Donnie Yen is a Hong Kong action star I haven’t really seen much of (other than say, Iron Monkey) and I had this one recommended to me. This movie is about a Det. Chan who is trying to take down one of the most ruthless crime lords ever in Wong Po (Sammo Hung). Chan is near retirement because of a tumor in his brain that will eventually kill him. His replacement who is taking over the team is Ma Kwun (Donnie Yen). The team tries to pin a murder on Chan using planted evidence and problems arise as a result.
I hate to launch right in on something that really bugged me but what the hell. Something I couldn’t quite get over is the bipolar tone of the movie. On the one hand it wants to be this almost Shakespearean tragedy as done through the lens of a gritty crime movie. On the other hand it wants to be a badass martial arts flick. Part of this is due to the fact there wasn’t supposed to be any martial arts fight scenes in it until Donnie Yen signed on to do the pic. Why is this odd? Well it would kind of be like having DiCaprio do some kung fu occasionally in The Departed. Oh don’t get me wrong, the alley fight and the final fight with Sammo Hung are freaking awesome but it is downright ludicrous when compared to the rest of the movie. It completely takes me out of the movie when you are being serious serious serious, and then you are having Sammo flip around with Yen in a giant wrestling stage.
I don’t want to get your hopes up either when I used Departed as a point of comparison. The story is alright, but it’s nothing to write home about. I don’t know if this is a plot hole, but I couldn’t stop thinking about this problem with the story. If these cops are going to go to the trouble of killing people, destroying evidence, planting evidence, intimidating witnesses, and basically doing everything in the “Vic Mackey Book of Corrupt Police Work”, then why don’t they just kill Wong Po? Seriously people. Work smarter, not harder. And I can’t really list this is as some objective flaw, but this movie is f*cking depressing. Holy hell, I feel like I need to be prescribed anti-depressants after seeing this movie.
I do like Donnie Yen. The guy has this intense look which is cool and is able to do many different martial arts styles. I love the fact he does MMA grappling mixed in with some of the flashier moves he does. Sammo Hung is also very compelling in this try at a heel turn. He is very menacing and can still move at his age. Once again I have to say the fight scenes are great and the alley fight is wonderful.
Kill Zone is kind of a mixed bag for me. I think if they really stuck with one genre they could have had either a very good cop movie/tragedy or a really good martial arts movie. But when they tried for both they ended up dragging the overall quality down. This was a good movie, but not something I would rush to see again.