“Reunion 2: Mystery of the Abyss” Movie Review

If you are an ardent fan of “The Lost Tomb” series; then it is a known fact that each adaptation in this popular franchise hints at the unhindered “Bromance” between the lead couples (PingXie & HeiHua).

While the PingXie romance has been evidently showcased in several editions, the “HeiHua” fever is quite new. You will understand my point if you have watched “Ultimate Note”; Hei Yan Jing (Black) and Xie Yu Chen were first introduced as a potential couple in this show. Both characters have appeared in previous adaptations but they were paired together for the first time in Ultimate Note. HeiHua quickly rose to fame and became equally popular as PingXie. The undeniable chemistry between actors Liu Yu Ning & Liu Yu Han was much appreciated with avid fans demanding that these two should reprise their roles in the upcoming adaptations.

YouKu’s latest offering “Reunion 2: Mystery of the Abyss” banks on this popularity; although they did change casts (something that is notoriously common in most Lost Tomb adaptations). Every show/movie in this franchise has a new casting, with very few instances of the same actors reprising their characters. Unlike the previous installments, this movie doesn’t involve any tomb raiding hijinks, and is singularly focused on the budding romance between Hei Yan Jing/ Black (Ji Chen) and Xie Yu Chen (Ji Xiao Bing). Ji Chen & Ji Xiao Bing play the mature version of this lovable couple. Let’s take a walk down the memory lane and reminisce the most delectable HeiHua moments in this film!

Synopsis-

In order to find a cure for Hei Yanjing’s worsening eye disease, Xie Yuchen leads a team into the Trojan jungle. Hei Yanjing learns that the team is in danger and immediately comes to their rescue. However, he discovers that in the underground palace of Nanyue deep beneath the mountain seam is Nagas, a huge monster regarded as an ancient god. The team is strangely lured by the “call of the ancient god” to continue their journey deep into the lair. In their struggle to survive the most extreme situations, the secrets of the gods are also gradually revealed.

(Source: ChineseDrama.info)

The Impressionable Young Master

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Ji Xiao Bing takes over the mantle of playing the “Young Master” of the Xie Family, Xie Yu Chen. If you have watched the previous installments, you would realise that Yu Chen has an audacious aura; he is ridiculously rich (given the fact that he belongs to one of the prominent families in Mystic Nine), is adept at Chinese Opera and highly skilled in martial arts. These factors are repeatedly cued in every time he makes an appearance; surprisingly Reunion 2: Mystery of the Abyss doesn’t surmise on this arrogant attitude. Rather, Ji Xiao Bing plays this character with a softness that was previously unknown; adding his own distinct touch that is both riveting and endearing. You can clearly feel the differences in the portrayal; while Liu Yu Han’s Yu Chen was careful in hiding his feelings for Black, Ji Xiao Bing’s depiction is on the point and there is no attempt to mask Yu Chen’s affections. Ji Xiao Bing’s martial arts skills are on par with Liu Yu Han, so that leaves little room for comparison. Having watched Ji Xiao Bing in “SCI Mystery” (where he had a beautiful chemistry with co-star Gao Han Yu), I had huge expectations from his rendition of this popular character and he does not disappoint.

The Blind Explorer

Hei Yan Jing/Black is irrefutably one of the most mysterious characters in this franchise. At times he seems like an otherworldly person. His declining eyesight is a major concern and yet his other senses are quite strong. It is still not known if he has lost his eyesight entirely; but for some reason, this movie ties Black’s worsening eye condition to his lifeline. In the earlier installments, Black has a businesslike attitude whenever his services are requested. He is high demand (despite his health concerns), and is mostly portrayed as a money minded individual. Reunion 2: Mystery of the Abyss, however, does a double take on his low-spirited demeanor. Black is on a hiatus when the movie begins; he has given up on the possibility of finding a cure for his blindness and seems to be awaiting his end. Despite this resolute resolve, one thing doesn’t change- his adoration for Yu Chen. This movie showcases their relationship in a lighter tone and they seem closer. Ji Chen is one of the few actors who has continuously reprised this role, having played the same character in “Tomb of the Sea” and “Reunion: Escape from the Monstrous Snake”. Obviously, Ji Chen’s portrayal is quite different from Liu Yu Ning. Unlike Yu Ning’s depiction of a tough crusader, Ji Chen’s rendition is nuanced and subtler.

The Alluring HeiHua Romance

There is a world of difference between the “HeiHua” romance in Ultimate Note and Reunion 2: Mystery of the Abyss. And I’m blatantly calling it “Romance” (instead of Bromance), because Black & Yu Chen’s friendship has grown far more intimate. The movie doesn’t dwell on the mechanics of how their relationship changed; because we are suddenly swept into an expedition orchestrated solely for the purpose of Black’s survival. Yu Chen acts like his suave self, trying to hide his emotional turmoil under the guise of funding this project. But it’s obvious that he is worried about Black’s declining health/impending death. They play their regular “Pull & Push” game (because that’s how this couple works); each acting nonchalant. Black’s protective urges kick when one of the team members gets killed and Yu Chen’s team goes missing. This movie is a subtle declaration of love; they are still as annoying as their younger selves. But the love and adoration is obvious; even their impromptu fighting sessions are meant to safeguard each other. Ji Chen & Ji Xiao Bing are rather good in their fight choreography scenes (it will remind you of the romance in Word of Honor). Unlike PingXie (where Zhang Qiling spends most of his time protecting the damsel in distress, Wu Xie), HeiHua are well equipped at handling things by themselves. They are both intelligent, smart and skilled in martial arts. Their relationship is perfectly balanced and despite minor disagreements, Black & Yu Chen are made for each other. The HeiHua romance is truly epic!

Final Impressions

Each adaptation in this franchise is a search for ancient tombs/palaces and their treasures (mostly finding the secret of immortality). Unlike the earlier editions, Reunion 2: Mystery of the Abyss solely pivots on the HeiHua dynamics. Yes, we have ghastly parasites making appearances along with a giant monstrous octopus (some things never change, a Lost Tomb adaptation is incomplete without pest attacks). In the midst of this jaded exploration, the HeiHua romance is in full spring. The entire focus remains on developing their love story; make no mistake, there is no hiding the fact that they have feelings for each other. Ji Chen & Ji Xiao Bing have a beautiful chemistry; unbelievably somber and yet exciting. It’s visible in their soft looks and touches; they CARE a lot about each other. If you are suffering from withdrawal symptoms, then Reunion 2: Mystery of the Abyss should be on the top of your watchlist. The story arc is gripping and though some scenes might seem repetitive (which is an unseemly characteristic of this franchise), the mystery will keep you on the edge. This movie is an early Christmas gift for diehard HeiHua fans. Stream this right away and you won’t be disappointed!

Rating- 4 out of 5

Streaming on- here

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One thought on ““Reunion 2: Mystery of the Abyss” Movie Review”

  1. Thank you once again for another wonderful review. Yesterday after a long wait The Grave Robbers Chronicles arrived for me to read. I am a diehard fan of every series released and have been waiting for more.

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