The Crossing Part 2(2015)
- RatedPG13 /GenreDrama, Romance
The question you will likely ask yourself after watching this is: Did it require two movies to tell the story about the sinking of the Taiping ship?
John Woo seems to think so.
But even after having a two-hour-long setup in ‘The Crossing Part 1’, he makes us sit through yet another hour to remind us who the characters and main players are before we start on the final cruise of the vessel.
There is a lot of going over the same ground already covered in the first movie, and the attempt to split it into two parts just comes across as an attempt to squeeze more money at the box office.
It might have worked with ‘Red Cliff’, but the first part of ‘The Crossing’ was a disaster at the box office, and this sequel is likely to suffer a similar fate to its predecessor.
MORE: 'The Crossing Part 1' review - A drift into mediocrity
In the gist, the stories are as follows: Zekun (Takeishi Kaneshiro) the doctor is still mourning for his lost love, a Japanese woman who left Taiwan; Yun Fen (Song Hye-kyo) is wondering how her husband is faring in the war; and Yizhen (Zhang Ziyi) is a nurse who walks the streets at night in order to earn enough money for a boat ticket to Taiwan in order to find her husband.
Besides the mostly generic storylines, the plot is a sticking together of coincidences. For example, Yun Fen moves a painting drawn by Zekun, stumbles upon a notebook, and after a snake bites her, guess which doctor she gets to visit? Yizhen, while on board the Taiping, manages to encounter Tong Daqing (Tong Dawei), the soldier with whom she took a photograph at a photo shop in order for him to receive more rations.
The overwrought moments keep coming, and Woo seems to think that tears in a historical romance are the equivalent of a gunfight in an action movie, as almost every one of the main and supporting characters sheds tears at some point in the movie.
Sorry, Woo, but the tears don't give the film any added poignancy.
The climax, is of course, the sinking of the Taiping, where Woo gets to finally show his action chops, but even those scenes are over-directed.
Survivors fight over life jackets and anything that still floats, and it all looks like overly orchestrated dramatics. The actors appear like they are in shallow water, and are just flailing around pretending they're drowning.
While the effects are not on par with James Cameron's ‘Titanic’, it at least gives the audience the payoff that they have been anticipating.
Predictably, the key characters are self-sacrificing to a fault and tragic moments even become comical – unintentionally.
‘The Crossing’ undoubtedly bears comparisons with ‘Titanic’, but it makes the whole diamond plot of James Cameron's Oscar-winner look subtle.
Woo always signposts his projects, which works for action movies, but when they're used here, it comes across as melodramatic and sentimental.
The film concludes with a speech about the power of women, which just adds to the tone-deaf nature of the film.
Even taken just on its own terms, ‘The Crossing Part 2’ is a historical romance masquerading as a disaster movie, and it was doomed from the start.
'The Crossing Part 2' opens 13 August 2015