I’ve been a fan of martial arts films for at least fifteen years now. Sadly, however, I do not watch them frequently enough to really keep up with the actors or any new trends that may be occurring in the genre. When I do happen to stumble across one and actually have time to watch it, I am blown away at how the genre has evolved. In that regard, Pou-Soi Cheang’s Kill Zone 2 is no exception.
There are many layers to Kill Zone 2 — the follow-up, though not a sequel to Kill Zone aka SPL: Sha Po Lang. An undercover cop (Wu Jing, Wolf Warrior) is thrown right into the middle of a black market organ selling operation, but is figured out and sent to a Thailand prison, where the warden happens to be business partners with the crime syndicate’s mastermind, Mr. Hung. There, a prison guard (Tony Jaa, Ong Bak franchise), learns of his warden’s involvement in the black market. Upon lending his assistance to the undercover officer, he learns that, in a strange twist of fate, the officer is also one of the few people who can save his dying daughter.
The parallel plot lines and intertwining stories seem confusing at first, but once everything is put into place, Kill Zone 2 is really a very precise and methodical film. What ensues for the film’s 121 minute run-time is an action-packed, emotion-filled ride that I enjoyed immensely.
All actors involved with the film were incredibly talented and while I already knew Tony Jaa was one bad-ass martial artist, I was greatly impressed by his performance as a loving and committed father. This proved to me that Jaa is not only one hell of a talented physical performer, but his acting chops are amongst the best in the genre. The other on-screen attraction was Wu Jing. Jing, like Jaa, blew me away with not only his physical prowess, but his powerful portrayal of a police officer, stuck in the middle of some pretty bad stuff.
Having Jaa and Jing on camera together was like watching a beautifully choreographed dance recital unfold before my eyes. The fight scenes were unrelenting and original, which still amazes me considering how many martial arts films there are these days. Director Pou-Soi Cheang and his crew managed to pull out all the stops, presenting a wonderful action film in the process.
Not only were the fight scenes choreographed remarkably, but the settings in which they took place were equally as awe-inspiring. For instance, one bloody warehouse brawl was set to a soft uncharacteristic song, showcasing both the beauty and brutality of this masterful martial arts flick. Another sequence took place in one of the brightest white rooms I have ever seen on-screen — a stark contrast to the darkness that was taking place, bodies left broken everywhere.
Kill Zone 2 is by no means a horror film, but anybody who has been following my reviews over the years knows that my love for kung-fu and other martial arts films does rear its head from time to time. I think genre fans will still be able to enjoy this one, even if they aren’t necessarily familiar with the genre in which it lives. It is simultaneously fast-paced, relentless, and touching, which is why I recommend it to all.
Be sure to purchase a copy of Kill Zone 2 on Blu-ray or DVD this Tuesday, July 19, from Well Go USA Entertainment.
I give this bad-ass flick 4 hands broken in a vice out of 5.