Kill Zone easily could have been just another Hong Kong action movie. Leave it to writer/director Wilson Yip to take a tried and true story of good vs evil and intertwine it with two things: interesting characters and fantastic action sequences. Everything comes together here to make a solid film.
Detective Chung (Simon Yam) has been trying for years to bring down Triad kingpin Wong Po (Sammo Hung). When his key witnesses are murdered and he is diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, he and his team begin to cross the line between good and evil to bring Po down once and for all. Enter Inspector Ma (Donnie Yen). He is a good cop, through and through, and is set to take over Chung’s team. He is conflicted by being dragged across the line that they have already crossed. On top of this it’s Father’s Day and each character has some personal family issues to deal with, be it with their own child or their father. This adds an interesting level to the film.
The thing that struck me about Kill Zone was its idea that there is good and bad in everyone. The good guys do bad things and the bad guys are shown to actually have a heart. Sure, this idea has been done better in tons of other films, but I’ve never seen it tackled in a film quite like this. Putting so much focus on the father/child relationships for each character was really interesting and certainly helps one to care more about each of them, good and bad. Because of this, the characters in this film are flushed out far more than most action films. The complexity of the characters draws you into the simple story and makes you question, if only briefly, which side you should root for.
For all its characters and drama, an action movie would be nothing without it’s action sequences, and thanks to Donnie Yen, the fight scenes in this film are superb. They are very fast, very brutal and are some of the best I’ve seen in a while. This is a solid action film with some great drama and a surprising amount of character development. It’s by no means a perfect film, but it is certainly highly entertaining.
Kill Zone is presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1 and Dolby Digital DTS-HD Master Audio and 5.1 surround. This is a pretty solid looking film with some great cinematography, however at times it kind of looks like a student film. I don’t necessarily mean this in a negative sense, that’s just the vibe I got from time to time.
Commentary: Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan provides his thoughts on the film.
Interviews: (107 min.) You get interviews with Director Wilson Yip and stars Sammo Hung, Simon Yam, Donnie Yen and Wu Jing. There are very interesting interviews. They are allowed to wander in their talking and discuss all sorts of things outside the world of the film. It seems to me these interviews would be highly edited on an American DVD, but here you get lots of interesting tid-bits. Donnie Yen’s interview is the only one in English, the rest are subtitled.
Kill Zone is not only a great action film, but it’s a great drama to with some interesting and complex characters. It works on every level that it strives for and the result is a very entertaining film. Highly recommended.
The Weinstein Company and Dragon Dynasty present Kill Zone: Ultimate Edition. Directed by Wilson Yip. Written by Wilson Yip. Starring: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam and Sammo Hung. Running time: 93 minutes. Not Rated, however contains violence and brief nudity. Originally released in 2005. Released on Blu-ray: November 30, 2010.
Tags: Donnie Yen