Thursday, September 13, 2018

Short Attention Span Review - SPL: Kill Zone (2005)

Short Attention Span Review - SPL: Kill Zone (2005)

While it may be as overwrought and melodramatic as vintage John Woo, SPL: Kill Zone has earned its reputation.  A hard-boiled cops and robbers epic and a martial arts masterpiece, this one fires on all cylinders.  Yes, it gets a bit sappy here and there, and those looking for karate kicks and gunfights may grow impatient with the depth and and the occasional forays into soap opera territory.  However, once the fisticuffs begin and the lead starts to fly, all bets are off.  Many will watch this one for the first time eagerly anticipating the much-heralded finale wherein Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung lock horns, and there can be no doubt that this is a showdown for the ages.  However, the battle that precedes it, wherein Yen goes toe to toe with Wu Jing in an alley with each man wielding a weapon, is truly the showstopper here.  While the big finale doesn't disappoint, Donnie and Wu Jing give us one of the finest cinematic duels ever captured on film.  Fueled by lightning-fast exchanges and bloody devestation, this is both a close-quarters gem given the confines of the alley and a weapons exchange that would make the Shaw Brothers proud.  The plot is solid and the movie stands as something akin to Heat cross-pollinated with Enter the Dragon, with a heaping dose of noir permeating the proceedings.  SPOILER ALERT: Seriously, good people, the ending steers the flick into major downer territory--and I'm not saying the bad guys win here, peeps.  Read my lips: everyone loses.  In fact, everyone loses everything, with each character acting as the architect of his own downfall in some way.  It's heavy stuff, so prepare yourselves.  The adrenaline that the action generates will quickly give way to some serious heartache as the tale reaches its despair-ridden conclusion.  You have been warned.  The good news is that you will have a hell of a good time on your way to this dreadful destination.

Final Grade: B

While the big showdown between Yen and Hung doesn't disappoint, the alley fight scene where Yen and Wu Jing go at it is on another level altogether.

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