Having finished unpacking and having (relatively) settled into our new home, and with the readings and discussion topic for my MA course not yet posted, my wife and I had time on Friday evening to watch a movie. Netflix indulged us with a Tony Jaa movie we had not yet seen. This was serendipitous as I had just been in a discussion with the eminent, Enny-award winning local designer (and friend) Todd Crapper about Ong Bok 2 – a huge piece of crap with a few good action pieces scattered within it in my estimation.
Kill Zone 2 inserts Tony Jaa and Thailand into a pretty standard Hong Kong actioner with Wu Jing as the HK counterpart to Tony Jaa. The story includes an organ smuggling ring, a sick daughter, and plenty of coincidence – standard HK fare. The plot and action aren’t bad, and are relatively engaging if you dig on HK action cinema – very similar in the need to inject melodrama and suffering into the action as South Korean actioners.
The action is superb. This is not the best Tony Jaa outing – I think that’s the Protector, but I’ll need to watch it again to see if nostalgia has coloured my perception – and it’s not up to some of Donnie Yen’s best insane action performances, but those are pretty high bars. Anything would suffer by that comparison. I liked the action a lot more than some of the movies I’ve seen recently, and I think both Wu Jing and Tony Jaa deliver satisfying performances. These guys are master thespians, but I wasn’t groaning in the emotional scenes. There were a couple of actual touching moments that I really appreciated, and that’s saying a lot.
I would give Kill Zone 2 4 hidden crescent knives out of 5. This is a solid, enjoyable actioner that delivers good performances from its leads, and allows Tony Jaa to crack heads with elbows and knees. A definite recommendation.