Monday, October 10, 2011

A Chinese Ghost Story 2

Shortly after the events of part 1, our goofball hero Ning is mistaken for a criminal and jailed. Ning escapes, only to find himself in another case of mistaken identity, where a group of rebels (led by a woman who looks exactly like the departed heroine of the first film, naturally) mistake him for a wise elder sent to help their cause. Soon Ning is once again forced to do battle with the forces of evil.

Much like the original Chinese Ghost Story, part 2 is an irresistibly silly, imaginative hybrid of kung-fu, fantasy, horror and comedy. I suppose, like most sequels, it represents a step down in quality by virtue of the fact that it loses some of the original's freshness, but I'd venture to guess that if you liked that one, you'll like this one. Until the bonkers finale, it doesn't seem as much of a nonstop special effects extravaganza. In fact, much of the middle of the film involves the heroes fighting the same, unconvincing-looking (but still awesome) monster over and over again in various scenarios. But what it may or may not have lacked in budget, it makes up for in imagination, as the seemingly defeated monster keeps coming back with more outlandish attacks, usually coming back with fewer limbs each time.

Another note: the love story here is a little odd. As I mentioned above, the female lead is played by the same actress who played the deceased romantic interest in the original. She's not supposed to be the same character or a reincarnation, she's just a woman who looks exactly like the other woman. It's never really explained, and somehow she still ends up falling in love with Ning even though you'd think maybe she'd find it creepy that he likes her because she looks like his dead girlfriend. I don't know, just a weird detail, I thought.

Grade: B

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