Running Out of Time 2 (2001)
Reviewed by: bcrain on 2002-05-13
Written by: Brad Crain

I'm sure many people are going to say that this film is not as good as the first one, and they would be right. Many
people are going to say that Ekin Cheng is not as good as Andy Lau, and they would be right.....

However, if for nothing else, watch this film for Lau Ching-wan's wonderful performance. He is truly one of the greatest actors in the world. In the last 6 months, he has portrayed a bra designer (La Brassiere), a hip-hop mahjong conman (Fat Choi Spirit, which I have not yet seen), and an ace police negotiator (Running out of Time 2). His performances, including this one, are always a joy. In this film, he is funny, edgy, exasperated, tough, and cool. I thoroughly enjoyed
him.

Regarding the film itself, the plot revolves around a Robin Hood-style thief who steals precious art for a ransom, and then challenges a police negotiator to a game of "catch me if you can." The plot is simply an excuse to set up some "cool" scenes between Ekin and Lau, and most of these scenes worked for me. I particularly enjoyed scenes revolving around a smoke bomb in a police station and an extended chase scene which culminated with both participants on bicycles. I was
also surprisingly touched by the resolution of a small subplot involving Lam Suet's gambling addicted character and Ekin. This subplot was important to me as it finally allowed me to feel some sympathy for Ekin's character. Some elements of the film didn't work as well for me. The inexplicable speaking of English in various scenes, the ever-present eagle, and the stupidity of Lau's boss immediately come to mind. Those annoyances aside, I enjoyed this film. Lau Ching-wan was wonderful and director Johnnie To included some signature style. Finally, regarding Ekin Cheng, I
thought he was quite good in the film even though his character was not as interesting as Andy's in the original. While you're giving this sequel a chance, give Ekin a chance too.