Saviour of the Soul II (1992)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2011-07-05
Summary: A journey to nowhere
The Ice Princess in “Savior of the Soul II” was the perfect role for Rosamond Kwan—as was Aunt Yee in “Once Upon a Time in China”, but for different reasons. In the movie under discussion she is the subject of a fevered dream, an obsession of Ching Yan leads him on a journey that can have only one end—his death—but one that he willingly undertakes. She had the kind of beauty in 1992 that would make a patriot betray his country or a monk renounce his religion. She was blessed with an almost too perfect comeliness.

This sums up all the good points in “Savior of the Soul II”, at least for an uninformed gwielo. I must have missed a lot of stuff that was funny or at least that made sense given the right context. It might have been like watching “Airplane” without knowing anything about the social, political and economic history of the United States in the five years before it was released: one knows it should be funny but also knows he will never get it.

The action scenes are no better than necessary—while they were planned and carried out with a lot of flashy camera work and constructive editing, we never saw more than Andy Lau failing good-naturedly to impersonate an action star. Lai Chi-Lam wasn’t obnoxious which puts him in the top half of juvenile players. Corey Yuen’s talents weren’t exactly wasted since he has appeared in front of and behind the camera in a few score really bad movies, but like the rest of the cast he seemed to be on autopilot for most of the film.

The idea of a quest for something unattainable resonates throughout Western and Eastern literature. Parsifal will never stop looking the Grail; Captain Ahab must pursue Moby Dick to the very end; Monkey will always undertake his journey to the west; Wile E. Coyote can’t give up his pursuit of the Roadrunner while he still has life in his body and an ACME Products catalog. Despite these masterpieces of the genre there is no guarantee that the quality of a book, legend, cartoon or movie will match the nobility of the theme that inspires them. While Andy is very noble at the end of “Savior of the Soul II” we haven’t been sufficiently involved in the difficulties he has to overcome during his quest. His honorable attempt to woo the now centuries old Ice Maiden fall flat and the movie just ends. I am not sure if watching “Savior of the Soul” would make this film any more meaningful or even comprehensible but after sitting through the sequel I have no incentive to seek it out.
Reviewer Score: 3