Filled with noble sacrifices and standard-issue slow-motion combat, this disappointing sequel retains the sumptuous visual style of its predecessor but shifts the focus away from that film's tragic lovers to a totally uninspired subplot about another ill-fated romantic coupling.
Perched on a snowy mountaintop, Cho Yi-hang (Leslie Cheung) waits for the blossoming of a mystical flower that will lift the curse from his white-haired amour Ni-shang (Brigitte Lin). In the meantime, the possessed Ni-shang has mounted a two-pronged attack, swearing to eliminate all the remaining
members of the eight clans that oppose her, and with the help of a sisterhood of wronged women, to exact vengeance on men who mistreat their women. Her mission soon becomes to disrupt the impending marriage of Cho Yi-hang's nephew Fung Chun-kit (who is also the remaining student of the Wu Tang
clan) and his girlfriend Lyre.
Ni-shang abducts Lyre and tries to turn her against Kit. Kit bands together with a ragtag group of students from the other seven clans, in an effort to combat the white-haired "witch." The students and Ni-shang's sisterhood each attempt unsuccessfully to ambush the other, resulting in a faceoff
in Ni-shang's palace stronghold. At the peak of the hostilities, the students gain a valuable ally--Cho arrives, asking Ni-shang to stop her reign of terror. She attacks him, but relents when he shows her the fully-blossomed flower. The two are ready to come to terms when Chan Yuen Yuen, the most
aggressive member of the sisterhood, kills them both. The star-crossed lovers are reunited in death, with Ni-shang's hair returning to its natural black.
The tragedy fairly overflows in this quickly ground-out sequel, but the most glaring tragedy is the way in which BRIDE 2 (like many Hong Kong action sequels) serves to undercut the stronger points of its predecessor. Ni-shang is no longer a righteous victim seeking revenge; instead, she has become
a cardboard villain, cackling gleefully as she tries to wipe out legions of martial artists. Horror-movie cliches attend her arrival on the scene, and her violent outbursts are overemphasized with melodramatic slow-motion effects. As a result, the talented Lin is unable to lend sympathy to the
character, while Cheung, her former costar, figures simply as a guest star in this installment of the saga.
For a time, the film plays like a feminist action vehicle, particularly in a sequence where the sisterhood disciplines an abusive spouse. Soon, however, even this imaginative note disappears as the women warriors are depicted as one-dimensional harpies; this chauvinist sentiment is summed up best
by a macho friend of Kit's who bests a member of the sisterhood in combat, jeering "do you know what a man is now?"
For a film so brief, BRIDE 2 seems awfully overextended. The final ten minutes neatly tie up loose ends left over from the first film; the rest of the proceedings qualify as pointless filler, doing much to spoil fond memories of the epic romantic qualities that distinguish the original BRIDE.
(Violence, nudity, adult situations.)
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- Released: 1993
- Rating: NR
- Review: Filled with noble sacrifices and standard-issue slow-motion combat, this disappointing sequel retains the sumptuous visual style of its predecessor but shifts the focus away from that film's tragic lovers to a totally uninspired subplot about another ill-f… (more)