Review: ‘Pegasus 2,’ starring Shen Teng, Fan Chengcheng, Yin Zheng, Zhang Benyu and Sun Yizhou

March 4, 2024

by Carla Hay

Shen Teng in “Pegasus 2” (Photo courtesy of Niu Vision Media)

“Pegasus 2”

Directed by Han Han

Mandarin with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in China, the action comedy film “Pegasus 2” features an all-Asian cast of characters representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: After a long hiatus out of the public eye, a former race car champion tries to make a comeback at the same rally where he experienced a horrific car accident. 

Culture Audience: “Pegasus 2” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners, the 2019 “Pegasus” movie and crowd-pleasing films about car racing.

Zhang Benyu, Shen Teng and Yin Zheng in “Pegasus 2” (Photo courtesy of Niu Vision Media)

“Pegasus 2” is utterly predictable, but this action comedy about a race car driver making a comeback is still a fun thrill ride to watch. The cast members’ amusing performances and winning chemistry with each other elevate the movie. This sequel also provides satisfying closure to 2019’s “Pegasus” movie, which ended on a cliffhanger that was open to interpretation.

Written and directed by Han Han (who also wrote and directed “Pegasus”), “Pegasus 2” takes place in unnamed cities in China. In “Pegasus” (mild spoiler alert), champion race-car driver Zhang Chi (played by Shen Teng) won the Bayanbulak Rally, but his car malfunctioned and fell off of a cliff. His fate was unknown by the end of the movie.

The beginning of “Pegasus 2” describes in a caption what happened to Chi: He survived the cliff fall, but his car did not, because it became a total wreck. Chi’s victory that was shown at the end of the first “Pegasus” movie was deemed invalid. Chi has “retired” from racing and has opened a driving school with his two closest friends: outspoken Sun Yuqiang (played by Yin Zheng) and mild-mannered Ji Xing (played by Zhang Benyu), who were both Chi’s racing colleagues in his glory days.

The three pals are trying to find a new work space for their company when someone who is a huge fan of Chi contacts Chi with an offer to do something different. Xin Di (played by Jia Bing) is the owner and manager of Laotoule Automobile Factory. Di wants Chi to make a racing comeback and says that Bayanbulak Rally will be Chi’s sponsor. This is the last year that Bayanbulak Rally will take place. Di is confident that Chi can win the race. (“Pegasus 2” is a very male-centric movie, since there are no women in the principal cast.)

There are some obstacles, of course. First, Chi is very reluctant to go back to being a professional racer. Second, Chi says that if took this offer, he would need about ¥6 million (which is about $833,449 in U.S. dollars in 2024), but Di says he only has ¥4 million, which is about $555,633 in U.S. dollars in 2024. Third, the corporate sponsor Lighttime has won the Bayanbulak Rally for the past two years and can easily outspend Laotoule Automobile Factory in getting the best resources and driver training.

Di asks Chi to reconsider Chi’s decision to not race in the Bayanbulak Rally. In the meantime, a star driver has emerged at Chi’s driving school. He is a young man named Li Xiaohai (played by Fan Chengcheng), who works as a test driver at the school. Xiaohai has never been a professional racer. Di’s nerdy son Liu Xiande (played by Sun Yizhou, also known as Sean Sun) has been paying Chi’s school to be a driver apprentice.

The driving school is about to evicted from its work space due to non-payment of rent. It should come as no surprise that Chi changes his mind about entering the Bayanbulak Rally. He makes the decision to temporarily close the driving school, in order to train for the race. Yuqiang is his co-driver. As a backup duo for the Bayanbulak Rally, Xiaohai will be the lead driver, and Xiande will be a co-driver for another car sponsored by Laotoule Automobile Factory. These drivers have only 100 days to train for the Bayanbulak Rally.

You know where all of this is going, of course. The are more obstacles and challenges in ths journey, including the hero team running out of money, experiencing car malfunctions, and driving during a snowstorm during the race. The racing scenes have adrenaline-packed energy and are filmed from some eye-catching angles. And even if some of the stunt moves are obvious visual effects, “Pegasus 2” makes everything entertaining to watch.

On and off the racing circuit, the characters of “Pegasus 2” are engaging, with every co-star showing good comedic timing. Because “Pegasus 2” doesn’t take itself too seriously, some of the ridiculousness in the movie is easer to take because of the movie’s comedy. “Pegasus 2” shows what can be expected in a story about someone who has to overcome self-doubt in order to make a comeback. It’s the type of inspirational movie that is a familiar as comfort food and is just as enjoyable.

Niu Vision Media released “Pegasus 2” in select U.S. cinemas on February 9, 2024. The movie was released in China on February 10, 2024.

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