Retitled to sound like a Playstation first-person shooter, the frenzied pan-Asian action import formerly known as SPL 2: A Time for Consequences is only a thematic follow-up, requiring no familiarity with 2005’s martial-arts crime drama SPL (or Kill Zone) — just a genre hound’s lust for antiheroes kicking ass.
To infiltrate an organ-harvesting syndicate led by a gangster with a bad ticker (Louis Koo) who plans to extract his brother’s, an undercover Hong Kong cop (Wu Jing) turns full junkie until an assignment goes south and becomes a public shootout. In the aftermath, the officer finds himself drying out in a Bangkok prison run by a corrupt warden who works for the sicko he’s after.
There’s also the compassionate rookie guard (Ong-Bak‘s Tony Jaa, top-billed but more like a co-starring member of The Expendables) who learns that the convict claiming to be a police officer is a medical match for his daughter’s bone-marrow transplant, and thank goodness mobile phones in this film can translate Thai and work fine after being submerged in harbors.
The tortuous interconnectedness and convenient coincidences rack up in director (and frequent Johnnie To collaborator) Cheang Pou-soi’s sleekly choreographed thriller, which is dizzily entertaining when the knives, bullets, and feet are flying, and sometimes painfully melodramatic during the interim exposition. All will be forgiven and forgotten if they ever make another sequel to The Raid.
Kill Zone 2
Directed by Cheang Pou-soi
Well Go USA
Opens May 13, Metrograph