In 2005 a throwback to the great Hong Kong action flicks came along from writer/director Wilson Yip titled SPL: Kill Zone. It was reminiscent of the kind of action flicks we used to see from the Viceroy of Violence himself, John Woo. Now over a decade later we get Kill Zone 2 (originally titled SPL 2: Time for Consequences).
Usually sequels that take a long time to hit the screen aren’t up to the level of the original movie. The recent Zoolander 2 and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 are an excellent example of this. So was Godfather III, which isn’t a bad movie, but pales in comparison to its predecessors. Other examples include Blues Brothers 2000, Force 10 from Navarone and perhaps the worst of the bunch, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.”
Muay Thai expert Tony Jaa (Ong-Bak and The Protector) is “Chatchai”, a guard in a Thai prison. His precocious daughter “Sa” is suffering from leukemia. Only a bone marrow transplant can save her life. It turns out that there is a donor match in the bone marrow database but the cell phone of that person never answers.
Wu Jing (he played “Jack” in the original SPL: Kill Zone) is a Hong Kong cop named “Kit.” At the behest of his uncle “Wah” (Simon Yam), Kit goes undercover as a drug addict for a long-term assignment to try to get to the head of a crime organization. “Hung” (Louis Koo) is that crime lord and he has a problem of his own. His heart is failing and the only possible transplant source is his brother. He plans the kidnapping of his brother so that the transplant can take place at a Thai hospital. Among his other businesses, Hung is involved in the sale of human organs for transplants and he employs the warden who runs the prison where Chatchai works. Zhang Ji (he was one of the stunt doubles for Zhang Ziyi in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) is the warden “Ko.” The kidnapping goes wrong and as one of the participants in it, Kit find his cover blown. Hung arranges for him to become an inmate in the prison where Chatchai works. While Wah is searching frantically for Kit, Chatchai is desperate to find the one person who can save his daughter, not knowing that person is actually Kit.
Wah locates Kit and tries to spirit his nephew out of the prison but they are both captured and wind up in the warehouse where human organs are harvested. The climactic fight scene where Kit and Chatchai team up to face off with Ko is intense and worthy of the amount of time taken to watch it play out.
Not every action movie has great action. Most are good, some ordinary and some exceptional. Kill Zone 2 is the latter, using guns, blades and fists in a very satisfying mixture. This should be credited to the collaboration of director Soi Cheang and choreographer Li Ching Chi. Few action movies have compelling backstories, the aforementioned Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon being one of those rare exceptions. Add this movie to that list.