A Chinese Ghost Story II (1990)

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 09/08/2005
Summary: Disappointing sequel...

A Chinese Ghost Story II continues the story of Ning Tsai (Leslie Cheung) the tax collector and his undying love for Hsiao Tsing, the ghost from the original. As the movie starts, Ning is mistaken for a local criminal and is thrown in jail. There he meets an old writer and poet who shows him an escape tunnel the night before he is to executed. Back in the free world, Ning steals a horse and goes to hide in an abandoned house, which of course is haunted. The horse's owner, Autumn (Jackie Cheung) finds Ning and is drawn into the story when he is able to ward off malevolent spirits with his Taoist magic. However, it turns out that the ghosts are not real, but bandits led by two sisters, Windy (Joey Wong) and Moon (Michelle Reis), on a mission to save their political activist father from being executed by the emperor. Windy looks exactly like Ning's former love, so he is instantly convinced that he has garnered a second chance at happiness. The story meanders along as the group tries to rescue the father, protect themselves against the ghost living in the temple and battle a powerful false Buddha demon who is set to destroy the ruling body of China.

This is an incredibly unevenly paced movie, with the director seemingly trying to weave three or four major story lines one film and failing to succeed in making any of the interesting. You never really know which story you should be following, be it the love story between Ning and Windy, the rescue of the father, or the battles with the spirits and powerful false Buddha. Two of the story lines would have been sufficient to carry the movie, but instead it becomes jumbled. The acting is decent, with a very funny performance turned in by Jackie Cheung as the Taoist Autumn. Another glaring problem is the special effects. The monsters that the group battle look absolutely awful, appearing to be leftovers from bad 50's monster flicks. It seemed as if the filmmakers concentrate more on covering the monsters and actors with slime than coming up with good effects.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 06/28/2005
Summary: 6/10

A Chinese Ghost Story II was one of the very first Hong Kong films I saw (for some reason I had a tendency to see sequels before the originals at first!), and I thought it was great. Mostly I was just blown away by the stylised visuals, the amazing wirework (at the time I had no idea how it was done, and almost believed people could really fly in Hong Kong!) and the madcap invention of it all.

For some reason I didn't watch the film again until very recently, when Fortune Star released a remastered boxset of the trilogy. Unfortunately, after all these years the film in no way lived up to my expectations :(

Perhaps it's because of the comedy, some of which was very crude, and which didn't seem appropriate to the grace & beauty of the film in other respects. Or perhaps it's because of the scenes that felt like a cynical attempt to remind the viewer of the first film, as if the makers knew the 2nd film couldn't stand on it's own feet and they hoped you'd remember how much you enjoyed the first part and associate those thoughts with this one.

Or perhaps it's because the subtitle translation on the remasters is shoddy, and the sound mix has been tampered with to create a surround mix - by burying original sounds under crude new sound effects. Even the 'original Cantonese 2.0' track on the disc suffers from these unwanted "improvements", actually being a downmix of the new surround mix as far as I could tell. This very poor remixing of sound tracks seems to be the new curse for Hong Kong movie fans... in an age where the DVD manufacturers are finally paying more attention to picture quality they seem determined to ruin their product somehow.

So, perhaps it was a combination of these external factors (sound, subtitles and my memory of first seeing the film) rather than the film itself that led to me not enjoying it. I believe that Hong Kong Legends in the UK will be releasing the film later this year in another remastered version, that should at least improve the subtitles and hopefully the sound. I may give the film another chance then and perhaps I'll enjoy it more.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/19/2003

Beginning from when the first film left off, this installment sees Leslie going back to his hometown after losing his beloved. The town has been overrun by pirates and the cops mistake Leslie for one when they sweep the town and toss him into jail. After escaping, he meets up with Taoist priest Jacky Cheung, a mess of new evil ghosts and a woman who bears a striking resemblance to his lost love.

Like most sequels, A Chinese Ghost Story II isn't as good as the original, but happily in this case, it isn't a total wash-out. There is actually some movement of the story -- building upon the first movie without depending too heavily on it. The romance is de-emphasized in this installment in favor of supernatural action, which might disappoint some viewers, but I liked the fresh approach this film took. As could be expected under Ching Siu-Tung, the action sequences are imaginative and well-done, including some early use of CGI.

Reviewed by: balstino
Date: 05/02/2003
Summary: For once, a worthy sequel!

A bit more comedy in this sequel to the Tsui Hark classic. The girl's are great and the new characters very well developed. Maybe the end is a bit OTT with dodgy special effects but on repeated viewings, this film rivals the original!

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 01/26/2003

As sequels often go, this one is inferior; however, it has a sense of humor and doesn't suffer from pacing. As a director Ching Siu-tung can frame a picture and reignite the chemistry between the leads, but he can't get the lackluster script off the ground.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 02/13/2002
Summary: 'Hao'

A Chinese Ghost Story part II continues the story of the tax collector played by Leslie Cheung. He meets Jacky Cheung along the way this time, as they both go on to fight ghosts and evil creatures. There are enough reviews already for the story, and I will just add that to me this is as good as the original, I wouldn’t say better though.

Wu Ma & Waise Lee play the swordsmen who keep popping up, as did Wu Ma in the original. Joey Wong looks stunning again, as does Michelle Reis. The overall quality is much better, as is parts of the story. Another wonderful Chinese Ghost Story, well worth seeing. Leslie Cheungs theme song ‘Lu Sui Ren Mang’ is again featured in this which incidentally is probably my favourite Leslie Cheung song (I like a lot of ‘Canto-pop’). Also, Sally Yeh's theme song from the orignal movie is played again, though I can't think of the name of the track, it's very nice.

Watching it again all these years later, it still looks just as good as it did then. A happy ending, unlike a lot of movies made at that time.


Rating [4/5]

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Trigger
Date: 06/15/2001
Summary: Better than the first...

The first film didn't quite make me a fan of the series, but I certainly liked this second installment. It had some great characters and was amusing and well-paced. I'll elaborate another time...

Movie Rating: 7/10

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 05/05/2001
Summary: The best of this GENRE!!

This is a VERY funny movie!! You'll laugh your head off!! I was very entertained with the comedy and fighting in this movie.
A must see if you like this GENRE!!


Reviewed by: alienlord
Date: 04/29/2001

Leslie Cheung and Joey Wong return once again in this enjoyable sequel which doesn't trash the imperial name of the original. Surrealistic scenes, suspenseful situations, and innovative production designs accompany the great performances by the cast. Although very good it still can't compete with the amazing beauty of the first installment. ***/4

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: ElectraWoman
Date: 10/12/2000
Summary: 7.5/10-Quite good, doesn't suffer from sequelitis

The sequel to Chinese Ghost Story is a lot different from its predecessor, but is quite good.

Our bumbling tax collector, Leslie Cheung, this time is mistaken to be a criminal and arrested. On hearing his execution, his prison mate helps him escape, and he takes off on a horse (which belongs to Jackie Cheung, who uses an innovative method to chase him). Cheung's mistaken identities continue when he meets with a group of rebels who mistaken him for a famous rebel scholar, and the painting as a cryptic message. Cheung is astonished at the resemblance one of the rebels, played by Joey Wong, has to his ghostly lover.

Unlike its predecessor, this film is just plain fun. There are rubber monsters galore and this time Cheung gets to do a rap (although not as good as the one in the first movie, IMO :) However I didn't feel the storyline were as well developed as the original, which disappointed me. Overall-sit back, relax and enjoy this lightweight offering.

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 09/14/2000
Summary: A definite must-see

This is THE movie which turned me from a HK movie fan into a fanatic.

It's hard to think of a genre which this spectacular film doesn't cover. Ghost, Flying People, Comedy, Horror, Action etc....

Tsui Hark and Cheng Siu Tung keep the rollercoaster whipping along at a breathtaking pace. The visuals are first-rate (apart from a few extremely tacky special effects and awful models !), there are unexpected plot turns at least every few minutes, and even a Taoist Rap !

See it and die.

Previously published review:
CLASSIC ! In 1991, this was THE film which turned me from a Hong Kong movie fan into a fanatic. From then until a month ago (late '97), this was my all-time favourite HK (now edged into 2nd place by the similarly-titled Erotic_Ghost_Story_2). This is a film clearly made to go absolutely all out to please and thrill an audience. All stops are pulled in this wild rollercoaster, and I can't think of a genre that it doesn't cover. Stunning colour and photography. Wild changes of pace. Characters suddenly and unexpectedly changing form all over the place. Leslie Cheung singing the hilarious Taoist Rap (worth the price of rental alone !). Joey Wong transforming into a corpse-monster, and Leslie scoring the job of transferring healing energy to her (mouth to mouth) before the change is irreversible. Every scene in which the fierce Swordsman Hu (looking like an Asian Kevin Kline) appears is just great. Pity he didn't get a place in CGS3. Not that this film is without faults. I'd love to have seen more of Swordsman Hu. The models of the monsters are appallingly cheap. And the film does go on too long at the end (I was exhausted after the first hour !). But these are only quibbles. No fan of HK film (or movies in general) should miss this one!

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

In this installment of the saga of the supernatural, four young people are caught in a tug-o-war of evil between an Imperial Wizard and a corrupt General. With the help of a kind Wizard, Ning escapes from jail where he was unjustly put. On the run, he meets a young scholar and two sisters who are trying to rescue their father from a corrupt General. Despite the presence of a corpse that just won't die, they manage to succeed. But this only leads to a run-in with the Imperial Wizard, who captures everyone but Ning and one of the sisters. With the help of a goddess, the two square off in a life and death battle with the Imperial Wizard and his Court.

[Reviewed by Rim Films Catalog]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Very good, comparable to the original in quality, but with a verydifferent plot line. Essentially, Ning (Cheung) stumbles upon a woman who looks exactly like Sian (Wong), watch the movie for the rest of the plot...

[Reviewed by Anonymous]