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SPL: Sha Po Lang aka Kill Zone (2005) – English Review


The last hurrah.

A group of cops is trying to arrest a powerful triad boss who constantly escapes the long arm of the law. He killed the parents of a little girl when they were about to testify against him in court. The cops are now taking care of the little girl. The leader of the group is diagnosed with a brain tumor, and there is a new cool guy who will take over his job. But the new cool guy will get a rough start when all hell breaks loose when someone in the group has stolen money from the triad boss.

Wilson Yip has directed the movie, and in the leading roles, we find Donnie Yen, Wu Jing, Simon Yam, and Sammo Hung.

I remember when the movie came out that it was a movie Hong Kong needed. During this period, there weren’t a lot of good movies released. Fortunately, S.P.L. and Election came out that year, so the year wasn’t that bad.

The story is simple. Simon Yam and Donnie Yen are cops. Donnie Yen will take over the job after Simon Yam. Sammo Hung is the triad boss. Donnie Yen and Simon Yam wish to arrest Sammo Hung, but they need evidence that he did something illegal. But then Simon Yam’s group steals money from Sammo Hung, and he sends out his assassin dressed in white to get the money back. He is a killing machine. That cool man in white is Wu Jing, who was a cool actor for a short period. But then he became a poster boy for the Chinese government. Shame on you Wu Jing! Shame on you and Jackie Chan!

The movie has a simple story, but we don’t need more when you look at the cast. We have three actors who are skilled martial artists, and they give everything when it’s their time to shine!

The script is tight, and the runtime is only 90 minutes. There is no trace of dead time. It’s so nice to sit down with a movie that is focused on its task and doesn’t take any detours. It’s out to tell a dark story and kick some ass!

We understand who the central characters are after a few brief scenes, and we don’t need more. The dramaturgy is very simple, as are the characters. The actors create robust characters that you feel all have distinct personalities.

The fight between Wu Jing and Donnie Yen is fantastic! It’s intense, and the pace is just crazy! It’s one of the best fight scenes I’ve ever seen. Sammo Hung can still fight. He’s not as agile and flexible as he was, but I don’t think many people can do what Sammo Hung does. Sammo Hung was 53 years old when the movie was made. He’s not exactly thin here!

SPL: Sha Po Lang aka Kill Zone, is a dark movie, and you will not find a happy ending! Make sure you don’t watch the censored version from China if it still exists. They have removed the most important scene, which is ridiculous because it changes the whole movie!

Rating: 9/10

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