Coming back for a second helping, Overheard 2 is the second of the series that stars Lau Ching Wan, Louis Koo and Daniel Wu with Alan Mak and Felix Chong returning to write the script and helm the feature film. While the first one was more idyllic and supportive in nature with the 3 playing cop buddies, this one is more antagonistic, abrasive and extreme with the 3 playing separate characters. In the first film, we get a look into the Hong Kong stock market trading whilst the 3 anguish between upholding the law or breaking it for their own personal gain. The second movie has an entirely different storyline and new characters but the setting is still the same as the Hong Kong stock exchange is where the central plot takes place.
Lau Ching Wan stars as Manson, a successful stockbroker who has been brought into the fold of a very exclusive group of powerful stockbrokers led by the mysterious Tony. One day, in his Ferrari, he notices he's being followed and from there on, a car chase ensues. Playing the chaser is Joe (Daniel Wu), who has been watching Manson's every move with wiretapping equipment. Manson tries to evade Joe but gets into a car accident when a truck blindsides him and crashes into the Ferrari. This leads the police to investigate and finding a bug in Manson's car, they call in Jack Ho (Louis Koo), captain of the Security Bureau division, to head the investigation. What Jack uncovers is a trail of deception, corruption, greed that ultimately weaves the trio's lives together.
All 3 main actors turned in astounding performances. Lau Ching Wan once again does a wonderful job as the sly broker who struggles between remaining humble with the wife but shrewd in business dealings. He gets to stretch his acting chops to the fullest as he had to play with a number of emotions including showing vulnerability but also fearfulness in one scene. His understated performance commands the screen and he takes us through a barrage of emotions that we can't help but feeling sympathy for the character.
Louis Koo's improved screen presence has attributed to his superb acting in this movie. As he plays the protagonist, we are often treated to his character's nobility and selflessness. Through it all, he must undergo a series of personal demons including dealing with his wife's release from jail. He shined with this movie and it shows that he can play a flawed but authoritative person.
Daniel Wu has a definite step up in this role as he plays the mild-mannered but hostile operative. He does not play a backseat character in this one unlike the first one where he was sorely underused. Here he makes use of his character and plays it in a cool, steely type of way but also with a hint of compassion. Daniel Wu turned in a remarkable performance that will only help to serve his career.
The movie itself is a huge step up from the first one but to enjoy this movie to the fullest, one needs to know how stock markets work or have someone who knows how they work to explain the wheeling and dealing of stock market trading. While this did not dampen my enjoyment of the movie, it didn't give me the added pleasure that I normally would have during the course of a film. The plot in this movie is much more complex than the first one but it's slightly dumbed down enough for the passing viewer to understand the story but not the intricate details. The main characters are not one dimensional and each have their own personal hell to get through. The music is great and used to perfection while the cinematography really gives you that high class sleazy feeling.
Everything about this movie was great. The acting, the plot, dialogue, music were top notch even though it only had a budget of HK$8 million. Alan Mak and Felix Chong improved on the mistakes of the first one and did away with or drastically rewrote the problems of the first film but kept the feel of it into the second. Overheard 2 is a must see and if you are lucky enough to have it playing in your area, watch it. You won't be disappointed.