Black Cat II

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In Black Cat II (1992) the identity crisis is over and the battle for physical and emotional autonomy is lost. Jade Leung’s Black Cat is literally a commodity; a weapon for the CIA to use as they see fit. With her memory erased, Black Cat is reduced to operating like a machine. With few lines, Jade Leung’s character has been reduced to the kind of monosyllabic killing machine associated with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Having shed the themes of the first movie, Stephen Shin has embraced the broader gestures and camp of the Bond movies. Black Cat II features high wire stunts, ski chases and improbable bust-ups galore. The scope of the plot is opened up accordingly to embrace the arena of international espionage. The intimate internal battles of Black Cat have become the gigantic set pieces of Roger Moore era Bond.

The shift in tone and content is not inherently negative. Shin seems to relish the bigger budget and the location shooting in Moscow. But what Black Cat II loses in the process of gaining so much is its central character. Arguably Jade Leung is little more than the female foil to Robin Shou’s special agent.

The anxieties of the then impending handover have been relegated into the far background of Black Cat II. Black Cat II is a film of spectacle and escapism; less concerned with the implications and ramifications of the fantasy it offers. Black Cat II is fun but nothing more.