Starring: Elkin Cheng / Aaron Kwok / Simon Yam
Directed By: The Pang Brothers
aka: Stormriders II
copyright © 2009 Universe Emtertainment / Sil -Metropole / Chengtian Entertainment
If there's one film that of the Wuxia genre that sums up the whole genre for me then it is 1998's Stormriders with Aaron Kwok,Elkin Cheng and Sonny Chiba.
So when 10 years later i heard a new film was on the cards and starring Aaron and Elkin i was thrilled and could not wait for the release.
Now for those of you new to the story ,Stormriders is based on a a comic series by Ma Wing-Shing called Manhua Fung Wan ,now where the first film dealt with the beginning of Wind and Cloud from child hood in this new film which is Not a direct sequel but taken from Manhua The Invasion ,which focused on a Japanese invasion of Manhua.
So from the of the story starts with Wind and Cloud captured along with other famous artists from the series including the Master Nameless.Now the evil guys in this story are none other then the brilliant Simon Yam and the super quick Nicholas Tse who play evil father and son ''Lord Godless'' and ''Heart''.
Nameless gives it all he's got!
Godless has captured the Emperor of China ( Patrick Tam) and plans to conquer China using a special poison which he has used on his captives ,but Nameless assistant has sneaked in and given our heroes the antidote and when they break free a battle ensues between Godless ,Nameless,Wind,Cloud and Chu Chu.But all are weary from the poison and their attacks do little to trouble Godless.But in luck a some other Chinese Martial heroes break in to the prison they are held in and when another battle kicks off ,this gives the chance for our heroes to escape .
Now Nameless is injured from dueling Godless and lost (due to being poisoned),Nameless can not recover in time to fight Godless again and with Heart on his trail along with two generals ''Earth and Sky'' he wastes no time and sends Piggy King along with Wind and Cloud to find Piggy's elder Brother ''Lord Wicked''.
Now Wicked is the wisest and oldest of the Martial heroes who once trained in the evil ways which cost him his sanity and honor when he went on a rampage killing innocents.In a plight to stop his madness he broke his arms (though in this film it looks like he chopped them off) and now lives as a recluse in a cave.
Wind and Cloud arrive with Piggy but Lord Wicked refuses to even entertain them until his niece arrives ''Second Dream'' played by the cute Charlene Choi.Second Dream pleads with her uncle to help them and he eventually appears ,and after much deliberation and a small but quick test chooses to train Wind in the Evil Ways ,but in a controlled environment so that he may regain his sanity with out harm to others.He deems Cloud to aggressive and sends him on his way ,Cloud returns to Nameless who teaches Cloud his sword styles thus giving him his remaining power.
Storm Warriors in action
Wind 's training is a tad strange in that all he has to do is submerge himself in a pool of water and Blood from himself and let the evil teachings take him over ,but it is imperative that the course is taken and that training is not interrupted or Wind could be True Evil for good.Before Clouds departure from the Cave Wind had made him promise to kill him if the evil takes him completely over.
Now with Godless's army planning attacks on Nameless and on Wind and Cloud time is short ,so when Heart's soldiers turn up at Nameless's Home a battle ensues with Cloud and the evil Ninja like soldiers which attack. At the same time these Ninja's are attacking the cave of Lord Wicked and when it all get's a bit out of hand and Second Dream becomes threatened Wind Awakes early from his training to rescue Second Dream.
It is here that we see how Wind has transformed in to pure evil as he smashes through his opponents turning them in to stone along the way ,then shattering them in to pieces.(this has got to be one of the coolest scenes in a long time).
Now while this is going on Godless is taking the Emperor to the Ancient caves of their ancestors to get the Dragon Bone a relic which is believed to protect China buried deep underground.Godless want's it to give him the ultimate power.With Wind gone crazy and fleeing Cloud returns to the cave only to be confronted by what has gone before and upon hearing of Godless's intentions sets out to rescue the Emperor and kill Godless.
When he arrives at the caves he finds Godlless and Heart torturing and killing the Emperors family to get him to reveal the lying place of the Dragon Bone, a fight breaks out but Cloud just does not have the edge Ina Flash Wind Appears to confront Godless ,but his intentions are not all good and when he attacks Cloud as well as Godless,Cloud knows something is up.
Wind wants the Dragon Bone for himself and nothing's gonna stop him ,not Godless and Not Cloud either.In shock and amazed Godless is dispatched and Wind captures the Dragon Bone ,Cloud chases after Wind along with the Emperors army who now want to kill Wind .
Now when Lord Wicked hears of this he is saddened and thinks the only way is to kill Wind ,but Second Dream (who is in love with Wind )thinks she knows where he is .It all comes to a climatic ending when the army Cloud and Second Dream find Wind .Second Dream is convinced he can be cured as he seems calm and not as before but when the army try and take the Dragon Bone the evil within takes over and Wind goes mental and escapes with the Bone ''Cloud pursues him and they fight Wind seems to be getting the better of him and Cloud is injured ,When Second Dream and Chu Chu arrive to help ,Chu Chu is Clouds Love interest in the film and he has saved her many times.
Chu Chu tries to reason with Wind but his evil is to strong and in act of pure evil he strikes out and Kills Chu Chu.This Enrages Cloud what follows is a test of power and the resulting end is the Enlightenment of Wind as his evil is relinquished and Cloud Falling over a cliff face ,shooting back to Wind Crying in Second Dreams arms.It is here the film comes to a swift end.
Now comparing this to the first film is probably not fare as the film was shot at a time when this type of film was at it's most popular and it was cheaper to make this type of film back then.And being as this is just a story from a series of comic stories it's not a direct sequel as i have said.The you have to remember in ten years many things have changed ,effects have moved on .You see this film was 50% shot on blue screen in Studio's in Thailand ,and it is well known that the directors (The Pang Brothers) wanted to create a film that looked a bit like ''300''.And to be true they have succeeded ,which you will see .But also the main battles where shot for real as outtakes back this up as in the special features you see Elkin and Aaron going Head to Toe with Swords .
If you want to see a stylish take on the Manhua Fung Wan series with stupendous effects and some real battles then this is it ,it's brilliantly shot in that certain way that the Pang brothers have ,with scenes of limbs flying and effects you would only see in a Street fighter game.
Simon Yam is great as the evil Lord Godless ,but i did feel Nicholas Tse part was given little to do in the fight stakes ( i really wanted to see him bust some moves).Elkin and Aaron where great reprising their roles from ten years before,it was as the had just walked from the set of the first to do this version .
But what you want to know is ,was it a good as the first ? Well i have to say No ,purely on the grounds of the story used and the time given to tell the story.All in all i felt the film was not given enough time for the story to unfold for this type of film.
But good it was so that's why i give it a respectful ,
Score out of Ten = 7