Detective Chinatown 2

Detective Chinatown was one of the highest grossing films in China in 2015. The film follows the unlikely duo of washed up detective Tang Ren (Wang Baoqiang) and his extremely intelligent by shy nephew Qin Feng (Liu Haoran) as they attempt to clear their names of murder and grand theft in Bangkok. It’s a solid action-comedy that feels very much inspired by Jackie Chan’s filmography. Detective Chinatown 2 attempts to widen the film’s appeal by bringing Ren and Feng to New York City to investigate a murder, although it comes off as a lackluster rehashing of the first film more so than any kind of building on the franchise.


Tang Ren has invited Qin Feng to New York City under the guise of his marriage but in reality he needs his nephew’s help in solving a string of murders happening in Chinatown. The case is being handled in an unorthodox manner as some of the best detetives around the world have been invited to find the killer, with whoever brings them to justice receives $5 million. Like in the first film, the two so-called detectives manage to find themselves wrapped up in a case of mistaken identity, although this time it’s not themselves who are misidentified as the killer but someone else claiming to be innocent. With the other detectives and the entire NYC police force after them, they must find out who the real killer is before it’s too late.


I don’t know if it’s because just sequelitis or the studio’s attempt to appeal to an overseas audience, but Detective Chinatown 2 pales in comparrison to the original. The film tries too hard to follow the same trajectory and ends up feeling more like a reuse of old ideas rather than something new. It’s very much the same slapstick style of humor and constant conflict between the relaxed and nonchalant Tang Ren and the uptight and serious Qin Feng. That was fine in the original film, but the sequel ups everything to an absolutely ridiculous and over-the-top level.


There’s nothing subtle about Detective Chinatown 2, and rather than being funny the film just comes off as obnoxious. It is also way more liberal with its storyline, making sometimes ridiculous jumps from one clue to the next that leave you confused as to how anything is making sense. Following along and solving the murder mystery feels tedious, not fun. Detective Chinatown 2 simply lacks any of the charm the first film had. Case closed.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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