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Xiaowu and Lianzhu are eloping together when they find some women being captured. They set off to help but fall into a series of traps set by the Red Lotus Clan. Lianzhu is captured by Xiaowu returns home to seek help from the rest of the Gan family - which is just what the Red Lotus Clan were planning for. Written by
bob the moo
I was a little thrown at the start of this film as it jumps right into the middle of a fight sequence without a word and it took me a few minutes to look up that this film is a sequel and thus I was going to be at a bit of a disadvantage in terms of the story. This didn't last too long though because basically the plot see Xiaowu and Lianzhu (as my subtitles called them) eloping together when they find some women being captured. They set off to help but fall into a series of traps set by the Red Lotus Clan. Lianzhu is captured by Xiaowu returns home to seek help from the rest of the Gan family which is just what the Red Lotus Clan were planning for.
As a plot it isn't too complicated once it gets moving and the story itself is mostly pretty good. The tone of the film is rather uneven though good in some ways but odd in others. Firstly it must be said that the violence is quite tough at times, stagey perhaps but there is blood and quite cruel deaths throughout. The action isn't quite as well staged as I have seen, so this tough edge does help, even if the henchmen fall too easily and the film does lack a sense of danger in many of the scenes, still engaging but not as impacting as I would have liked. The actual telling of the story is rather melodramatic. This has the effect of slowing down the action a bit, but it does make it feel like a "proper" story as well. As a mix it doesn't really work even though bits of it do.
Those looking for cheesy genre laughs will be disappointed as this approach does mean there isn't much in the way of flamboyance or fun to be had. The cast are solid and are better at the melodrama than I had expected, with some good performances. The villains of the Red Lotus Clan provide some color but sadly do not have as much time as I would have liked.
Overall the film doesn't quite do it for me in any one way but is good enough as a whole to be worth a look. The blood and tough edge is good, while the melodrama provides structure it is just the mix of them that makes the film a bit uneven and at times it is hard not to wish it had been darker or lighter just to move it away from the middle ground.
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