Kill Zone 2 / 殺破狼2 / Saat3 Po3 Long4 Ji6 (2015)
aka SPL 2 : A Time For Consequences
Director: Soi Cheang
Screenplay: Jill Lai Yin Leung, Wong Ying
Cast: Tony Jaa, Wu Jing, Simon Yam, Zhang Jin, Louis Koo
The original SPL / Kill Zone (from now on I’ll only refer to SPL as its name) helped reinvigorate the martial arts genre in Hong Kong. It ended up taking a longer time than usual to bring this sequel and in the end it’s not even a real sequel story-wise. Supposedly it follows the same theme but I couldn’t really tell. The SPL music theme, which is pretty cool, does play again here but other than that there’s not much that ties this movie to the original. In fact, based on the quality of this film, it didn’t need to piggy-back off the SPL name at all.
Although I am one of those former fans whose interest in martial arts movies has waned over the years, I do at the same time wish for them to continue living on even if the releases are much fewer. In the martial arts department SPL2 absolutely delivers with its brutal, hard-hitting fight scenes. They’re intricate at times but not overly fanciful and mostly grounded in reality. The action choreography knows when to add a bit of flair to the fights and when to just let loose the down & dirty brawling.
Wu Jing displayed excellent skills in the original SPL as a villain. He’s a hero here and as much as it would’ve been nice to have Donnie in the sequel, Wu Jing fills in very well both with his presence and martial arts skill. Wu Jing’s penultimate fight with a multiple knife wielding fighter (Zhang Chi) is comparable to the iconic Donnie Yen vs Wu Jing fight from SPL1. It feels just as dangerous and fast. It’s a bit flashier with more dynamic camera work. It’s done very well but as a result doesn’t give as clear a look at all the moves like in the SPL1 fight. Zhang Chi’s character was also given some nice build-up to show how bad-ass he is earlier in the film which helps you really anticipate this eventual showdown.
Tony Jaa is also quite good in this film again like Wu Jing both in acting and of course fighting. He and Wu Jing do have a suitable hard-hitting fight early on involving breaking glass. Unfortunately, Jaa does not have a rival fight similar to Wu Jing vs Zhang Chi. But Jaa arguably does the most ridiculous stunt in the whole movie by doing a leaping knee through a truck window.
The final 2 vs 1 fight involving Wu Jing + Tony Jaa vs Zhang Jin is very much the highlight of the movie and certainly surpasses the final fight of SPL1 (Donnie vs Sammo Hung). Again, it’s more intricate but is not lacking in its hard hitting brutality. Despite Zhang Jin not looking particularly intimidating from his physique alone, his martial arts skills and forceful physicality more than make up for this. Just as you think the heroes have the upper hand, he pulls out a trick to continue the epic fight.
“So what about the story?” Asked nobody. Actually the story is not bad, the main heroes and villains are all fairly well defined. The movie succeeds in getting you to care about the characters and hate the villains. Louis Koo is pretty good as the crazed but very ill leader. Simon Yam also returns here, playing a different type of tough cop who supports Wu Jing’s character. It’s a bonus that the story is more than competent. That combined with excellent fight scenes makes this a very easy recommendation for not only fight fans but those less experienced with the genre.
This film was seen in the theatre at the Fantasia Film Festival.