Kill Zone (SPL: Sha Po Lang)

tn_killzoneBefore Wilson Yip directed Donnie Yen in the IP MAN series the two had already done a bunch of movies together. Their first collaboration was the 2005 crime movie SPL: SHA PO LANG. The title has to do with Chinese mythology and every man’s capacity for both good and evil. That’s hard to translate for Americans so the Weinsteins called it KILL ZONE. It’s about a zone of killing.

I was a little concerned early on because there’s alot of non-linear editing that seemed overly gimmicky to me. Not PULP FICTION type big-chunk-out-of-order non-linear, but skipping around within a scene. For example a bunch of dead people in a van intercut with them driving in the van earlier, a crime scene investigation intercut with what happened there. Those two examples sound sensible but it just keeps using the trick over and over in the beginning of the movie and to me it seemed more concerned with showing off than with having any meaning. Which would be fine if it was a really cool gimmick, but it seems to me a more straightforward approach would be better.

mp_killzoneI just mention that so if it bothers you too it doesn’t put you off and make you stop watching, because this is a great movie. It didn’t take long for me to get over that and get hooked. Detective Chan (Simon Yam) is a supercop who’s in that van crash. He’s transporting witnesses to a big trial against the Triad boss Wong Po (Sammo Hung) but they get ambushed and the witnesses all die. Chan survives but when they’re pulling a chunk of glass out of his head they discover that he has an inoperable brain tumor. So he makes plans to retire and before that he wants to bust Wong Po by any means necessary. That’s what’s on his bucket list. He probly has other things on there like bungee jumping and wearing a bee beard, but those are not mentioned in the movie because those are activities that occur mostly outside of the Kill Zone.

He’s got a great team to bust Wong Po, played by Liu Kai-Chi, Danny Summer and Ken Chang. They all love Chan like a father or really nice big brother so they’d do anything to fulfill his last wish of putting that motherfucker behind bars, including skirting a few rules or straightup framing the bastard. Yen plays Ma Kwun, who’s been transferred in to lead the team after Chan retires. He’s legendary among cops for having once punched a guy so hard it mentally incapacitated him, but he still  causes tension when he finds out the team aren’t exactly playing by the book.

Yen comes strutting into the movie wearing baggy pants and a John McClane tank top. He’s far from the reserved, humble character of Ip Man, but also is not the brazen asshole his reputation implies. He turns out to be the conscience of the team, but his values are challenged. Not surprisingly he’s also the primary asskicker and has two great fights with Sammo Hung.

It’s funny that Sammo has become good at playing scary. He’s believable as this cold-blooded pony-tailed tyrant, you don’t see the jolly goofball behind his eyes. I hope they just keep doing this Yen vs. Hung matchup in movie after movie, time period after time period. Sometimes they could switch and have Sammo be the good guy, though.

The other scary villain is Wong Po’s psychotic knife-wielding enforcer Jack (Wu Jing), who goes around assassinating our protagonists. This guy’s a really good fighter, likes to do flying, spinning kicks and takes perverse pleasure in stabbing people. I don’t know how he gets in so much practice though when he obviously spends so much time on his looks, bleaching his hair and shit. He wears an all white outfit (bad idea when in a baton vs. knife alley fight with Donnie Yen) and his coat almost looks like Captain Eo’s. You just immediately hate this guy before you even realize what a threat he is.

The action (directed by Yen, according to the credits) is excellent. The fighting combines the type of exaggerated, acrobatic moves we love in a kung fu movie with more brutal modern MMA type of styles. Yen is doing armbars, leglocks, chokes, they’re pinning each other down and slamming each other, but there’s still time for jumping and knocking people into things and what not. And I don’t know if this counts as action or not but there is a moment that knocked me on my ass (metaphorically) when Yen is clear across a huge room, he throws a duffle bag of money and it somehow lands exactly at Sammo’s feet. Maybe it’s just CGI but it doesn’t look like it. My #1 guess would be wirework and #2 would be Donnie Yen is a champion bag thrower skilled at both distance and accuracy.

I’m not sure if Yen’s action directing extends to what’s going on in the scenes or not, but there are clever ways to add tension to the proceedings. There’s one where a cop gets tricked into being locked inside a fenced off area and Yen’s on the outside unable to help. (Is that what the Kill Zone is?)  Another part Detective Chan is there during a big fight but he literally has his hands tied, he can’t intervene. I mean I guess that’s a pretty common thing to happen in action movies, but in this story it seems kinda deep the way it parallels Chan’s situation of not being able to affect the outcome of this ongoing war between murdering criminals and cheating cops.

But what I love about this movie is that almost every major character has some emotional thing going on in his life. Chan not only has the impending death, but he’s raising his goddaughter, whose parents were the murdered witnesses. Another guy has his daughter who he rarely gets to see coming to visit, another guy’s estranged from his dying father, and even Sammo has a wife and baby he cares about and he has them on speaker phone as he’s fighting to the near death. Donnie Yen’s character, everybody thinks he’s cool for punching that thug into retardation, but wait ’til you find out what he secretly does because he feels so guilty about it. (some of you guys will like it, because it involves playing video games.)

SPL looks very slick and modern, but that combination of topnotch violence, sincere melodrama and blurry lines between cops and robbers reminds me what I loved so much about the ’90s Hong Kong cinema when I first discovered it. It’s a movie that doesn’t skimp on the action, and yet takes plenty of time for quiet moments of emotion and brotherhood and shit. It can slow down and linger on a guy’s face as we know what he’s thinking about. This is one ZONE I would absolutely KILL to– you know, whatever. Point is I loved it.
Seriously, big ending spoilers below

Early in the movie, whether you consciously think about it or not, it seems obvious that the two characters who will have to die by the end are the terminally ill captain and the enemy he’s trying to avenge before he dies. A few other people on each side could die of course, but those two are the for sure ones, you figure. The sick man probly shortly before the final battle, inspiring his team with his final words as he slips away, maybe sacrificing himself heroically because he’s the one that’s gonna die anyway so he might as well take advantage of that situation. And then maybe Donnie Yen has a big showdown and kills Sammo Hung, right?

So I loved that it was the opposite of that – the terminally ill guy and the villain are the only two characters who survive! The entire rest of both teams get killed, and these two assholes are alive regretting how much shit had to go down. Beautiful.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 at 11:40 am and is filed under Action, Martial Arts, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

68 Responses to “Kill Zone (SPL: Sha Po Lang)”

  1. Haven’t seen this one yet. Sounds like homework I’ll enjoy though, thanks.

    “Kill Zone” is the preferred term for a designated section of a soldiers’ sleeping quarters bay, usually some different colored tiles on the floor, usually in basic training or at Army schools’ temporary lodging buildings, in which weapons are racked overnight and where if a guy accidentally steps inside the zone it is understood that he must be addressed with force or is challenging someone to join him in the kill zone for a fight.

    These days I’m more likely to be concerned with a “kill box,” which can be purple or blue, but that’s totally different.

  2. The only MA film I’ve ever seen that ends with a true WTF moment.

  3. Now I feel like an asshole because this review makes this movie sound awesome but I remember not liking it at all, though for the life of me I can’t remember why. Can anyone remind me of why this movie seems to have made no impression on me except a lingering sense of dissatisfaction?

  4. I think that was because you’re an asshole.

  5. But was I born this way or did I work at it my whole life?

  6. Can´t join this discussion because I´m too damn busy writing my unofficial ABOVE THE LAW fanfiction spinoff detective novel: THE ADVENTURES OF BOB BOUQUET!

  7. Off topic here but, I don’t know, just thought a couple of you guys might be curious to know that Seagal rolled up into a guys yard in a god damn tank to put a stop to some suspected cockfighting:


  8. I wasn’t really a big fan of Yip’s direction of IP MAN, which struck me as broad (although I guess that’s not too much of a problem for a martial arts movie) and mostly dull. It had elaborate-ish sets and costumes to lend an air of austerity but no real style (call it THE KING’S SPEECH effect), and worse it resorted to Mr Majestyk’s rightfully hated Needless Color De-Saturation for “atmosphere.” It was a fun movie, but it only really comes alive during the action scenes, and from what I understand those were directed by Sammo Hung.

    I’ve actually been watching a lot of Asian movies lately, from all sorts of places, but with a real affection for the HK action stuff. Yip didn’t really seem like a filmmaker worth following up on, but Vern does sound pretty enthusiastic about this one. What do you all think? Is Yip worth another shot?

  9. In these parts, SPL stands for Scottish Premier League.

  10. As great as the fights are in this movie, they’ve got nothing on Flash Point, the best of the Yip/Yen collaborations, in my opinion. The final fight in Flash Point is the best piece of MMA fight work I’ve ever seen.

  11. I didn’t like this movie as much because it was incredibly depressing throughout. I understand that in reality the movie is anti-violence so it’s really hard to get so excited for the final two awesome fights.

    Between this, Dragon Tiger Gate and Flash Point, they really took the fun out of martial arts films, imo. Luckily they stopped while they were ahead.

  12. Dan, he is absolutely worth following up on, in my opinion. (Though you may want to take my opinions with a grain of salt since I actually like needless color de-saturation.) As Vern mentions he one of the few Hong Kong directors consistently putting out stuff reminiscent of the excellence of 90s Hong Kong cinema. This one is still my favorite of his films with Yen. I disagree with Vern on the “gimmicky” editing. That was one of the things I liked so much about the film. Rather than being gimmicky I thought it provided a great sense of momentum to the movie. A few minutes in I thought they were just doing it as a rushed sort of prologue before the actual film kicked in, like the quick setup INFERNAL AFFAIRS had. Then twenty minutes later I realized, no, actually the whole film is going to be like this. As a fan of fast paced films I loved that.

    However, if you don’t like this one or FLASH POINT, or maybe BIOZOMBIE if you’re in the mood for a horror comedy, you can probably write off Mr. Yip.

  13. A friend recommended this to me about a year ago and loaned me the DVD. The image on the DVD itself and the title of the movie combined to make me think it was a cheesy movie I wouldn’t enjoy much, so it sat by the wayside for nearly a year while I watched other movies. When I finally watched this I was blown away by how awesome it was. Didn’t even realize for half the movie that the villain was Sammo Hung. Even though I saw Ip Man and liked it, it was this movie that convinced me of Donnie Yen’s awesomeness. The fighting and the way they mix in the MMA stuff is unique and cool.

  14. A little off-topic but does anyone besides me think there’s a too ridiculous amount of broken glass in “Invisible Target” which incidentally stars Wu Jing (Jacky Wu) as the bad guy.

    That being said, until he fought Donnie Yen I found Wu Jing to be utterly terrifying. Also, movies where Wu Jing plays the hero are not good.

  15. Jake,

    Thanks. I’m pretty sure I saw BIOZOMBIE a few years ago but I don’t remember a damn thing about it. If I give Yip another shot, what would you most recommend: KILL ZONE, FLASH POINT or IP MAN 2?

  16. I’d recommend FLASHPOINT* with your finger on the fast forward button. The dramatic filmatism is not good at all. Or is it the script? Or is it a translation thing? Well, life’s too short to waste on shitty dialogue. As a corollary, life’s too short to not maximize enjoyment of a great series of escalating Donnie Yen fight sequences.

    *Or IP MAN 2.

  17. I’d recommend SPL since it is my own personal favorite and because it is completely different in tone and style to IP MAN. Plus Donnie Yen punches a dude retarded. He doesn’t do that in FLASH POINT.

    As for IP MAN 2 I’d only watch that if you liked IP MAN since it doesn’t really do anything new, it just does the same thing well.

    DRAGON TIGER GATE should probably only be watched if you enjoy the other Yen/Yip movies. I’d say it’s their weakest film but it’s still worth seeing for some fantastic fights.

  18. “and Yen’s on the outside unable to help.”

    He really looked like he was in the bathroom with severe constipation.

    This film has a good story, good actors but one bad thing going for it cancelling all the good things: Donnie Yen. This man is only around because his talented peer (Jet) doesn’t do this kind of film anymore and there isn’t anyone else, also because Donnie allows the big hand of Chinese goverment to pat his head, he probably even kisses it from time to time. No talent, no charisma, yeah he can careograph fights well but that doesn’t mean he has to be in front of the camera acting – unsuccessfully- like the action superstar he isn’t.

    He is not a bad ass, he is a fake bad ass. The worst kind of fake bad ass there is.

  19. I bet Eliza loved BLADE II.

    And check out SHANGHAI KNIGHTS — you’ll be pleased to see that Donnie Yen gets blowed up good at the end of that one. (spoiler)

  20. I may have mentioned this before but my favourite non-fight moment is when Simon Yam is taking Donnie Yen on a tour of their turf, and witness a uniform cop about to have his ass handed to him by Sammo’s young thugs, so they step in. All the bravado suddenly dissipates as 50 gang members are stared down by Yen and Yam – until Sammo turns
    up, and the whole atmosphere on the street changes again. The scene doesn’t really go anywhere, but it pays off later when the same uniform cop helps Simon Yam escape from the police station when Internal Affairs come looking for him.

  21. Hmmmm I haven’t read the “spoiler” section but if this is anything like “The Pledge” (anybody else remember that movie?) it would probably end up with hints that the main character has lost his sanity and has been hallucinating all along due to the effects of the tumour. Since this is an Asian action flick though, I’m guessing it may not take the same turn. I’ll check it out anyway.

  22. Hmm, sounds good. Ip Man was awesome–this sounds like a worthy companion piece.

    I’ll say once again Vern should take a look at David Bordwell’s article “The Dragon Dances”, analyzing Hong Kong action-both martial arts and gunplay.

  23. Jareth Cutrestory

    March 24th, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Majestyk: If I remember an earlier thread correctly, you expressed difficulty distinguishing between SPL and a similar Yen vehicle called FLASH POINT. My theory is that some of the suckiness of FLASH POINT bled into your memory of SPL.

    it’s also possible that SPL’s modest awesomeness suffered for its proximity to the supernova awesomeness of VENGEANCE.

  24. I really liked FLASH POINT. Partly because it’s set in 90’s Hong Kong.
    Though I wonder if that was an excuse to have older model cars to blow up.

  25. Eliza – have you seen the IP MAN movies? I don’t know how you could deny Donnie Yen’s charisma and screen presence in those. He gives a really good acting performance as a different type of character than usual in addition to the outstanding fights in both movies (where he fights Wing Chun style which he’d never done before.)

    Also, you gotta admit in SPL he threw that bag better than anybody. I love Jet Li but he doesn’t have those kind of bag throwing skills.

  26. I was first turned onto Donnie Yen (like many Americans, I suspect) when I saw him in IRON MONKEY, where he does a pretty great job playing a likable antagonist (hey, there’s another movie that sort of splits the audience’s allegiance between two characters who are both likable but end up fighting each other). If you doubt his charisma or acting skills, that role is a pretty fine line to walk, but he does it quite memorably. Been following him ever since.

  27. The obvious ones that people have missed are In the Line of Duty IV and Tiger Cage 2. ITLOD4 is just a non-stop martial arts flick, with little to no plot, but nothing too openly terrible to distract from the literal non-stop fights.

    Tiger Cage 2 falls more into the Jackie Chan-style action comedy territory that was very common at that time in Hong Kong. The comedy is pretty lame, but not too bad. However, it has some great fights, including Donnie taking on Liu Kang himself, Robin Shou, in the end fight.

  28. DangerManAwesome

    March 24th, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Vern, you HAVE to watch Flash Point!!

    truthfully, i found that movie better than SPL (and i LOVE SPL). I can see why some people felt that it wasn’t as good story wise, but i found that i enjoyed that one more. Something about it felt grittier and more real than SPL. Not really spoiler-ish, but the entire first 45 minutes there is little to no action at all, but it really built the tension up, and i loved how it literally just exploded in the last half hour.

    To date, it is (in my opinion) Donnie Yen’s best fight choreography ever captured on film. There will be at least ONE badass move he does that will make your jaw drop.

  29. Jareth Cutestory

    March 24th, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Mr. Subtlety: If I remember correctly, Yen was also similarly sympathetic in the second ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA movie, in which he doesn’t play a villain so much as he plays a virtuous obstacle that Jet Li’s character has to negotiate with (“negotiate” being a pretty word for ass-kick).

  30. I always seem to like Donnie Yen better when he’s the “bad Guy” (see Hero and Once Upon a Time in China 2).

  31. Tiger Cage 2 and In the Line of Duty IV were also my intro to Donnie Yen. His fights with Michael Woods in both movies were really good and the way he shuffled his stance back and forth was amazingly quick. Even moreso though was a scene in TC2 when he manages 3 kicks off one jump.

  32. Guys I have seen Iron Monkey where Yen is upstaged by a little girl (playing a boy) and his shiny suit. I have also seen him in OUAtIC2 – and furthermore I have watched the interviews in R2 dvd where you can see the difference of humanity between Jet and Yen.

    Despite that fact that I don’t like him, I agree that he is a good fight careographer. This was his main job when he was working for German TV – but when Jet stopped doing this sort of film and Jackie became too old for it, he saw the opportunity and dived in. Kudos to his sense of business management but I don’t like how such a blatant show off he is on screen and that fact that he can’t act (martial actors usually are not so good in that department, very few exceptions, Donnie not being one). That is why in a film like Bodyguards and Assasins (or how we love Chinese Government) among a strong ensemble cast, even a horse acts better than him.

    “Eliza – have you seen the IP MAN movies?”

    I actually stayed away from them knowing how Donnie was involved in everything so I thought these films would be full of how wonderful he is and annoy me.

    I’m actually waiting for WKW film starring Tony Leung CW who actually learned Wing Chun for the film. And mentioning Wing Chun, did anyone of you guys watched Wing Chung starring Michelle Yeoh? If not watch it and see how Donnie fares in front of a real bad ass martial art actor who can wing chun his ass all the way to China and back.

  33. Sorry Eliza, but Michelle Yeoh’s not a martial arts actor, she’s just an actor who does what she’s told by the action choreographer. She wouldn’t be able to even get close to Donnie’s ass.

  34. Wabalicious Monkeynuts

    March 25th, 2011 at 9:49 am

    There are 2 different endings for SPL, i haven’t seen the one Vern mentions. I think it must have been the HK release i saw, i was surprised when a freind mentioned the ending Vern mentions above, as it’s not the ending i saw.

  35. “Eliza – have you seen the IP MAN movies?”
    Reading that out of context, I was picturing it as the alternate final line of MY FAIR LADY.

  36. From what I remember of the DVD extras:
    The Hong Kong version ended before the last death. There was a real life incident just before the movie was released and the press was bagging on movies where that type of character dies. (is that non-spoilery enough?)
    The bag throw was wire work. Also the part where Yen body slams Hung (or was it vice versa?) onto that ice sculpture or whatever it was.

  37. Does this mean that you’re going to be watching Flashpoint sometime soon Vern?

  38. DangerManAwesome

    March 25th, 2011 at 8:16 pm


    You just mad cuz Jet Li retired after realizing he can’t keep up with Donnie Yen. =P

    but seriously, you’re comparing apples to oranges, and it seems like you’ve developed an unhealthy bias against Donnie Yen movies. Bruce Lee was every bit as brash and cocky. You can say that Donnie Yen is the modern age’s Bruce Lee (both had very different hobbies apart from their martial arts… Donnie Yen is a classically trained pianist, for example). But i digress. It’s like comparing Jackie Chan to Bruce Li. Or Jackie Chan to Jet Li, for that matter. Each has something that sets em apart from the rest, and i happen to enjoy all of em for their individuality.

  39. DangerManAwesome

    March 25th, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    also, i find it funny that you say you never saw Donnie Yen’s Ip Man yet proceed to tell us to watch Wing Chun because Michelle Yeoh “can wing chun his ass all the way to China and back”. And that Tony Leung actually learned Wing Chun for the role in WKW’s film… when that’s exactly what Donnie Yen did.

    Good luck with trying to win anyone over to your side.

  40. Yeah! Let’s annihilate the only female that’s ever had the sand to come post here!

  41. OK I have just finished watching this movie and I have only one thing to say:

    VERN, WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE? This is NOT what I have come to expect from this website recently.

    You know what, at first I resented having to wade through two hours of utter shit in order to watch maybe two minutes of good-quality action direction. But y’know, this has been my experience with so many films that have been “recommended” here recently that I’ve kinda got used to it. Because who cares if you have to dig through a pit full of elephant dung, you’re bound to find a diamond or two in there somewhere, right?

    But just as I was starting to accept this state of affairs, you throw THIS at me. And just look at what I’ve had to sit through here:

    1) This film has an interesting, unique story with an inspired take on the morality of criminals and those who have to try and stop them.

    2) It also has relatable characters who act perfectly reasonably within the world that they operate, even if that world has a different set of moral “rules” than I’m used to.

    You’ve spent the last couple of months systematically destroying my expectations of action films by recommending stinker after stinker. I’ve suffered Stallone in his “I’ve just had a brain aneurism” acting phase, Kellu Hu trying to play the lead role in a film about assassins by playing a sulky teenager who never actually kills for money, and the son of the Million Dollar Man trying – and painfully failing – to emote. And that’s just the ones that spring to mind. All because of YOUR recommendations.

    And now, all of a sudden, you’ve recommended a film with a great cast of characters, interesting story, great action scenes, great cinematography, mostly great soundtrack (yeah, once or twice it gets a bit mawkish, but hey, it’s an Asian action movie, even “Infernal Affairs” had this problem from time to time), pretty much great everything. What the FUCK?

    Seriously, have you turned into some kind of great big NANCY?

    This is NOT GOOD. Do this again once or twice, Vern, and you know what happens? I start getting OPTIMISTIC. So when you give the new DTV classic “Suburban Commando 2: Son of Hulk” a shining review and rave about the action sequences, I will actually have to watch the damn thing. In the words of Al Pacino, “hoo fucking ha”.

    (Ok, on the subject of the film, I gotta say: Jeez, that kid played by Jing Wu was freaking scary! Anybody else notice that he was the only character whose footsteps got muted? Sounds like a ghost, dresses like a ghost, even moves like a ghost. His fight with Donnie Yen was the best martial-arts action sequence I’ve seen for months.

    As for the convenient “landing” at the end, all I have to say is that that one treads the fine line between utter genius and jumping the shark. I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt and say “genius”. But it’s a close one.)

  42. Jareth Cutestory

    March 25th, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Eliza: I don’t think there are many actors, Asian or otherwise, with Michelle Yeoh’s gravity. She can sell anything. If Chung Yow Fat wasn’t as good as her in CROUCHING DRAGON, I don’t see how Donnie Yen could be expected to keep up.

    Stu: Your version of MY FAIR LADY is the only one I’d watch. Somebody needs to make that film.

  43. Mouth – you realise Eliza isn’t her / his real name, right? I don’t know how you could possibly post on a badass-themed forum like this one and not realise who “Eliza Bennett” is. Not hardcore, dude. Not hardcore at all.

  44. Hey man, I’ve been [almost] front & center at a live local theatre production of MY FAIR LADY. If that right there’s not enough for all the badass cred I need for a lifetime, allow me also to disclose that I count Eliza Doolittle’s “I Could Have Danced All Night” among my absolute favorite tunes. For serious. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ezy50aY6Bg This song should be the standard by which British sopranos are judged.

    And I think I’ve gone on the record on this before, but I prefer EMMA over PRIDE & PREJUDICE, no matter how charming Jane Austen’s Ms. Benet is. I avoid raising this controversial issue too often b/c I don’t want to alienate my outlaw brethren here.

  45. Random MY FAIR LADY Fact: Rex Harrison was originally turned down for the role of Henry Higgins, despite playing him in the stage production. The reason was that the producers believed he was too old for the part. Harrison responded by sending them a naked picture of himself he took on his yacht while on holiday and this was apparently enough to convince them otherwise.

    BTW, I share my real name with a fictional literary character, so Eliza Bennet being her real name wouldn’t be so weird.

  46. You’re last name is Little?

  47. Yes. Thankfully the “like the mouse?” questions stopped after about 5 years of the movie being out.

  48. *your
    Dude, I should be a detective, figuring out your name, plus I’m already my own grammar policeman. That’s a badass story about Rex Harrison, by the way. I hope it’s true, but I ain’t gonna google “Rex Harrison naked” to confirm.

  49. Rex Harrison’s son is an old professor/mentor/friend of mine. Next time I talk to him I’ll ask him about it.

  50. Fine. Go confirm my half remembered anecdote someone said on a talkings heads Greatest Musical show I’m not completly sure of the name of, with a mere direct relative of the guy. I’ll try not to take it personally.

  51. Mouth – not sure if I agree, but hey, I can deal. To the best of my knowledge the mystery of who sent Miss Fairfax the piano is the first ever “legitimate” fair-play mystery in literature. That’s gotta count for something.

    And Emma is less irritating than at least 3/5 of the Bennett sisters.

    Somewhere in Seattle, a rapidly greying ex-con is shaking his head in disbelief and wondering how his badass-oriented website came to this…

  52. This is what happens in the Kill Zone — EMMA for life, motherfuckers.

  53. “and it seems like you’ve developed an unhealthy bias against Donnie Yen movies.”

    I have to agree with you. And it is not good to avoid a film (in this case Ip Man(s), Flashpoint etc.) just because an actor I don’t like is in it. I’ll try to overcome this. But seriously guys the man was so annoying in the interviews of OUATICII. An actor should be confident, I get it but it seems to me is that Donnie is over confident and doesn’t have enough to support his delusions of grandeur. I’ll try to get past his entertainment persona since it is indeed an unhealthy bias. But I do dislike people who think more of themselves then they really are. And Donnie -especially in that interview- comes off as one.

    “Bruce Lee was every bit as brash and cocky.”
    Yeah but in his films Bruce is a total bonafine bad ass. He has charisma, charm and his macho attitude doesn’t spring from thinking himself the best, but from situations and how they affect his principles in life (or something like that). And also when he is on screen your eyes tend to be glued to him and you sympathise with him.

    Donnie is a fan of Bruce but being a fan and thinking himself as “the next Bruce” – especially in that old age – are different things.

  54. Paul – If I had known you were gonna like the movie I would not have reviewed it. Sorry about that.

    Eliza – ha, doesn’t sound like we’re gonna convince you to like Donnie Yen. But if you ever do watch IP MAN I hope you’ll admit he’s doing some acting in that one.

    Also he gets my respect for life for choreographing the fights in BLADE 2.

    At least we can all agree that Michelle Yeoh is awesome.

  55. Vern – you better be!

    We can, indeed, agree on Michelle Yeoh being awesome. (Although what the fuck was she doing in “Tomorrow Never Dies”?)

  56. Rhetorical question. She did nothing in “Tomorrow Never Dies”. Talk about a waste of talent…

  57. Anyone here see DRAGON (aka WU XIA) starring Yen? It like A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE except every once and a while Yen punts somebody across counties. It’s the rare martial arts movie where the characters and story are so well done and involving, that it’s almost a shame when the fights bust out. ‘Almost’ because the (Yen-choreographed) fights are sublime. Seek it out.

  58. I heard Wolf Warriors by Wu Jing with Scott Adkins isn’t that good. Wu Jing made a sequel. It literally has no IMDB listing. It has Frank Grillo in it. It has a trailer. How is there no IMDB listing? Weird. Looks cool.


  59. CHASING THE DRAGON teaser:

  60. MULAN has been dumped on Disney+ for $29.99.

    This is a crushing news for movie distributors everywhere. Didn’t expect Disney to go this route.

  61. BLACK WIDOW, too. I don’t get it. I’ve been anticipating both movies, but I’m not exactly anxious to pay double a movie ticket price to watch it on a TV at home by myself. More likely I’ll wait for video or post-Covid theatrical re-release. (I assume they’ll be doing those instead of letting smaller movies fill up the screens during the stretch when they have no event movies to release because they dumped them to TV during the six months – or a year? or longer? – that they couldn’t film new ones.)

  62. CORRECTION: I fell for a fake Disney+ tweet. So far BLACK WIDOW is not scheduled to be sacrificed, just MULAN.

  63. I think people are over thinking that somehow movie theaters won’t ever open again. This will not be the normal and will just be a blip.

  64. A lot of families will be seeing MULAN and a family trip to the movies costs way more than $30. I’d definitely pay that to keep my kids (and myself) entertained for a couple of hours, and I don’t even have to deal with extreme isolation measures or home-schooling.

  65. Yeah I’m not sure I want to watch MULAN enough to pay it, but in the abstract, imo $30 is absolutely a cost-effective deal if you have more than one person in the house who wants to watch a brand new theatrical release. I love going to the theater but it’s both expensive and, like, unsafe right now. So hey.

  66. I suspect a large part of the reason MULAN was made was on the assumption that this would be a huge hit in China, where this is (seemingly) still going to be released in theatres, so I think it makes some sense. I would be surprised if other high budget Disney productions go the same way, but we’ll see.

  67. I am a long time cinema goer. A ticket here in Singapore costs $13.50 on a weekend. I don’t take snacks and moviegoers here are generally well behaved.

    US$29.99? That’s nearly $60 here. I could watch 4 movies at that price.

    That said, i think most of us here in Asia will get MULAN theatrically.

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