Prison on Fire II (1991)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2005-09-01
Summary: Not quite as engaging as the first...
Chow Yun-Fat returns as the lovable prisoner Ching in Ringo Lam's sequal to the immensely popular Prison on Fire. In this film however, more of the focus is on Ching and his battles to see his young son in the real world. There were scenes which dealt with this in the first movie, but now they are brought to the forefront and the plot revolves around not only Ching's struggles with his fellow prisoners and the officials, but his fear that his son will grow up having never known his father. As with Prison on Fire, the conflict between two rival gangs (this time between mainland Chinese and Hong Kong Chinese) takes center stage, in addition to a twisted warden who uses conflict to eliminate certain prisoners. After being framed for a murder, the leader of mainland Chinese, Big Dragon (Wan Yeung) escapes from the prison by jumping into the surrounding sea and swimming to a nearby island. Having been denied to see his son too many times, Ching decides to join him, making the plunge as well. Most of the movie takes place on the remote island as the two men run from the prison guards and the warden, finding precious time outside the walls. Later, back in the prison, Ching once again finds himself caught between the two warring gangs, and must survive being made the scapegoat.

Although not quite as entertaining as the original, Prison on Fire II is a good movie, with quality performances turned by Chow Yun-Fat (no surprise there), Tommy Wong (who returns as Ching's friend Bill) and Wan Yeung as Big Dragon. A familiar face from the first film even makes a surprise appearance in the movie's final scene. The stand-off scenes are just as exciting as the original, but the picture as a whole lacks the punch that the first had. In fact, most of the best scenes don't take place in the prison but on the island where the two convicts are hiding. Although it can't match the original, Prison on Fire II is still a good watch.
Reviewer Score: 7