CTHD was such a monumental movie it probably didn’t need a sequel. But we have one, so how did it fare?
In a nutshell, it is diminished but different. Different enough for you to think of it as a new film rather than a sequel. It has lost the cinematic and epic quality of the original with a far more made-for-TV feel. And as a made-for-TV movie it is very good. The action and spectacle is top notch, as a CGI China provides an exhilarating background against which the story unfolds.
Michelle Yeoh is still in fantastic form, but Donnie Yen--of whom I’m a big fan--just doesn’t measure up to the calibre of Chow Yun-Fat, and provides little more than a redemption arc for Yeoh’s character.
Adopting an all English script has taken away the mystique and the whole production feels far more western. The action, although plentiful and modern with its direction, lacks the breathtaking intensity of the original, where they seemed to do more with less. Story-wise, the dual love stories are reproduced but have been watered down. In general, it feels like a rebranding for a younger audience.
If I hadn’t seen the original, I would walk out thinking it wasn’t too bad, but not understanding what all the hype was about.