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Category:    Home > Reviews > Martial Arts Cycle > Kill Zone DTS set (SPL/Satt po long/Genius/Weinstein/2005)

Kill Zone DTS set (SPL/Satt po long/Genius/Weinstein/2005)


Picture: B-     Sound: B     Extras: C+     Film: C-



For Martial Arts fans, the filmmaking and the movement did not die when the 1980s and mall cineplexes first arrived on the scene.  Long after U.S. audiences moved on after the post-Bruce Lee cycle was over, Donnie Yen, Simon Yam and Sammo Hung became three very successful actors in the genre, but did not make the crossover back to the U.S. like Jackie Chan and Jet Li.  A few decades later, Kill Zone (aka SPL/Satt po long/2005) finally brings them together and though that will please fans, the film is a disappointment.


The story deals with two police officers (Yen and Yam) and one powerful criminal (Sammo Hung) and his young, dangerous, powerful ally (Jacky Wu) clashing in an increasingly violent and ugly conflict.  Yen in particular is the one who lands up having the big showdown with the crime lord.  However, the story gets stagy and silly, just setting up the next fighting sequence.  Some are better than others, but some sloppy production design and editing hurt, as well as problems with the Ng Wai Lun, Szeto Kam-Yuen and (an uncredited) Yip Wilson do not build up the Gangster storyline up enough to offset the purpose of this film.


Like the awkward Original Gangstas, the 1996 Larry Cohen work-for-hire reunion of major Blaxploitation stars that also did not click, this just never takes off and you land up having some good set pieces held together by predictability and filler.  In some of the fights, it looks like the one guy is just standing around to get beat and slashed by his opponent, so al the fights are not good either.  At its best, it brings the stars together and is still ambitious, but it is also sloppy.  Did anybody here see Michael Cimino’s more complex, yet similar and influential 1985 film Year Of The Dragon?


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 is not bad with some good detail, color and even depth at times, as shot by Lam Wah-Chuen, H.K.S.C. with some good shots.  Hong Kong looks good, but there might be some shots that the transfer did not get right.  Maybe an HD-VDD would yield better results in those cases, but with some of the production errors, it is hard to tell.


The Dolby Digital Cantonese 5.1 mix is not bad, but the Cantonese DTS 5.1 is much better, kicking in (ha!) at its best when the fight scenes begin.  It has a richness and fullness that films in this genre scream for, but few U.S. DVDs have offered.  Music is not bad, while dialogue is well-recorded.  The DTS is preferred for its impact and overall realistic envelopment.


Extras are many, with the first DVD offering expert audio commentary by Bey Logan, U.S. trailer, Hong Kong trailer, four TV spots and the breakdown of two of the fight sequences.  DVD 2 adds featurettes focusing specifically on Hung, Yam and Yen, another on director Yip, fifth as a look at the Wu and a making of featurette to round out the disc.  It is enough to make you go out and see all their other films.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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