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The Detective 2 - Movie Poster
Original Title:
B+ jing taam

Hong Kong 2011

Crime, Thriller

Oxide Pang

Aaron Kwok
Liu Kai-Chi
Patrick Tam
Eddie Cheung
Ciwi Lam
Jones Xu
Wang Ziyi
Renee Lee
Gong Beibei
Rex Ho

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The Detective 2

Story: Private detective Tam (Aaron Kwok) has made a name for himself after having solved a high-profile case, but he is still waiting for some big assignments. However, his old buddy Chak (Liu Kai-Chi), who works at the police, contacts him and hires him as an consultant in a murder case. Soon the case turns into a series or murders, at least that's what Tam thinks, because after all there is no real connection between the victims and the modus operandi. Yet the killer seems to be familiar with police work as he doesn't just act very carefully, he also leaves behind hints that are supposed to be found by the investigators. Chak's superior isn't happy about Tam snooping around at the crime scenes and how dangerous the investigation really is becomes apparent when Tam is attacked by an unknown man. It seems obvious that the killer is schizophrenic, but that makes it the more difficult to predict his next moves. Will Tam be of any help in this difficult case?

Review: Sometimes we get sequels to movies we actually didn't ask for. "The Detective 2" is such a case and a problematic one at that. The film is comprehensible without the knowledge of "The Detective", in general it revolves about an isolated case, yet presents a cliffhanger at the end that points to a future third installemnt. After the second part we ask ourselves, in the same manner as before, why filmmakers even need to make a trilogy out of it?! Granted, the second installment once again is well-crafted (for most part), but the thriller story lacks anything outstanding, only the unusual detective bestows some flavor on the movie. But in the end this thriller can't really work out the way it should have.

The Detective 2 - Film Screenshot 11

The original title of the film indicates that the protagonist got promoted from a grade C+ detective to B+. And that's not that wrong after all, because Tam may still have some pretty awkward moments and at some points it's only Lady Luck that's responsible for any progression in his investigation, but all in all he delivers solid detective work. In fact, he often proves smarter than the police, sometimes he only needs to hold a dialogue with himself sitting on a park bench and suddenly new ideas pop up in his head. Still, the case isn't really special in any way, apart from a neat idea concerning the resolution there also aren't any surprises here. But even there it doesn't exceed a "neat". Somehow there is supposed to be stressed an analogy between Tam, who has grown up without parents, and the case around an orphan, but this simply gets lost somewhere along the way.

The Detective 2 - Film Screenshot 12

Generally, some of the results are pretty disappointing. From the start we are told parallely the story of a small boy who is our killer in the present. The fact that the modus operandi of the killer is so different in the many cases is simply explained by schizophrenia. Hmm... At least the atmosphere is just right often enough. Dark, polished pictures, interesting camera angles and an altogether gritty look - also thanks to the shooting in Thailand and Oxide Pang's team that is well attuned. But Pang is falling short of expectations concerning what he is actually capable of delivering for a while already, not only when on his own, but also when he works alongside his brother Danny, see "The Storm Warriors", which also featured Aaron Kwok. But Pang's horror movie roots ("The Eye") are clearly visible this time, too.

However, there are a few funny scenes that seem absolutely out of place, being accompanied by corresponding music. They simply don't match the movie's style and all in all even are outright alienating. The same applies to the soundtrack in general which permenantly pushes itself into the foreground and wants to make us believe that something exciting or dreadful is happening, even though we clearly see with our own eyes that there isn't! Things are a little bit better when it comes to Aaron Kwok's portrayal of Tam which is wacky in a subtle way as was in the first part, and we also get enough scenes that make us stare at the screen slightly perplexed. Those who know the first part won't be all to surprised about that, though. Anyway, it's obvious that Kwok had fun assuming the role of Tam again.

The Detective 2 - Film Screenshot 13

The ending hits you with a harsh surprise. But the way it is dealt with isn't satisfying. Here it becomes apparent that you can't empathize with the events taking place. "The Detective 2" remains a simple thriller after all whose story isn't told in a genuine way. Only the pictures look pretty appealing once again. Accordingly, Pang's work looks like a small movie that could be broadcast as evening programme and that just isn't good enough. Moreover, the heavy-handedly added promise of another sequel at the end - we didn't even digest the finale yet - doesn't whet our appetite. Why the first part was such a surprising success still eludes me and the second installment doesn't really do anything better. Only for fans of the genre or of nice images.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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