so, and stops the film becoming a constant fish-out-of-water joke fest.
Again the subtitles are pretty poor, and I do wonder how much of the word play I am missing out on. Many of the conversations make little sense in English, and I am certain I am not getting a lot of the cleverness of Do Do’s lines.
However – it is Highly Recommended – not the sheer class of the original, and maybe not as funny as the third, but certainly well worth a watch.