Prison on Fire II (1991) Review

"Prison on Fire II" Chinese DVD Cover

"Prison on Fire II" Chinese DVD Cover

Director: Ringo Lam
Producer: Ringo Lam, Karl Maka
Cast: Chan Chung Yung, Chow Yun Fat, Victor Hon Kwan, Frankie Ng Chi Hung, Elvis Tsui Kam Kong, Tommy Wong Kwong Leung, Yu Li, Ng Kwok Kin, Roy Cheung You Yeung, Vincent Wan Yeung Ming,
Running Time: 109 min.

By Numskull

This here sequel reunites director Ringo Lam, writer Nam Yin, star Chow Yun-Fat, and a few supporting actors in another episode in the topsy-turvy life of #41671. It’s not as good as its predecessor, but few sequels are.

There’s a bit of a political struggle here, with the cons from Mainland China at odds with the ones from Hong Kong…”Hongkies.” Our hero Chow Yun-Fat (of the latter group) becomes the object of the Mainlanders’ hostility when all he really wants is to ensure the safety and happiness of his motherless son. Between that and the circumstances of CYF’s wife’s death being revealed, the film really tries to play up to the sentimentality of its audience. The nerves that Nam and Lam attempt to touch are raw ones, but their efforts may strike some as mere pandering to the basest of emotions while the civil feud between the two Chinese factions ultimately seems rather pointless.

The problems don’t stop there. Chow escapes from prison not once but twice, with so little difficulty that it’s a wonder why half of the other inmates haven’t done it already. As in the first film, there’s a lovely scene where Chow takes a shit with some charming sound effects for accompaniment, and the part where he and the “boss” Mainlander frolic in the water naked as the day they were born is just plain wrong.

Perhaps worst of all is the Category IIB Universe DVD’s very noticeable “time warp” during the scene where Chow stabs one of the villains in the eye with a sharpened toothbrush. Since this is the only version of the film I’ve seen, I suspect that the most graphic shot…the actual penetration…has been removed. This pisses me off. Reminds me of the missing female ass cracks from Mega Star’s Category I DVD of Armour of God 2: Operation Condor. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

Despite these flaw, Prison on Fire II is a pretty worthy follow-up that retains much of the original’s overall feel and spirit. Recommended to fans of the first for the sake of completeness.

Numskull’s Rating: 6/10

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