Reviews: Kill Zone 2

Kill Zone 2: Sometimes the wrong things happen at the right time.

This is a sequel in name only to the Hong Kong produced film SPL, which was renamed Kill Zone in America. The sequel’s title in Hong Kong is SPL II: A Time for Consequences. The original featured martial arts legends Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung as the main characters. The only returning actors are Jing Wu and Simon Yam, but in different roles as in the first film. The storyline is also completely new and introduces cast members Tony Jaa and Zhang Jin.

The narrative is a complex crime triangle that involves human organ trafficking, an undercover Hong Kong cop (Jing Wu) who ends up in a Thai prison, and a Thai prison guard (Tony Jaa) who is working to cover medical expenses for his sick daughter. All of the people involved are unknowingly connected to each other somehow.

Why do you stray from smelling my foot?

This is simply an outstanding movie. It combines the serious crime and drama elements of Infernal Affairs with the bone-crunching action of the original Kill Zone and The Raid 2. The script is solid, the acting is excellent, the production values and location scenery are great and stylish, the camera angles and editing are superb, the action is intense and visceral, and the score is brilliant.

This has to be by far Jing Wu’s best performance. He shines in the first Kill Zone in his one spectacular knife fight scene, as a villain against Donnie Yen. In this, he plays one of the main roles and shows both his dramatic and martial arts skills. The same could be said for Tony Jaa, who has not impressed lately with the disappointing Tom Yum Goong 3 and a minor appearance in Fast and Furious 3. While his martial arts abilities are not on the same level as when he first broke out in Ong Bak, he delivers on the acting side with some emotional scenes involving his sick child. Simon Yam once again gives a dependable performance as usual, having been credited in over 200 pictures now. Jin Zhang is awesome as the ultimate villain and easily out-badasses most of the movie comic villains of recent memory.

Let's dance, motha f#@$ahhhh!!!
The multiple action sequences truly deliver and kick loads of butt. They may not be on the same level as the original, or the likes of The Raid, but they are pretty close. If anything, this easily has the best action scenes of the year so far. Yes, they are better than any of the ones that the big comic movies have delivered so far. There are several major fights, including a gun battle that occurs in an airport and a long prison riot involving a phone and one long continuous take. This all builds to a totally epic final one, involving Jaa and Wu taking on multiple bad guys in a stylish white building while a beautiful orchestral score is playing by the China Philharmonic. There is use of some wire work throughout that personally I would have rather not seen used, but it doesn’t detract from the action.
Bottom line, this is hands-down the best action that you’re going to see so far this year. This gives me hope that the Hong Kong motion picture industry is on the upswing and that we will start seeing some more high quality productions coming from them.

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-Raul VanTassle