Review: Detective Chinatown 2

[Image: Sorry there’s no image, I already wasted enough time to write a synopsis for this potentially great film tainted by too much poo. ]

Verdict:  A sequel whose quality lives up to the original, with a tight, intriguing detective story and almost no wasted plot points.  Unfortunately, the humor moves from voyeurism and verbal misogyny to straight-up sexual harassment from the leads, and ended with a  huge  f- you to the audience  from the director Chen Sicheng that made me decide to never see another movie by him again.

In Detective Chinatown 2, scriptwriter-director Chen Sicheng proves himself once more as a talented scriptwriters and directors, but also the  misogynistic jerk we all know he is. The sequel features a whodunnit story that’s just as compelling, full of plot twists, and sharply written as the first one.  Tang Ren (Wang Baoqiang) and  ( Liu Haoran) once shine as the buddy cop pair, this time joined by the welcomed addition of Xiao Yang, the new guy framed for a series of mysterious murders in New York City.

Unfortunately, the story’s treatment of its female characters left me with so much bitter taste it’s hard to enjoy it.   With two women in fridges, multiple sexual harassments and one incident that I think looked like sexual assault by Tang Ren, a cheap plot of “she-left-me-for-money” to get rid of the former female lead (Tong Liya), the story was oozing with misogyny.

*spoiler below*But what really ruined this for me was the way Chen Sicheng treated  Ah-Xiang, the love interest in the first film played by  Tong Liya, Chen’s real-life wife.  Earlier in the film, it was mentioned that Ah-Xiang had left the male lead for because she wanted to marry rich. She does not appear in the film, paving the way for a new love interest for Tang Red to sexually harass.     

Then, in a mid-credits scene, Ah-Xiang appears in an expensive-looking outfit, a drastic change from season 1.  Tang Ren sees her and is clearly hoping she had left her husband for him. It turns out the rich man she had married was director Chen Sicheng himself. Ah-Xiang was not given a chance to explain why she chose to marry him. Instead, Chen takes Ah-Xiang as if he owns her, looks at the male lead and said I’ve been looking for you, and proceeds to beat him up.    End scene.

If you follow Chinese gossip, you would know that last year, Chen Sicheng was caught on camera cheating on Tong Liya  with a budding actress.  Especially given that he doesn’t have a clean slate on cheating ,  netizens were critical and wished that she would leave him, perhaps as Tang Ren had hoped in the film.

The way Chen treated Tong Liya’s character like property, beating another man for merely talking to her, and the way he set it up so that she only stayed with him for his wealth felt  like not only a a huge middle finger to the audience, but also a power play against Tong Liya. To me, his message was clear : you can hope that she divorces me all you want, but I’m rich so your goddess is just another one of my properties. Well, Chen Sicheng, I rise my middle finger to you, too.

7 thoughts on “Review: Detective Chinatown 2

  1. Chen Sicheng is a huge jerk but I’ve got to wonder, why would Tong Liya even agree to make an appearance in this movie. I’ll be quite insulted if I where her. And are they still together together or just “together” aka not divorced.

  2. Ahh I didnt know Director Chen Sicheng is like that. I hope Liu Haoran won’t work with him again :/ please no more sequel of Detective Chinatown after this, but I heard there will be third installment filmed in Tokyo. Ugh. I feel like Liu Haoran kept being stuck with Chen Sincheng somehow since he’s the one who found him and make him popular through his acting debut with Beijing Love Story. And since Detective Chinatown hit big, sequel couldnt be avoided. Liu Haoran is so nice and pure he deserves better than continue to work with misogynistic and shady director. I’m afraid that he will get into trouble or negative influence from working with him, God forbid.

    Even for their first film, I don’t like it’s cheap sense of humour. The detectives storyline is the only thing that is quite interesting. If it weren’t for Liu Haoran, I won’t even feel like watching the sequel. I’m glad that Liu Haoran’s character isn’t problematic for the first film though, hopefully his character stay unproblematic for the second sequel. While for his cousin character, I really hate him. So immature, not responsible, not serious and gross. I just hate the way he talks, i don’t get with the sense of humour the director trying to do with the way he talks. not even funny, sounds annoying to me. even stuttering LHR’s character isn’t that annoying.

    Thank you for the review. Although I know I’m gonna hate it’s humour sense again just like I had with the first film, I’m still going to watch it, only to support LHR. *praying circle there will be no more sequel. pls just end it here*

    • I was talking with someone else who had already seen it, and they said that Liu Haoran was like the genius side of Chen Sicheng while Tang Ren was his inner creep. The first one was tolerable since it was mostly verbal (maybe because his wife was the female lead?).

      LHR’s character continues to be the stuttering, awkward cutie that he was in season 1. God I hope he leaves Chen’s company.

      Unfortunately there will definitely be a sequel given the fact that it has already made a profit in the two days it has aired. There’s a chance it may overcome Black Panther’s domestic opening at a fraction of the production costs.

      It’s just so sad because Chen is easily the most talented mainland writer/director for commercial films, but he’s so disgusting.

    • I’ve been waiting for this review, since I’ve been reading mixed reviews about the movie. Yes, after watching the trailers (and the movie part 1) and reading people’s comments, the thing that concerned me the most was the director himself. I sincerely hope that Haoran wont get the negative influence from him.
      My sympathy goes for Tong Liya.

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