The Storm Warriors

Aaron Kwok as Striding Cloud and Ekin Cheng as Whispering Wind

The long awaited sequel of The Storm Riders began as power hungry warlord named Lord Godless (Simon Yam) and his son, Heart (Nicholas Tse), set their sight upon conquering the world of martial arts and the Central Plain. The duo imprisoned a number of Wulin’s martial art practitioners including Striding Cloud (Aaron Kwok), Muse (Tiffany Tang) and the legendary swordsman Nameless (Kenny Ho) using the old poisoning ruse. He had also held the Emperor as his prisoner as well. Lord Godless gave the martial artists an ultimatum either to support his cause or they would be executed. Striding Cloud, who was first to be executed, then broke his chains revealing that Nameless’ assistant, Ghostly Tiger (CGI), had earlier given the antidotes to all the captive martial artists. He leaped forward to attack Lord Godless and landed a direct blow but with no effect. As Striding Cloud was stupefied with his result, Whispering Wind (Ekin Cheng) arrived to rescue them. Meanwhile, a handful martial art masters combined their strengths to attack Lord Godless while others released their fellow prisoners. Nameless also joined in to attack but their efforts were useless against Lord Godless’ what it seemed impenetrable body armor and martial arts. Eventually, realizing they won’t be able to defeat Lord Godless just yet, Nameless and others managed to escape but he also suffered a serious internal injury.

Aaron Kwok as Striding Cloud
Aaron Kwok as Striding Cloud

At a rendezvous location, Piggy King (Lam Suet) appeared to provide assistance. Then, Nameless informed both Striding Cloud and Whispering Wind that he wouldn’t be able to recover from his injury for a significant period of time. He suggested to seek Piggy King’s elder martial art brother, Lord Wicked (Kenny Wong), who was a reclusive martial art master that may be able to match with Lord Godless. Following Nameless’ suggestion Piggy King, Striding Cloud and Whispering Wind along with Muse went to Lord Wicked’s hiding place at a mountainous region called Sheng Shi Men. However, Lord Wicked wasn’t so easy to be persuaded to come out until the daughter of Sword Sage, Second Dream (Charlene Choi), appeared and convinced him. But Lord Wicked revealed to them that he had severed both of his arms years ago to prevent him from killing innocent people due to his evil ways of martial art cultivation. In this time of urgency, Lord Wicked inferred for either Striding Cloud or Whispering Wind to practice the evil ways to accelerate their martial art skills to the level of Lord Godless. Based on his assessment, Whispering Wind was the better candidate to handle and grasp the evil way. Lord Wicked then started to guide Whispering Wind to harness the power of the dark side while Striding Cloud was summoned to meet Nameless at Lin Yin Monastery.

Ekin Cheng as Whispering Wind
Ekin Cheng as Whispering Wind

At the Monastery, a disguised Nameless gauged Striding Cloud’s martial art skills in which within a short time he was able to counterattack using the same stance. Nameless was convinced that Striding Cloud had an incredible potential as a top level martial artist. He guided him to create twenty three new swordplay styles based on Striding Cloud’s character. Meanwhile Lord Godless discovered the whereabouts of Nameless, Striding Cloud and Whispering Wind through his vast spies’ network. He dispatched his two best fighters, Earth (Anson Leung) and Sky (Byron Pang), to eliminate Nameless at Lin Yin Monastery while sending a platoon of assassins after Whispering Wind at Sheng Shi Men. Striding Cloud easily manhandled Earth and Sky at the Lin Yin Monastery but it wasn’t the case with Lord Wicked and the others at Sheng Shi Men. Second Dream was injured and Whispering Wind interrupted his training at the crucial stage of the evil way cultivation to save her while killing the intruders in the process. Thereafter, Whispering Wind left to pursue Lord Godless in defiance of his unfinished training. Striding Cloud arrived just to find Whispering Wind had already gone and Ghostly Tiger informed them that Lord Godless had taken the Emperor to the Royal Dragon Tomb located inside the Heaven Cave. Lord Wicked ensuingly sent Striding Cloud to go after Lord Godless.

Simon Yam as Lord Godless
Simon Yam as Lord Godless

Inside the Heaven Cave, the Emperor refused to reveal the entrance to the Royal Dragon Tomb. Heart then viciously started to kill one member of the Royal family at a time to force the Emperor to disclose the location. As he was about to kill the young Crown Prince, Striding Cloud arrived to save him. The Royal Guards immediately pulled the Emperor and the remaining of his family out of harm’s way. Striding Cloud then displayed his newly found swordplay to attack Lord Godless which once again he was able to defend himself using his stalwart armor. During the fight, they inadvertently opened the secret entrance to the Royal Dragon Tomb. Lord Godless yet again managed to overcome Striding Cloud. Almost at the same time when Lord Godless was about to deliver a deadly blow to Striding Cloud, the half-evil Whispering Wind appeared and hit Lord Godless squarely in the chest. Unable to fully controlled the newfound dark side power, Whispering Wind turned around and attacked Striding Cloud when it would seem he was about to fight Lord Godless. In the meantime, Lord Godless took the opportunity to grab the coveted Dragon Bone relic.  Noticing the relic was now in the hands of Lord Godless; Whispering Wind stopped fighting with Striding Cloud and leaped to attack Lord Godless. Striding Cloud joined the attack and eventually both of them killed Lord Godless.

Tiffany Tang as Muse
Tiffany Tang as Muse

Whispering Wind seized the Dragon Bone relic and left the Heaven Cave. Meanwhile, Striding Cloud went back to Sheng Shi Men to consult with Lord Wicked regarding Whispering Wind’s capacity and where to begin looking for him. Second Dream was the first to find Whispering Wind at a place called Nie Village. But Whispering Wind was just sitting there with no expression until he responded by choking Second Dream when she barely touched his forearm. As Whispering Wind released his grasp upon Second Dream, General Wei (Hung Tin Chiu) and the Royal Guards arrived demanding the return of the Dragon Bone. Again Whispering Wind was not responsive to any sort of conversations and General Wei proceeded to retrieve the Dragon Bone. However, Second Dream fended him and the Dragon Bone was tossed in the air. At the same time, Heart appeared to grab one end of the Dragon Bone while the other end held by General Wei. They both struggled for the relic and eventually it broke into two pieces. Meanwhile, Whispering Wind returned to his dark side shape again as Striding Cloud and others arrived. Striding Cloud fought Whispering Wind in an attempt to bring him to his normal form. Both Second Dream and Muse also tried to revive Whispering Wind’s spirit but the now fully evil Whispering Wind responded by wounding Second Dream and killing Muse. With the death of Muse, Striding Cloud unleashed his most potent stance of the twenty three newly created swordplay and his sword grazed the forehead of Whispering Wind. The cut released the dark side power within Whispering Wind and he regained control of his former self. Second Dream walked forward and embraced Whispering Wind but the cliff where they stood collapsed. Striding Cloud jumped down and managed to save both Second Dream and Whispering Wind. Striding Cloud however continued to plummet toward the bottom of the cliff. Whispering Wind then lamented on why Striding Cloud didn’t kill him when he had the chance.

Rambling:

The sequel to Storm Riders directed by the Pang Brothers cannot overcome the hype. The second movie adaptation of renowned Ma Wing-Shing’s comic is so enormously anticipated and with a high expectation after the success of Storm Riders. The Pang Brothers chose to be CGI dependent production and failed the structure and narrative development. The script is pedestrian at best and the plot is lacking of a polished storyline. By comparison with the predecessor, Storm Warriors is just bland.

Aaron Kwok, Ekin Cheng, Nicholas Tse, and Simon Yam are all veterans Hong Kong actors. However, with the dismal dialogue and overkill CGI throughout the movie, it’s hard to judge how well their performances were. Charlene Choi and Yan Tang are just mere accessories as at some point, Storm Warriors would have too many testosterones on the screen.

All in all, Storm Warriors only have visual effect and nothing else. The lack of each characters’ emotional depth or developments took out the enjoyment for Storm Riders fans. It became an ordeal to sit through for the entire 110 minutes.

Cast:

Ekin Cheng … Whispering Wind
Nicholas Tse … Heart
Charlene Choi … Second Dream
Simon Yam … Lord Godless
Kenny Ho … Nameless
Tiffany Tang … Muse/Chu Chu
Lam Suet … Piggy King
Kenny Wong … Lord Wicked
Patrick Tam … Emperor
Anson Leung … Earth
Byron Pang … Sky
Hung Tin Chiu … General Wei

Production:

Chinese Title: 風雲II
Director: Oxide Pang, Danny Pang
Screenplay: Ma Wing Shing
Producer: Oxide Pang, Danny Pang, Alvin Lam
Director of Photography: Decha Srimantra
Action Choreographer: Ma Yuk Sing
Art Director: Yee Chung Man, Lau Man Hung
Image Designer: Yee Chung Man, Dora Ng
Composer: Ronald Ng, Chan Kwong Wing
Soundtrack: Aaron Kwok, Ekin Cheng (Wind and Cloud Justice)

Filming Locations: Bangkok, Thailand
Release Date: December 10, 2009

Run Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

[rating:2.5/5]

The Storm Warriors Poster

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