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HK Neo Reviews: The Detective 2
webmaster-301722 November 2011
Some films just do not warrant a sequel and Aaron Kwok's 2007's The Detective certainly did not ask for one. Still, here we are with the follow up. The problem with this film is that it tries far too hard to be mysterious, but the premises and the crimes itself, is not interesting enough for a sustained retention. Discounting these negative as usual any film directed by Oxide Pang means impressive visuals. The good news is that good performances from Aaron Kwok, Liu Kai-chi and the much missed Patrick Tam, tend to save the film. For a film in the detective genre, it is different. While different doesn't equate quality, this film isn't exactly bad either. However, I am not looking forward for The Detective 3 though…

Neo rates it 6/10.

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More of A Remake Than A Sequel
changmoh4 May 2011
Like its 2007 original (also titled "C+ Detective"), this sequel (alternately titled "B+ Detective") is a Hong Kong movie set in Thailand. Most of its dialogue is in Cantonese - which sounds rather weird in locations of Thailand and among its people.

Still, the main attraction here is Aaron Kwok, reprising his role as Tam, the dorky private eye who 'fumbles' his way around investigating murders.

Kwok plays Tam, an ex-cop turned private detective, who is still trying to make sense of his parents' death. This is because a series of mysterious murders reminds him of his childhood. And as he 'assists' his cop buddy Chak (Liu Kai Chi) to solve the mysteries, against the wishes of Chak's boss, Inspector Lo (Patrick Tam), he discovers clues that suggest that the killer is psychotic.

And as Thai police start pulling in mental cases for investigation, the killings start piling up...

The plot is so similar to the first movie that this one is more of a remake than a sequel. In fact those who have seen the 2007 film would get a feeling of deja vu as Kwok and Liu Kai Chi go through the same buddy-buddy repartee here. Director Oxide Pang's work here is erratic at best. He expands and repeats scenes of Tam's doggedness in his unofficial investigations and squanders the chance to heighten thrills in the murder sequences by cutting off abruptly at crucial stages. He makes no attempt to lend credibility to the plot involving the Thai police, making them look so incompetent and ignored.

Also Pang 'divulges' the killer after an hour into the movie - and the rest of the film seems to drag on and on to its predictable conclusion.

On the plus side, it is there is good chemistry between Kwok and Liu - and their friendship is one of the main strengths of the movie. Pang also manages to capture the gritty and sleazy side of Thailand - just as he did in the two "Bangkok Dangerous" films of 1999 and 2008 that he directed with his brother Danny. Verdict: More like C- Detective. (
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A Nutshell Review: The Detective 2
DICK STEEL23 May 2011
There's no Me Panda opening here, so out goes the original treatment of the story of Aaron Kwok's stumbling detective Tam we got ourselves acquainted with in C+ Detective which involved some supernatural elements right up Oxide Pang's alley, and in comes something that's more serious in tone and treatment with an upgrade of sorts to a B+, although the narrative was found to be wanting, with key elements from the first film that made it successful doing a disappearing act, much to the detriment of fan-converts.

A celebrity now amongst the police and private investigative circles picking up from where we left off, Tam and his cop buddy Chak (the evergreen Liu Kai Chi) find themselves embroiled in yet another serial murder spree involving seemingly unrelated victims and indecipherable motives. They are as random as can be, which forms the main crux of the pursuit of justice for both Chak, staring down a possible promotion even though he's now working under the much despised Inspector Lo (Patrick Tam), and for Tam, another shot at cementing his reputation. Expect the usual red herrings thrown up in any investigative thriller, and there you have it, except that this time round Tam doesn't have any push from the supernatural as invisible assistants.

Which is one of the key ingredients that shouldn't have been totally removed, because it made deduction and rationalizing of clues a lot more interesting than having Tam sit on a park bench and, well, talking to himself. It makes for a better visual spectacle where Oxide Pang could have milked moments to make you jump at your seat, otherwise it was rather morose when Tam needed to go into deep thought. But that's not to say Kwok did a bad job. In fact, he continues to showcase his acting and dramatic chops here, and while I was never a fan of his to begin with, he has earned my new found respect as a serious actor who's constantly improving.

And his chemistry with Liu Kai Chi is what buddy cop movies are made of, sharing this impeccable bond on screen that made their exploits believable, and moving in some ways even, as the killer, for reasons only known to writers Oxide and Thomas Pang to decide on revealing his identity just before the midway mark, pushes both men to the boundary, and perhaps I shall say on one hand permanently decided on how any follow up movie can progress from here, and on the other provided some much needed emotional sucker punch as the sympathizing moments for the killer just didn't cut it as much as the filmmakers had tried. In fact that came out a little hokey and quite unbelievable, that the intent involving the lesser of two evils could have pushed someone over the edge completely.

Shot in Thailand, you can imagine why Oxide Pang continues to revisit his hometown because of the richness in character that the country, and Bangkok in particular, bring to the visuals, through the many dimly lit alleys and corners, and cluttering of space that makes the film look extremely claustrophobic and uncomfortable, the sort of environment that our detective thrives in. Technically this film is remarkably beautiful for its dark visuals and twisted tale, and no fault here in the craftsmanship of the filmmakers, made up of a Thai crew including those involved in post production, to bring about that sense of dreadedness that befall our hero at every turn. The gory and creepiness factor got brought over from the first film with that signature framing and cutting away from the most violent and horrific of scenes, and that provided some level of consistency brought from the first film if not to keep you glued to the screen.

But ultimately this film seemed to wear on as it plodded to the inevitable finale, which was an unsatisfying conclusion since Oxide Pang destroyed what was essentially the saving grace of the film featuring the friendship between two firm friends established from C+ Detective, and instead chosen to open doors to a cliffhanger that leads onto the next film, if it does indeed gets made. If it was an intended trilogy, and a promotion at that of Tam to A+ finally coming of age and maturity in his handling of cases, then it is most unfortunate that B+ Detective fell prey to the middle movie syndrome in not being able to keep up with expectations set by its predecessor.

A+ for atmosphere, technicalities and acting, but a firm D in its storyline that seemed hobnobbed together in a desperation for closure.
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The title here may be "B+" instead of the original's "C+", but this sequel with its lazy plotting is more than a grade down from the original
moviexclusive21 May 2011
What do we remember of Oxide Pang's 2007 movie "The Detective"? Well for one, it was one of the very few movies from the Pang Brothers that didn't suck- thanks to an intriguing buildup, some nice character acting from Aaron Kwok and a gritty but lively setting down in Bangkok, Thailand. It seems reasonable then that Oxide would attempt to make a sequel to the movie, since it does count as one of their most successful efforts outside of "The Eye" series. But alas, despite an equally campy but entertaining performance by Aaron, "The Detective 2" falls way short of its predecessor's standards.

Aaron once again plays the showy private detective Tam, and like the original, the case before him is a string of murders that has been seemingly committed by the same person. While the first movie brought out a tightly plotted investigation, the mystery here is far less satisfying and perhaps no more than a half-baked attempt at connecting the dots. Indeed, how else would you describe Kwok's private detective Tam's rationale for thinking the killings are related just by the fact that the killer was trying to cover his tracks?

Endeavouring to maintain continuity with the first film, Tam is brought in by his old pal Chak (Liu Kai-Chi) who thinks that their successful partnership may once again yield the same analytical insight as in the past. Oxide tries to convince his audience of this, but even with the benefit of hindsight, it's hard to buy into this when all Tam does is walk around the crime scenes and then just somehow put it all together in his head. Sure, Tam is again using his camera phone to take pictures of the crime scene, and piecing it together with his blackboard scribbles, but the connection Oxide tries to draw is too convenient.

In fact, it seems as if Oxide himself were aware of this- he sets up a parallel story thread involving a young schoolboy who develops an obsession on his older sister and who becomes prone to violent outbursts whenever he sees her with another guy. Right from the beginning, it's clear that said young boy is somehow connected to the murders, and true enough, the revelation when it comes is too predictable. Equally disappointing is the motivation behind these killings, more abstract than in the first movie, and undoubtedly less convincing.

Oxide has also apparently pandered to the Chinese market, so unlike the original, there isn't any supernatural twist here which made the mystery the first time round more fascinating. There are hints of Tam's past as an orphan after both his parents went missing, but that is quickly forgotten for the most part of the movie, and then perplexingly revived at the end to set up the possibility of another sequel. Ditto for Patrick Tam's supporting role as a chief inspector Chak is made to report to, the supposedly tense relationship between the two fizzling out all too quickly.

As if to compensate for the lacklustre story, Aaron's tendency to overact seems to have gone into overdrive. While certainly not as bad as the utterly deplorable "Murderer", there is a distinct sense that Aaron is straining to give his character more depth than the screenplay allows- especially in the climax where Tam comes face to face with the murderer holding Chak hostage. Still, Aaron exudes the same playful charisma he did in the first movie when he isn't trying too hard to emote, and manages to carry the whole movie with the able help of veterans Kai-Chi and Eddie Cheung (who plays a psychopathic suspect).

Unfortunately for the film too, Oxide goes for a less down and dirty feel compared to the first film, and the result is a movie that loses the visual style which enhanced the original. Couple that with a less than satisfying mystery, and a pared-down performance from lead star Aaron Kwok, and you'll find that this sequel is yet another disappointing entry in the Pang Brothers' filmography lacking in the very elements which made the first movie an unexpected success.

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