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Paradox [Blu-ray & DVD]
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Louis Koo As Lee Chung Chi
A Hong Kong police negotiator and a widower who raises his only daughter. Lee faces enormous pressure at work, his 15-year-old daughter Wing-chi becomes the last resort to relief pressure. He always believes himself as an open-minded dad who understands his daughter well and treats her as friend.
But he never expected that Wing-chi would vanish when visiting Thailand, forcing him to locate her whereabouts.
Tony Jaa As Tak
A detective at the Pattaya police station and good friend of Chui Kit. He is an energetic guy with an extraordinary sixth sense.
From the moment Chui Kit decides to handle Lee Chung-chi’s case, Tak gets a bad feeling, so he decides to join Chui Kit’s investigation…
Lam Ka Tung As Cheng Hon Shou
An aide to Bangkok mayoral candidate. He is meticulous, results-driven and dedicated to his work. As the mayor suffers heart attack and is desperate for a heart transplant. Hon Shou clearly understands that it is a crucial moment in the election campaign that he can’t just wait and do nothing.
When his daughter goes missing in Thailand, a Hong Kong cop (Louis Koo) teams with local police (Tony Jaa, Wu Yue) to find her, but instead finds himself embroiled in a web of corruption and violence in this explosive thriller from famed action director Wilson Yip (Ip Man Trilogy, SPL: Kill Zone).
Making of, Trailer
Cantonese (original),English (dub)
Subtitles: English and Chinese
About the Actor
Tony Jaa is known from the Ong-bak Franchise, xXx: Return of Xander Cage, and Furious 7.
Louis Koo is known from Protégé (2007), The White Storm (2013), and Overheard (2009).
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Hong Kong cop Lee Chung Chi (Louis Koo; Flashpoint, Kill Zone 2) teams up with Thai detective Chui Kit (Yue Wu; Birth of the Dragon) after his daughter is kidnapped in Thailand for illegal organ trafficking.
Director Wilson Yip (Ip Man 1-4, Kill Zone) recruited some familiar SPL actors to new and different roles here in the SPL series. So, while this may be a sequel, there is no actual character continuity. And that’s a shame—as the action here simply does not measure up to SPL 2. Kill Zone 2 (2015; aka SPL 2) was so much more brutal, exciting and interesting than Kill Zone (2005; aka SPL) or Paradox. But this film has its merits. From cityscapes to waterfront views, this film is gorgeously shot! And speaking in terms of emotional character depth, it exceeds its predecessors.
Past SPL installments did well with the rage that fuels revenge and the anger that can seep into all aspects of one’s life. This third SPL film continues to capture this, while also including profound senses of protection, desperation and bargaining in our paternal protagonist (Chi). The flashbacks sew flesh over Chi’s vulnerability, guilt and humanity.
Both experienced action stars, Koo and Wu have their fair share of stunts. But in a world where I’ve seen SPL 2 and Tony Jaa’s marathoning maelstrom of maneuvers, this yields little impact beyond providing decent pacing to this action movie. However, this is more a gritty crime film than a martial arts film—for the first 40 minutes at least. But once Jaa (Tony Jaa; Ong-Bak, The Protector, Skin Trade, Kill Zone 2, Furious 7) is on the scene, things pick up and they pick up fast for as long as he holds the screen.
The action choreography remains gritty and largely realistic in the scope of human-capable Jackie Chan stunt standards. However, there is a steady (but only light to moderate) physics-defiant aspect of wirework and a light seasoning of nigh-supernatural Shaolin monk featdom. No one is doing Crouching Tiger Jedi jumps, but there are more than a few moments that are impossible—even if just by a little bit. Normally, in more realistic martial arts movies, this would bother me (a lot). But it’s uncommon and relies more on practical combat than unrealistic stunts to advance the spin-kicking dialogue (i.e., to decide a victor).
There are three major martial arts sequences. The early perp pursuit with Koo and Wu, the second perp pursuit which includes Jaa on the rooftop, and the meat warehouse finale.
My greatest criticism of this film is that Jaa was far underutilized. That, and the lack of SPL 2’s immense choreographical prowess, hold this sequel back significantly. As we move into the meat warehouse battle finale the scything cleaver blades of whirling dervishes certainly entertain. Koo and Wu’s characters blitz the bad guys, the fight gets brutal when meat hooks come into play, and there’s barely a millisecond to take a breath between swings, clangs and parries.
I may miss the level of technical action that Jaa can bring, but this piece of Asian action cinema brought solid drama and crime thriller elements to an emotionally fueled journey transforming from rescue to revenge as the plot advanced. And, as I mentioned before, this film is visually striking despite having few non-city scenes. Solid film.
At some points, the movie tries to be more dramatic than it can handle. Perhaps the impact is lost in translation to English.
The movie has very vile points that make this not suitable for anyone under 18. I would really say under 21. I'm not trying to belittle anyone that is an adult at 18, but you would be better off not seeing this movie until you are at least 21. If you wait to at least that age to watch it, you will most likely understand why I have put this warning at the front of the review.
This is a cop movie. It is not a buddy cop movie. The non-female hero leads are all cops.
No female hero leads; women are helpless victims that need to be saved.
The martial arts fight scenes were good. As always, I can never get enough of Tony Jaa in action. The other guys were good. Fight scenes were well planned and executed. I could only but be so surprised when I just looked and saw that Sammo Hung was responsible for the action direction on this film. Honestly, based on some of the fight scenes I thought it could have been a Baa-Ram-Ewe movie, and I had just missed their involvement in the opening credits. In hindsight, I can say that the fight scenes were a bit too clean/crisp/smooth for Baa-Ram-Ewe.
Based on this movie, Thai Police can't hit the side of a barn if they armed with a pistol. At the same time, this is a martial arts film so we don't expect people shooting firearms to hit anyone.
Which of course leads this around to ... this isn't a kung fu movie. There are no training sequences. The people in the film know martial art simply because they know martial arts. The characters that are supposed to be native to Thailand fight with what I would call standard Thai boxing techniques. It's easy to pick them out. Our main character from Hong Kong? Harder to pick out what school he would be from. It appears to be a mixed Chinese martial art. Not a lot of clinching. Ground game is avoided. Minimal weapon use by anyone until the final parts of the movie.
It is a rollercoaster ride. It will go where you don't expect it to go. It's kind of like Oldboy in that way.
It isn't a movie that I will watch over and over again, but I was glad that I watched it for the experience.
Action? Most of the actors aren't worth much except for the sub-protagonist in Jaa.
Plot? It's where it is the strongest.
Overall, I'd give it a 3 or 4-star depending on your preference. The antagonist and the use of knives is super prevalent in Asian films. It's seems a bit archaic unless use of guns by the general public is non-existent, which would explain its default of choice for armory. Regardless, average movie. 3-star; good enough.
I'd actually prefer if it wasn't dubbed, but maybe that's just me...
In any case... if you are a fan of Asian action/suspense, I think you'll like it...
Top international reviews
I was really shock to see a more emotional movie than a fighting style movie even though it has fighting of martial arts to it.
I totally went into this thinking otherwise but was very surprise how balance it was.
you have fighting an you have tragedy an a very nasty set of people that only care for the ones who they think likes them.
what a bad combination that is the greedy gets greeder an the low life feeds them.
Runtime 100 Min.
Cantonese 5.1 DTS-HD with English Sub.