Running Out Of Time 2 DVD Review (Region 2)

Seth Gecko

retired member
Oct 9, 2004
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<P STYLE='text-align: center'><FONT STYLE='font-size: 18px'><IMG SRC='' ALT='RUNNING OUT OF TIME 2 DVD cover artwork' ALIGN='RIGHT'>RUNNING OUT OF TIME 2</FONT><br>Reviewed October 2005 by <A HREF='search.php?do=process&query=Mike Webster&showposts=1&forumchoice[]=107&forumchoice[]=197' target='_top'>Mike Webster</A>.</P><P><B>The Movie : 4</B></P><P>Running Out Of Time is a loose sequel to the popular 1999 Hong Kong movie Running Out Of Time. Ching Wan Lau and Shiu Hung Hui reprise their roles as Inspector Ho and bumbling sidekick Assistant Commissioner Wong Kai Fa but Andy Lau is replaced by the handsome young Ekin Cheng as the enigmatic art thief. I haven’t seen the original so was unable to fully ascertain whether I was missing some background information or if no prior knowledge of the first movie was required to enjoy this sequel.</p><P>I have to say that not knowing the sequel meant I had nothing to benchmark this film against which is a good thing by all accounts, on the other hand I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on all of the time – especially with the mysterious thief. Whilst watching the trailer of the first movie it was apparent that the main character (Lau) only had a short time to live and therefore planned a crime caper, hence the “running out of time” title, however in this movie the “The Thief” had no such time constraint as far as I could ascertain so the motivation for the chase didn’t seem as urgent as one’s imminent demise. The basic plot revolves around a mysterious thief who seeks a ransom for some stolen artefacts thus bringing in beautiful insurance worker Kelly Lin and Inspector Ho into the chase. One of the strong points of the first movie must have been the chase between the two main characters and this is the area that this movie focuses on, however Director Johnny To seems to be trying too hard and some of the scenes in this movie either don’t make sense or just stretch credibility that bit too far. Here we have Ekin Cheng as more of a magician than a thief – a modern day Robin Hood who amongst other things, has a kinetic bond with an American Eagle, escapes with smoke clouds and mirrors, challenges Inspector Ho to a chase to the end of the street on a bicycle and during another chase even stops to have lunch (and books a table of 9 for the police to tuck in as well). There are numerous sub stories, such as a game of heads and tails with the Negotiator, who loses 327 times in a row but it became very confusing in the end to work out whether what one was seeing was to be taken at face value or had some hidden meaning. I gave Johnny To the benefit of the doubt and put this down to me not having seen the first film. I will seek it out to remedy this as it’s confused me enough to get me interested!</p><P>Apart from the rather surreal moments in the film, it certainly has a quality feel about the production – I’m a relative newcomer to Hong Kong movies but I was impressed with the cinematography and the technical aspects of this movie (apart from the rubbish CGI eagle). So, in answer to my own question does this film work as a standalone piece? Well, for me not really – perhaps I’m not in tune enough with Hong Kong cinema yet or perhaps I’ve missed too much from the first movie but this movie doesn’t have a strong story and relies too much on the “mystery” of Ekin Cheng. It doesn’t explain why he is the way he is so we are left not understanding why Ho would become so desperate in his chase for this thief and instead, Johnny To has replaced a strong plot with surreal moments and implausible situations (unless you think a Homing American Eagle or disappearing into thin air after falling off a skyscraper is normal). Perhaps I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to watch this movie – maybe I’ll try it again after watching the first one….</p><P><B>Picture : 9</B></P><P>The picture is presented as an anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1 image and is superb – very cinematic, with excellent blacks and good flesh tones – the detail levels are very high – on close-ups you can see every pore of the actors faces. This film looks like a high budget movie and there were only a few moments of grain or print defects. The average bit rate of 9.8 Mbps is the highest I’ve yet witnessed on a DVD and I wasn’t surprised, the picture was that rich!</p><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='' ALT='RUNNING OUT OF TIME 2'></P><P><B>Sound : 8</B></P><P>The sound on this disc was a plus point. I opted initially for the original Cantonese track as it sounds the most natural and the audio quality is the best on this one. The other two are dubbed (English and Mandarin). All three tracks are Dolby Digital 5.1, but the two dubbed tracks obviously seem a little false and the English voices are atrocious. The sound in the Cantonese track is really dynamic – plenty of effects from all of the speakers, especially left, right and surround. It gives the film a very involving soundtrack and was a pleasant surprise.</p><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='' ALT='RUNNING OUT OF TIME 2'></P><P><B>Extras : 3</B></P><P>The extras on this disc are pretty poor. There is a short Making Of featurette (5m44s) with the usual interviews with the main characters and a few shots of the set etc. In such a short featurette there wasn’t much time to glean anything new about the film other than the fact that not a single shot was fired in this movie (something that is quite rare for this kind of film) and that was quite refreshing. It was also funny to see Cheng commenting on how long this film took to make compared to the 17 days his previous movie had taken!!</p><P>There are also 7 trailers of Running Out Of Time, Running Out Of Time 2, Cop On A Mission, Colour Of The Truth, Soul Guardians, Addicted and Kung Fu Master.</p><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='' ALT='RUNNING OUT OF TIME 2'></P><P><B>Trivia</B><br><P>For user information we use Bitrate 1.4 to scan the disk for the video bitrate, which also calculates the average bitrate. Below is a graph illustrating the bitrate of the disk, including the average bitrate reading. This disk averaged at 9.8 Mbps.</p></P><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='' ALT='RUNNING OUT OF TIME 2'></P><P><B>Verdict : 6</B></P><P>A very difficult film to summarise. As a standalone movie I found it hard to get into as the story is complex and the characters actions are not well explained. As a sequel I can’t yet comment as I haven’t seen the original although I hope that my reaction to the sequel will change for the better once I’ve seen the first movie. As it stands, I could only recommend it to those who really loved the first movie on the assumption that it will give them more of the same.</p><TABLE border='0' CELLPADDING='0' CELLSPACING='2' WIDTH='100%'><TR><TD COLSPAN='2'><B>RUNNING OUT OF TIME 2 (2001)</B></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Genres</TD><TD><A HREF='' target='_blank'>CRIME</A>, <A HREF='' target='_blank'>ACTION</A></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Director</TD><TD><A HREF=' LAW
JOHNNY TO' target='_blank'>WING-CHEONG LAW
JOHNNY TO</A></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Stars</TD><TD><A HREF=' WAN LAU' target='_blank'>CHING WAN LAU</A>, <A HREF=' CHENG' target='_blank'>EKIN CHENG</A>, <A HREF=' LIN' target='_blank'>KELLY LIN</A>, <A HREF=' HUNG HUI' target='_blank'>SHIU HUNG HUI</A>, <A HREF=' KAI FA' target='_blank'>WONG KAI FA</A>, <A HREF=' LAM' target='_blank'>SUET LAM</A></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65'><B>Region</B></TD><TD><B>2</B> <FONT>(UK)</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Supplier</TD><TD><FONT>Tai Seng Entertainment. Released Monday 24th October 2005</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>SRP</TD><TD><FONT>£17.99</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Discs</TD><TD><FONT>1</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Format</TD><TD><FONT>DVD9</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Time</TD><TD><FONT>91 mins.</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Chapters</TD><TD><FONT>10</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Picture</TD><TD>Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1&nbsp;</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Sound</TD><TD>Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1<BR>English Dolby Digital 5.1<BR>Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Subtitles</TD><TD>English, Chinese</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Case</TD><TD>Amaray</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Extras</TD><TD>1 Making Of<BR>Trailers</TD></TR></TABLE><P STYLE='text-align: center'>If you would like to comment on this review, please reply below.</P>

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