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4 out of 5 stars
Kill Zone
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2006
Format: DVD
Now this is how you make a crime-drama action film. The less said about this film, the better. This film is directed by Wilson Yip, and is without a doubt one of the greatest action films to come out of Hong Kong in a long, long time. My friend gave this DVD to me a few months ago, and I can't believe I waited so long to finally open up the package and watch this film. It's terrific. The other reviewers are not exagerating or over-emphasizing how great this film is. It's totally terrific! The beginning, middle and ending of the film is just great!

As for the choreographed action scenes--they are the best I have ever seen. Donnie Yen is just outstanding! The film centers around a group of cops who have attempted to put a crime boss named Po (Sammo Hung) behind bars. However, they have run out of patience and decide to frame him for a crime he didn't commit. And I can tell you, in the action scenes, Sammo can move as quickly as anyone can. Don't let his physique fool you. He's lightening quick.

When Ma (Donnie Yen) is pegged as the replacement for Detective Chan (Simon Yam) he finds that he is in a pretty tangled predicatment. With Detective Chan making up rules as he tries to nab Po, Ma finds his loyalties to Chan in question. However, he views things from a distance. He is a clean cop, and wants to catch the bad guys the right way. The fight scenes with him in this film are so realistic, they are incredible. Please viewers, do not give away this film's ending. It's incredible. I never expected the ending of this film coming. It totally floored me. Highly recommended. [Stars: 5+]
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2006
Format: DVD
"Kill Zone" - known properly as Sha Po Lang (and improperly as Saat Po Long on the IMDb) - is quite simply one of the finest Hong Kong action movies of all time. It draws heavily on the City Noir genre established and epitomised by John Woo in the 1980s, with corrupt cops and evil crime bosses at every turn. Unlike Woo's movies, the action here is mostly in the realm of martial arts, not gunplay. Donnie Yen, a long established Hong Kong star only recently making his North American debut in Shanghai Knights, plays a policeman newly assigned to a squad led by Simon Yam, who is hellbent on punishing crime boss Sammo Hung by any means necessary. The fighting in this movie is beyond belief - Yen is said to have set out to one-up "Ong Bak" and re-energize Hong Kong fight cinema. Yen, along with Sammo Hung (an old hand at chinese kung-fu movies) and Wu Jing take the fights to the next level. The alley fight between Wu and Yen is a standout - supposedly the director told them to just fight it out, and Yen told Wu to go as hard as possible, because he could take anything Wu threw at him. The story is also first-rate, and in fact takes up much more of the movie than the fighting does. This is no Tony Jaa one-note story, this is an epic exploration of the dark side of man. I could go on for pages, but trust me: you owe it to yourself to see this movie.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2007
Format: DVD
When I learned that Kill Zone would feature a showdown between Sammo Hung and Donnie Yen (and not even knowing who was good guy and who was bad), I had to get this movie. For years these 2 have starred in many martial arts movies and delivered top notch fights, but have never faced head to head. So I watched. Wow. The "entire" movie was actually wonderful.

Kill Zone really only has 2 major fights, both at the end, but the drama and emotions throughout the movie are so powerful, you can feel the emotions in these 2 fights. The cast is wonderful. The story is superb. Its a tale of revenge told like almost no other. I absouletly loved it. The good cops, led by the Simon Yam charcater, are like family. When they begin to perish under the criminal boss Po (Sammo Hung) and his handy 2nd in command, the good guys become bad to get revenge. The Donnie Yen character shows up, and discovers the cops secrets for revenge, and he tries to stop them at first, but later he gets just as emotionally involved.

I enjoyed the way in which the movie was presented, and how it progressed. Finally a movie, especially martial arts, with flashback scenes that are not cheesy, but very important for the story. If you want a martial arts movie with some depth, Kill Zone is a must. There is nothing else quite like it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Ok, I hope that anyone reading this gives me a chance to explain my rating. I know how big Kill Zone is and my friends don't hesitate to tell me either. I can understand because anything with the amazing Sammo Hung and Donnie Yen is a must see. So Kill Zone is no doubt incredible but trust me when I say how much I cannot overlook its huge flaw.

Basically Kill Zone is very simple, Sammo Hung (Wong Po) is a triad boss who cant seem to be detained. Yen (Ma Kwun) among others is a hard working detective trying to put Wong Po behind bars but it seems that Wong Po runs everything, even some cops. Wong Po is very slick and finds his way out every time he gets captured. Yen seems to be the only detective that is capable of finding him and taking him down but his partners are getting cut down quickly. When Kwun has a huge dispute with his superiors over how the case is being handled, he quits and this is where the real action begins. The question now is if Kwun can take out a vicious force of triads by himself and survive to tell about it.

SPL had amazing fight scenes, choreography, stunts, and camera work. Especially the angles, great slow motion takes and replays on breath taking stunts. The problem was not the story for me but the overall pacing was awful. The film was very slow and the fight scenes were badly placed. If the action was managed better by maybe putting some more in the middle and some in the beginning, the film would have been the classic it could have been. You literally ask yourself if you have the right movie because the opening scene feels like it takes 25 to 30 minutes with boring talk and no action.

What I loved about SPL was the realness and grit of the fight scenes in there. Yen did an amazing job choreographing the scenes in there and he showed amazing athleticism and range with his stunts. For me the acting was not a problem, the story was not a problem, but overall SPL gets 3 stars for great action scenes but bad pacing and placing of the scenes. It's a good film worth watching for the battle between Yen and Hung. Also the fight between Yen and that crazy guy with the white jacket was sick. I hope people understand my rating cause I like the scenes but hated the flaws I pointed out.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2007
Format: DVD
SPL (or Killzone as it is generically labeled in the States) is named for stars in Chinese Astrology that can be seen as either good or evil depending on where they show up in the heavens...and that pretty accurately sums up the message of the film: the greyness of good and evil and where you draw that line.

Sammo Hung is a merciless triad boss by the name of Wong Po. Po would do anything to keep himself out of jail, including killing cops, informants, and their families. Yet, above all this, Po has a real interest in being a father and takes a shine to children. Simon Yam however, is a police detective that has been on the receiving end of Po's ruthlessness and has adopted the daughter of an informant he could not protect. Detective Chan doesn't have much time left to put Po away and his desperation leads to him and his team taking drastic, illegal measures to try and put Po away. Caught up in the middle of all this is Donnie Yen as Detective Kwan, the man who will be taking over Chan's team after he retires. He's trying to cope with his past...but will it last?

SPL (Killzone) is a very good HK cop action drama. It's not exactly a straight martial arts film though it does have plenty of that and it's very good. It is essentially what you'd get if you removed the humor of Police Story and then mixed what you had left with Infernal Affairs and added a dash more implausibility. There is a piece of evidence in this movie that anybody with a working knowledge of the legal system would know that the person it involves would be damned no matter what yet...you'll know it when you see it. I don't want to give too much away. Is it unreal? Possibly (though I don't have any knowledge of the Chinese Legal system). But that level of implausibility is usually par for the course when it comes to over the top cop dramas so it doesn't take away from the film very much.

Everything else is top notch and there are a few things in this movie that are downright shocking. Not the least of which is that Sammo Hung can play such a good villain (though nothing compared to his sadistic assassin underling Jack). It's interesting to think of an action comedian such as Sammo playing such an unfunny and affecting villain. Donnie Yen really deserves more praise and appreciation than he gets. He truly is an unsung action star.

If you enjoy police action mixed with Martial Arts and that ol' Hong Kong fliar then you will enjoy SPL (Killzone).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2007
Format: DVD
Another winning action film! Highly recommended if you love and enjoy watching Chinese martial arts movie.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2006
Format: DVD
SPL (or "Kill Zone", which is the ridiculous American title for this movie) is a return to the gritty, hard core action movies from Hong Kong cinema's heyday when John Woo and Ringo Lam ruled the roost with their brilliant, hyperactive bullet ballets. Directed by Wilson Yip and featuring some of HK's greatest veteran action stars, Sammo Hung (Prodigal Son, Pedicab Driver), Donnie Yen (Iron Monkey) and Simon Yam , SPL is one helluva "edge of your seat" roller coaster ride of a movie for HK action fans. It is relentless, tragic, dark and furious, detailing the story of a retiring HK cop (Simon Yam) with terminal brain cancer, dead set on putting the one triad nemesis (Sammo Hung) of his entire career behind bars before he calls it a day and hands over his job to his replacement (Donnie Yen). Aside from the excellent and lightning-fast action choreography by Donnie Yen, this story starts off as a nail-biting, dramatic showdown between Simon Lam's police inspector and Sammo Hung's brutal triad kingpin, building tension with each relentless scene, but ends crashing to a tragic climax on Father's Day. The theme of fatherhood is the connective tissue for all these characters: while Simon's character agonizes over the prospect of not being able to take care of his godchild due to his brain cancer; Donnie's character deals with carrying on his father's legacy as a policeman; another cop deals with reuniting with his daughter after 10 years apart; another cop deals with his long bitterness toward his father; and crime kingpin Sammo is experiencing the joys of his very first Father's day, after suffering through his wife's two previous miscarriages. As time ticks away, methods become more lawless and brutal, with plot twists becoming more convoluted. Sha Po Long delivers the goods with some of the most impressive fight sequences ever filmed, coupled with strong performances and brilliant cinematography. The ending is a shocker, as Sammo's character resounds the poignant message echoes throughout the entire movie: "God is fair". SPL sets a new standard for HK cinema and is a proud new addition to the HK's great cinematic canon. Go check this out.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2007
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Kill Zone has everything I wanted but overloaded me on everything else I DIDN'T expect and what a ride it was. It had drama like I've never experienced, action I've NEVER felt so enthralled by and cinematography that was nothing but OUTSTANDING! I got it mostly because it had Donnie Yen in it and I was not disappointed one bit by his amazingly powerful martial artist abilities... the movie itself is beyond words to describe it any further except that you must BUY THIS MOVIE!

I'm not one for spoilers but I will tell you that the ending is something you wouldn't ever expect, and it has become a timeless classic in my eyes. Kill Zone all the way-- this is definitely a martial arts film that deserves its marks and has become a legendary item in my collection. This is indeed the Holy Grail of martial arts movies.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
KILL ZONE

Let it be known that I am a huge fan of these kinds of films and in fact own every Dragon Dynasty release that they have put out thus far. I was thinking the other day that other than "The Protector" starring Tony Jaa I have not reviewed any of the Dragon Dynasty releases. I decided that the best place to start would be with the first release from the company and that is this wonderful film called "SPL" or by this release "Kill Zone". If you are like me you have the original release but for the average viewer this is probably the best way to go, and the special features are great.

Kill Zone is about a group of cops who after countless times of trying to put away the bad guy decide it is time to take the law into their own hands. Det. Chan Kwok Chung [Simon Yam] is the leader of this group of officers who has a tumor and is nearing the end of his career. So before he exits the game and after taking in the daughter of a witness killed by the lead villain he must take down Wong Po [Sammo Hung]. Enter Insp. Ma Kwun [Donnie Yen] who will be taking over for Chung after he retires is on the fence about what role he should play after he learns of the officer's vigilante ways. So the film progress over some of the best action and scenes ever witnessed by my eyes leading to a final showdown between Donnie and Sammo which features some great MMA style moves including some great Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques.

This is easily one of the most entertaining films one could have in their collection and to not own it seems a little off to me. This film has that don't become what you hate feeling to it as the officers become what they wanted to stop in the first place. I have always loved these types of films, the idea of taking action yourself and handling business on your own is appealing no matter who you are. The noir style and look of the film only adds to the atmosphere and makes it feel a bit real. The surprising thing about this movie is that I have heard some people speak down on this film, I have no idea why. This has revenge, action, fights, and basically all that is required to have a good time.

The fight scenes at least in my opinion feel real [excluding certain moments] and are very entertaining and I love that fact that some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is applied in the film particularly in the final battle between Donnie and Sammo. Every one did a great job in this film particularly Sammo and Simon Yam who are really the leads of this film not only in the credits along with Donnie but these two hold this film even higher with the tension between them. Donnie's character seems cool and does an excellent job especially since his character lands in the middle of a war. But Simon and Sammo play their characters so real that it seems they really hate each other.

I have heard both negative and positive things about this film but in eyes this is a classic, how could it be any thing less? With the Dragon Dynasty release you will get behind the scenes action and a very informative commentary among other things. Writer/director Yip Wai Shun [Wilson Yip], and writers Szeto Kam Yuen [Kam-Yuen Szeto], and Ng Wai Lun [Wai Lun Ng] did a great job with this film. If you don't already own this I say go get it now, it is worth it. Also the on this film is some amazing cinematography, there are some truly beautiful shots, the beach scenes for instance. And also at times particularly when Donnie Yen is walking away after hitting a guy once and causing brain damage he looks a lot like Lou Diamond Phillips. Don't know why I felt the need to say that.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2006
Format: DVD
SPL is probably the best Hong Kong film I saw in the last 10 years.

Plot: I thought the plot was very nice. It was tightly crafted, for the most part, just enough character development without holding up the film. I like how the plot slowly ease in the action sequences. This is essentially a story first film, rather than a story complimenting martial arts like in Tom Yum Goong. If there is a flaw in the plot, it has to be the fact that Sammo Hung got too little screen time. I mean, they could have done more to show his operations and his methods and more of his brother henchmens. I thought there could be more story to his character.

Acting:

Donnie Yen: This is probably his best acting work to date. At least I get a sense that he is acting in every scene and not just when the camera focus on him. I plays the rookie cop pretty well. If there is a weakness, I will say that he did not show enough intensity. Especially at the end of the movie leading up to the final fight scenes. There should be a burning intense look in him. But I didn't get that.

Simon Yam: As usual, this guy plays the same character in almost every cop film. But as usual, he is pretty good as that character. He show his toughness and vulnerability pretty well. A little more emotions could help though. Nothing to complain about anycase.

Sammo Hung: In terms of physicality, I couldn't imagine a better fit than Hung to play a triad leader. He has the looks, the charisma, and the skills to play it right. I felt like Hung was the weakest of the three though. I felt like he didn't have the voice. It didn't have the leadership quality to it. As for acting, he got too little screen time and he was too subtle at times. He is at his best however when he is playing his character up to his arrogance. Such as smoking a cigar or banging the bottle on the railing of the steps and such. He had the presence.

Wu Jing: Ok, his character was awesome in this movie. His fighting ability was vastly superior than in any of his previous works. But I still don't see much leading man material in this guy. His face is not that hero type face. He doesn't have Jet Li's boyish handsome looks or Donnie's cocky, yet mature style. It is hard to judge his acting because he got wayyyy little screen time. But character wise, he was awesome. Perhaps the movie memorable in the entire film.

Fight scenes

First of all, this is the best hong kong choreography I seen for a while now. I thought everyone did at least a good job on the fights. And best of all, very little wirework. I don't see how people say Donnie Yen didn't take the fight sequences seriously. I mean, it was serious. And Violent. And satisfying. If I have a complain, I have to say the director sometimes move the camera in the wrong spots. Especially during quick action scenes with a lot of striking moves. The camera wasn't still or far enough. Not that it matters too much.

Donnie Yen vs. Wu Jing: Great fight sequence. Wu Jing absolutely stole the show early on killing cops left and right. I like how there is a lot of stoppage and dodging between Yen And Wu. It makes the fight so much more realistic. There is nothing super special about this fight, but the quality never drops. Plus the emotion and coolness factors in.

Donnie Yen vs. Sammo Hung: My favorite fight scene is the end fight between Yen and Hung. I mean, how good was that? While the striking choreography wasn't that great, it totally makes up for it with terrific grappling and ground fighting. Brutal, realistic, and different. Very nice job.

Overall: A dark gritty action crime flick with great martial art sequences and a tightly woven story. Highly recommanded.

Plot - 9.0/10

Characters - 9.0/10

Action sequences - 9.5/10

Overall - 9.5/10
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