TIFF movie review: SPL2: A Time for Consequences

Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: ★★★★

Side Dish: At a human chop shop, the employees take a lunch break for da bin lo (打邊爐). In spite of one employee’s refusal to remove his work apron, I was smacking my lips. Here’s how to Host Your Perfect Hotpot.

Hong Kong cop, Kit (Wu Jing) is working undercover to expose an organ trafficking ring when he is sent to kidnap the ailing syndicate boss, Mr. Hung’s (Louis Koo) brother for an involuntary heart transplant. Kit’s uncle and supervisor, Wah (Simon Yam) manages to foil the kidnapping, but Kit’s cover is blown, and he is sent to a Thai prison to be held hostage by the warden, Ko Chun (Zhang Jin), an associate of Mr. Hung’s.

Prison guard, Chatchai (Tony Jaa) is forced to stay silent after witnessing Ko Chun’s involvement in Mr. Hung’s human trafficking. Chatchai’s young daughter has leukemia, and the medical bills need to be paid. He grows increasingly desperate when the bone marrow donor for his daughter goes missing. Little does he know that the donor is Kit, the new inmate who is proving to be more than a handful.

SPL2 2

If it all sounds a little convoluted, rest assured that the plot details don’t matter, just as it is not necessary to have seen the first SPL movie. SPL2 is all about the melodrama and the ass kicking action. When it is not trying its best to wring tears with Chatchai’s cute and spunky daughter, it is thrilling you with the fast and furious martial arts of Tony Jaa, Wu Jing, Zhang Jin and a whole host of tireless stunt men.

The final showdown between the two heroes and the numerous villains takes place in a stark white penthouse medical facility, giving plenty of room to showcase the wire work. Similarly, when the Thai prison explodes into a riot, Kit and Chatchai literally fight everyone, including each other, in a non-stop frenzy. However, my favourite action sequence was the close quarter one-on-one fight between Tony Jaa and Wu Jing. There is no obvious technical assistance, and no distraction; just two adept martial artists showing off their speed and precision.

With a running time of 120 minutes, there were moments when the movie felt a little long. Though I grew to care about the fate of the characters, I found myself waiting expectantly for the next action sequence. Because, while Tony Jaa and Wu Jing invest a lot of heart into their characters, what I really wanted to see was Tony Jaa’s elbows flying, and Wu Jing’s solid kicks to the chest.

Photos can’t do their fight choreography justice. Check out a trailer for a peek into their work, then watch the movie, on the big screen if possible.

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