Brewing bromance with convenient plot turns

Louis Koo (far left) and Julian Cheung play cops who must work together despite their differences.
Louis Koo (far left) and Julian Cheung play cops who must work together despite their differences.PHOTO: SHAW ORGANISATION

REVIEW / ACTION CRIME

S STORM (NC16)

95 minutes/Opens tomorrow/2.5/5 stars

The story: There is something fishy about the betting on football matches taking place at the jockey club. To uncover the truth, investigator Luk (Louis Koo) from the ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) and detective Lau (Julian Cheung) have to put aside their differences and work together. Thrown into the mix are a skilled assassin (Vic Chou) and Lau's sister (Dada Chan), who is also the damsel in distress. The sequel to 2014's Z Storm. Boon Chan

I had forgotten about Z Storm, as the generic crime thriller had not left much of an impression. And sadly, the sequel to that forgettable flick does not fare much better.

The public service element of educating the public remains, except that this time around, it is less about the noble work of the ICAC and more about the dangers of gambling and the fact that anyone can fall into its clutches, including the cop Lau.

Scriptwriter Wong Ho Wa and director David Lam try to add a new dimension by introducing another police department and highlighting the differences between the elite ICAC with high-tech resources at their disposal and the lowly crime unit headed by Lau. There is some fun in watching how fiercely they each guard their territory.

There is also a brewing bromance between Koo and Cheung as their characters bond over how no one understands how tough things are for them.

Too bad there is no time for this or anything else to be explored. In addition to Chou (unconvincing as a killer) and Chan, there is also Ada Choi as another ICAC officer, Bowie Lam as a former ICAC agent-turned-jockey- club-security manager, not to mention the required villains of the piece.

To tie together all the characters, the story is drenched in lazy coincidences and oh-so-convenient plot turns.

Not the kind of storm that makes for exciting viewing.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2016, with the headline 'Brewing bromance with convenient plot turns'. Print Edition | Subscribe