• Sebastian Mann

Shock Wave 2 (2020) Review

Star and producer Andy Lau returns in Herman Yau’s action-packed follow-up to his 2017 bomb disposal thriller.

Where the central tension of Shock Wave was the threat of seeing the Cross-Harbour tunnel blown up, Yau opens Shock Wave 2 with a vision of Hong Kong International Airport being vapourised in a nuclear explosion - and that’s about as good an introduction as you need.

Shock Wave 2 has little to do with its predecessor in terms of narrative. It’s a thematic continuation, like a new instalment in an anthology, only with everything cranked up higher.

It’s louder, there’s more action, and the explosions are bigger

Lau plays Poon Sing-fung, an elite bomb disposal expert on the Hong Kong police force similar to his character in the original, who loses his leg in a routine mission. He is fitted with a prosthetic limb and with the help of his close friend Tung Cheuk-man (Lau Ching Wan) makes a full physical recovery, but top brass refuse to reinstate him.

Five years later, Poon has seemingly turned coat and is apprehended after successfully bombing a swanky hotel, suspected of being a member of the misanthropic terrorist group, Vendetta. Waking up amnesiac, with no memory of his involvement in the attack, he escapes and determines to prove his innocence. The plot only gets more and more convoluted from there, doubling down to the point of absurdity but never failing to entertain.

It’s louder, there’s more action, and the explosions are bigger - but it’s never boring. The action, as ludicrous as it may be, is fantastically choreographed, with Poon weaving through intense firefights and often with only one leg.

Fans of the original may lament the faster paced and increasingly ludicrous narrative, but it’s hard not to be won over by the high-octane thrills and Lau’s compelling lead performance.


Shock Wave 2 is available to watch as part of Hong Kong, Reimagined.