For fans of Hong Kong Cinema...Sha Po Lang (synopsis, pictures, trailer)

Discussion in 'Misc. Films' started by 블라스, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. 블라스

    블라스 Registered

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    Ok, this looks just too cool.
    And it's gonna have Sammo Hung and Donnie Yen beating the hell out of each other!
    Check it out:

    Synopsis: Chan (Simon Yam), an articulate senior detective nearing the end of his career, is taking care of the daughter of a witness killed by ruthless crime lord, Po (Sammo Hung). Martial arts expert Ma (Donnie Yen) is set to take over as head of the serious crime unit, replacing Chan who wants an early retirement. Jet (Wu Jing) is Po' s cold-blooded righthand man.
    When an undercover agent is found dead three days after Ma joins the unit, Chan thinks it' s the work of Po and sends people to bring him in. With no evidence, Po knows he will walk free in no time. Desparate to put Po behind bars, Chan decides to plant evidence in order to convict him. The whole unit is in on it, except Ma who they know would not want to be involved. But when the evidence mysteriously disappears, Ma finds himself drawn into the battle between Chan and Po.

    Trailer 1: http://media.wu-jing.org/pafiledb/pafiledb.php?action=file&id=101 (click on download file)


    Images:

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  2. 블라스

    블라스 Registered

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  3. Hunter Rider

    Hunter Rider Ronin

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    the trailer wont play
     
  4. 블라스

    블라스 Registered

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  5. 블라스

    블라스 Registered

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    Well, this is a very interesting article by Mark Pollard, of Kung Fu Cinema.
    Source: http://www.kungfucinema.com/2005/062701.htm





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    Embracing the dark side with 'SPL'

    by Mark Pollard

    Martial arts action movies are at a crossroads. What once was a largely-singular trend sparked by Hong Kong's Shaw Brothers studios and revitalized by the likes of Tsui Hark is facing a divergence in the age of computerized escapism, desperate scrabbles by studios to squeeze money out of market-tested product, and a new movement to embrace the darker side of screen fighting. Within Hong Kong's struggling movie industry, there is no better example of this latter movement than Wilson Yip's gritty martial arts actioner Sha Po Lang.

    What holds the key to martial arts genre's vitality and growth? Early trends in the new millennium have suggested that technology is the answer. Through the use of advanced camera techniques, green-screen computer effects and wires, fantasy-laden films like The Matrix, Daredevil and The Legend of Zu offer up the image of popular actors turned into martial arts dynamos, capable of exaggerated physical abilities previously only imagined in the pages of comic books. In a now dormant project, a Korean media company has even attempted to digitalize Bruce Lee and revive cinema's most iconic screen fighter in a live-action feature film, thus making fears of an actor's obsolescence a potential, but as yet unlikely reality. At its best, this phenomenon has evolved to fully embrace its fantastic nature by going to frenzied and comical extremes in Kung Fu Hustle or by breathing a dose of eye-popping realism into animated screen fighting with the likes of the computer-anime film Appleseed (2004).

    In today's reality, however, it is the editor who rules supreme in the world of martial arts cinema. This is the case, whether working with a rough and tumble brawl as seen in The Bourne Supremacy, a montage of training sequences in Batman Begins or a frantic kickboxing match in Star Runner. While editing has always been an integral part of screen fighting, its use in these and other films has increasingly become a matter of pasting a series of disjointed shots and blurred motion into a cohesive fight that primarily generates excitement from the edited arrangement, rather than from an actors' abilities or the fight coordinator's choreography.

    Mainstreaming of martial arts action for a broader audience has led to other, more troubling developments within the genre. Martial arts movies have always held onto a certain cult status for a select audience accustomed to flying guillotines, high-powered sprays of blood from samurai warriors and disproportionate amounts of screen time lavished on aggressively complex fight scenes as seen in Jackie Chan's kung fu classic The Young Master. But the recent rise in popularity of Asian cinema and more dynamic action, inspired by Hong Kong's movie masters like John Woo and Yuen Wo-ping, has led to watered-down eye candy devoid of meaning or artful execution tossed into cross-genre films engineered to maximize marketing potential. Employing both computer technology and creative editing, films like Catwoman, Elektra, The Twins Effect II, and The Tuxedo are examples of films built to please the widest audience possible with high-profile actors and an even mix of romance, action and comedy. But as is usually the case, audiences and critics alike prove to be smarter that studio execs and can easily see these movies for what they really are.

    Amid this soulless commercialization and artificial modernization of the martial arts movie is a growing interest in returning the genre to its extremes, particularly in regard to stripped-down and unflinching depictions of screen violence. It comes in many forms, but generally revisits the stylized neo-realism and fringe explorations of '70s-era cult cinema.

    In Hollywood there is the gleeful celebration of martial arts cinema's more exploitive nature in Kill Bill and to a lesser degree Sin City. In these films screen fighting is excessively violent and stylized to the point of becoming surreal. In contrast, films such as The Bourne Identity and Collateral offer up equally brutal, but far less sensational screen fighting that emphasizes realism. In the indie filmmaking world, stuntman-turned-director Jesse Johnson combines full-contact, mixed martial arts, arguably a more purely Western representation of the genre, with the excess of '80s action films in the rugged action film Pit Fighter, which is stripped of many undesirable conventions that keep most of today's low-budget action movies below even the forgiving expectations of genre fans.

    In Japan, Takeshi 'Beat' Kitano has put his own spin on a beloved franchise and on the chambara genre itself with Zatoichi, while Takeshi Miike turns his already extreme filmmaking tendencies toward the genre with the ultra-violent, sci-fi samurai tale Izo. At the opposite end of the genre spectrum is Yoji Yamada's Twilight Samurai and The Hidden Blade, both meticulous recreations of 19th century Japan that explore the end of the samurai era with thoughtful eloquence and unpretentious martial encounters.

    In South Korea, where the local film industry has experienced an unprecedented rebirth in the last five years, talented filmmakers like Park Chan-wook (Old Boy), Ryu Seung-wan (No Blood No Tears) and Kim Jee-woon (A Bittersweet Life) are taking visual cues from the likes of David Lynch and crafting stylized, urban crime dramas with edgy and violent screen fighting. This emphasis on unpolished and increasingly realistic fisticuffs evokes the kind of unflinching street violence that appears in the '70s-era films of Martin Scorsese and Kinji Fu-kasaku.

    The greatest attention paid to martial arts cinema at the moment may be directed at Thailand, where director Prachya Pinkaew, action director Panna Rittikrai, and stuntman Tony Jaa have teamed up for Ong Bak, a film that returns martial arts and action cinema to a time when Jackie Chan and his crew were wowing the world with one outrageous action sequence after another. Although the action scenes take reality to extremes, the stunt work and choreography going into them are very real. This is what earned Chan the respect and admiration of millions of fans worldwide and Jaa appears to be doing the same with this and subsequent projects.

    Once the center of martial arts and action moviemaking, where several hundred films were released annually, Hong Kong's film industry has become a mere shadow of its former self with only a couple genre-related films released a year. Unfortunately, many of them have adopted the Hollywood model of trying to serve the widest audience and have ended up serving no one. A serious lack of young, creative talent within the industry has also served to stifle the quality of Hong Kong's limited action films. Yet talent remains, both with long-time veterans who have been working outside of Hong Kong in recent years and with untapped talent left toiling in China's prolific local television industry. Attempting to cast light in an otherwise darkened corner of the moviemaking world comes Sha Po Lang (SPL), a film that takes the kung fu movie into leaner and meaner territory.

    Eschewing pop star roles, juvenile comedy and fantasy computer effects, SPL offers the promise of gritty martial arts action that pits some of the genre's finest screen fighters against one another in the setting of an equally gritty crime drama. It is a film that Donnie Yen is especially proud of. "This is the highest peak in my career, I doubt I'd be able to better it. Perhaps, because of my predilection for modern-day fighting, I find contemporary kung fu movies really hard to film. I gain some confidence in myself only after shooting SPL. It's the embodiment of [the] modern actioner that I'm pursuing. "

    It is clear that SPL is taking Hong Kong martial arts action in a direction we haven't seen much of lately and that's a good thing. Donnie Yen, who had a major hand in the creation of the fight choreography, has seen his past work as action director treated with mixed response. Arguably his most personal and challenging work to date is Legend of the Wolf, a film he also directed that possesses frantic action some have hailed as daring and others as chaotic. But there's no denying that in this and his other directorial efforts, Ballistic Kiss and Shanghai Affairs, Yen is attempting to advance the art of screen fighting with emotionally-charged performances and challenging fight choreography.

    Donnie's acting ability is also the subject of debate, but in an advance review of SPL, Grady Hendrix of Kaiju Shakedown is favorable in his appraisal. Truth be told, as a martial arts star Donnie has rarely had the opportunity to stretch his acting ability onscreen. One of those opportunities is in The Kung Fu Master television series. Fans may get a better taste in SPL.

    As is usually the case, an action director's best work is also born from his collaboration with a talented cast and crew. In the case of SPL, we have Wilson Yip as helmer, whose previous work is diverse and includes the exuberant horror comedy Bio Zombie (1998) and the well-received triad drama Juliet in Love (2000). Hendrix describes the film as Yip's "most controlled" and "best sustained." He also describes Sammo Hung's acting performance as the best he's ever seen from the martial arts actor and filmmaker, who "turns out to be the movie's dark heart." In SPL, Sammo makes a somewhat rare screen appearance as a villain, in this case a tough triad boss.

    Anyone who has seen Wu Jing (The Tai Chi Master) in his many television roles or even in his few theatrical appearances knows that he's one of China's most talented screen fighters. In SPL he plays a triad member, who ends up battling Yen in a climatic fight where Hendrix asserts that "camera tricks and 'cool' action get left in the wastebasket and Wu Jing is allowed to deliver his stuff, piping hot and as fast as he can." This happens with fighting that he more or less states is less refined and emphasizes strategy.

    Not to be left forgotten is Simon Yam (PTU) playing a cop, determined to take down Sammo. He's not a martial artist, but a terrific actor as many of his film roles prove. He's a good choice to add dramatic weight to the film. As a relatively low budget film attempting to get back to genre basics with few chances of breaking into wider international circulation, SPL is unlikely to make a significant impact on the industry or the future of martial arts cinema, especially with no new talent to highlight. Yet it does present evidence that Hong Kong action filmmakers are not only refusing to lay down, but willing to take a few risks in order to deliver the goods. It's also tapping into a wider interest in seeing screen fighting portrayed with less sugar and more spice. Whether intentional or not, Sha Po Lang, which is expected to be released in November, is part of a global trend to break screen fighting away from the mainstream fantasy that '90s wire fu movies created and back to cult status where it belongs. Only here can martial arts action truly thrive, on the fringes of civility and good taste. It's a place where action and storytelling merge into one, bodies may pile high and trained screen fighters engage in a finely-crafted dance of death and mayhem that no computer or visual effect can replace.
     
  6. 블라스

    블라스 Registered

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    BADASS new trailer and very positive reviews.
    Really guys, I hope this gets picked up for a US release.

    New trailer: http://www.twitchfilm.net/spltrailer2.rmvb

    Review 1: http://www.twitchfilm.net/archives/003567.html

    TIFF Report: Sha Po Lang [SPL] Review
    (Posted In Action Asia Drama Martial Arts Reviews Toronto Film Festival 2005 )

    I have borne witness to what may be the rebirth of cool in Hong Kong cinema. I sit in front of a computer a changed man. Let me talk to the new generation of film geeks out there for a moment. I have watched the film that may forever hook you onto Hong Kong cinema for the rest of your lives. What John Woo’s Hardboiled and The Killer did for me [and seemingly Todd and Kurt as well – no lie we all said this after last night’s screening] this film I saw last night will do for you. Whether of not this turns the tide in what has been a flailing industry doesn’t matter. That is irrelevant. The here and now is that Wilson Yip’s SPL, Sha Po Lang, rules like freaking lords and if you thought Hong Kong cinema was dead or dying you need to pay heed to my words.
    SPL stars a combo of old school icons, contemporary stars and future leaders of the new school: Sammo Hung, Simon Yap, Donnie Yen and Wu Jing. Simon portrays Detective Chan, a hard as nails cop wholly bent on bringing down crime boss Po, played by Sammo Hung. With only days before his retirement and his health failing due to a tumor in his head, Chan’s man on the inside is murdered and Chan and his team attempt to frame Po for the murder. Enter Ma, Chan’s replacement, played by Donnie Yen. Ma is a by the books cop but has a reputation for extreme measures to law enforcement. Ma’s arrival causes tension in the group as they go about bringing their own interpretation of justice to the streets. What are they willing to do to bring Po and his gang down?

    SPL is one of those rare breeds of Hong Kong films and finds the perfect balance between drama, melodrama and action. Very few have been able to do this well and find that delicate balance but Yip brings a story to the screen that exposes the full scope of human emotion in his cast. Compassion and humanity still exist beneath a grim and hard exterior as most characters in SPL are given the opportunity to love, to hurt and to rage. What it accomplishes is you connect better with the characters and it is done so well that you dare not scoff at it. And Yip’s cast fires on all cylinders and deliver at every point in their growth on screen.

    The action is bar none. Gone is the careful choreography and graceful moves normally associated with HK action films. Yip does away with the sweeping gestures and grand posturing. Understanding his story and his characters development leading up to each fight he knows what is appropriate and what drives each character as they fight. As Kurt said in his review, and we spoke about this last night, thank god Yip was smart enough to pull the camera back and just let the actors beat the crap out of each other. The benefit of having three of Hong Kong’s greatest martial artists in your cast is that you can trust them to do it right. Clearly Yip trusts Yen, Hung and Wu with the fighting scenes [in the Q&A Yip said that he told Yen and Wu to just go at each other and by god they did]. The fighting is brutal and desperate and heck if I have seen anything more brutal and real than the fighting in the final act. By far the best fighting I have seen this year at TIFF and the best I have seen in a long, long time.

    SPL is one of the best movies to ever come out of Hong Kong. What it has done is reset the bar on quality and expression in HK film that has been sorely missed since the late 90s. A couple times a year we see a brief glimmer of hope as a new HK film shines above the rest of the tripe. SPL is one of those, shining light a beacon to the rest of the industry. It begs for imitation and perhaps the industry isn’t ready or able to reach the same level as SPL. But it offers itself as an inspiration for others in HK and if the industry can return to the level of quality it was at before the millennium HK can soon reclaim its position as a hotbed for international cinema.


    Review 2: http://www.twitchfilm.net/archives/003565.html

    TIFF Report: SPL (Sha Po Lang) Review
    (Posted In Action Asia Martial Arts Reviews Toronto Film Festival 2005 )

    I had heard enough about Wilson Yip's Sha Po Lang heading into last night's world premiere to assume that it would be the best film to emerge from Hong Kong since Andrew Lau's Infernal Affiars. This is not the case. That assumption sells Sha Po Lang far, far short. This is one of the finest films to emerge from Hong Kong ever. Period. We're not just talking about a return to the glory days here, we're talking about a distillation of everything that is good about Hong Kong and an expansion of the palette. This is powerful, visceral stuff. This had the impact of a virginal viewing experience, the same potency as my first viewing of John Woo's The Killer. High praise, I know, but I sincerely believe this film is immune to over-hype. It is simply not possible.
    As with so much great Hong kong film Sha Po Lang is a gritty crime drama. Simon Yam is Detective Chan, the head of an anti-gang police squad intent on bringing down Wong Po, the powerful local crime lord played by Hong Kong icon Sammo Hung. While transporting a witness and his family to trial to testify against Po, Chan's car is broadsided, killing everyone in it with the exception of Chan himself and his witnesses young daughter. Though the head wound Chan suffers in the crash heals soon enough he is discovered to have a malignant brain tumor during the course of his treatments and, with nothing left to lose, he swears to take care of the young girl and bring down Po no matter what the cost. Jump forward three years. Po is stronger than ever, Chan's health is failing and he is due to retire any day. Desperation has driven Chan and his unit to the edge of corruption and the unit has been assigned a new commanding officer in Ma (Donnie Yen), a driven man known for once beating until brain damaged. Chan will do anything to bring down Po before his retirement and the two sides face off for the inevitable, bloody face off.

    SPL is just a tour de force on every level. Yip is a stylish, assured director who gives his film a gritty noir edge. Moral lines are blurred as Chan pursues ever more extreme courses of action and Po tries to juggle his criminal activities against his love for his young family. Family is a major thread throughout the film, actually, as Yip gives all of his characters significant depth and back story and looks fairly seriously at the damage a policeman's life can do to his family. The interactions between the members of Chan's squad ring absolutely true and the entire cast is solid from top to bottom, but special attention needs to be paid to the four leads.

    Simon Yam as Chan. Yam is just a hard, hard man. He perfectly captures the rage and desperation of his character in an intense, furious performance. Yam gets surprisingly few meaty lead roles and after seeing what he is capable of
    in this his lack of steady work just boggles the mind.

    Sammo Hung as Wong Po. Not only does Sammo prove that he's still got the goods in the martial arts department - more on that later - but he gets a rare opportunity to prove that he's got some serious acting chops as well. Hung's crime lord is a treacherous, unhinged man, always on the verge of violence but also possessing a softer, caring side as shown by his devotion to his wife and young child.

    Wu Jing as Jack. Wu Jing is one of Asia's rising action stars, and for good reason. He is simply magnetic on screen, a fluid and blazingly fast martial arts performer. He shares the same master as Jet Li and could very well end up being Li's successor to the China / Hong Kong martial arts throne now that Li is slowing down. Wu dropped the news that they're looking at doing a Sha Po Lang prequel to give Jack some more screen time and, if it happens, it can't come soon enough.

    Donnie Yen as Ma. Yen is back. Big time. This is by far Yen's best work as an actor, choreographer and martial artist. After a long stretch working almost exlusively behind the camera it is easy to forget just how much Yen is capable of and every ounce of his talent is in plain view on screen.

    How does SPL stack up as a martial arts film? Bloody well, thanks. The first thing to note is that Yip has cleverly built his script so that the bursts of martial arts violence rise directly out of the story and the characters rather than the other way around. SPL works as a story first, as a martial arts film second. This is a distinction too often missed but when someone gets it - as Yip very clearly does - it makes the martial arts action hit with that much more impact. The next thing to note is that the film aims for a startling degree of realism in staging the fights. Not only are there no wires or CGI used but the the fight styles themselves rise out of the characters and the character's needs. This is not an exhibition of fight styles, these are desperate men trying to take their opponents down as hard and fast as possible. The choreography is stunning and brutal - by far the best of Yen's career, and the most unique - not at all concerned with grace and beauty, focusing instead on speed and power and destructive force. The three martial artists involved - Yen, Hung and Wu Jing - are all fantastically talented which allows for a speed and inventiveness not seen in years. Apparently one of the best sequences - between Yen and Wu Jing in an alley - was largely improvised on the spot, the two of them directed to simply 'go after each other'. They did so, and did it so hard that Yen broke a metal baton over Wu Jing's forearms three times over the course of a night's shooting.

    Hong Kong cinema has been in decline for years, that's no secret. Sha Po Lang may prove to be the last gasp of a dying industry, the last truly great film to come from that proud land, but to me it feels more like the start of something new. This is a film so intense, so powerful, that it should inspire Hong Kong film makers to new heights for years to come. Yip has thrown down the gauntlet here, "This is what we used to do so well, why have we gotten away from it?" Here's hoping that he, and others, take up that challenge. Absolutely brilliant. Truly stunning. A perfect ten.

    Review 3: http://www.twitchfilm.net/archives/003564.html

    TIFF Report: Sha Po Lang Review
    (Posted In Action Asia Martial Arts Reviews Toronto Film Festival 2005 )

    Sha Po Lang, or SPL for short, is a welcome throw-back to the heady days of Hong Kong Action cinema emerging onto the world scene. It is a pleasure to see the big old melodrama, prominently used in John Woo's The Killer and Hard Boiled as well as Ringo Lam's City on Fire, back in full form. Even better, director Wilson Yip marries that classic melodrama to more sophisticated camera work, faster action choreography and a stunning visual palette. All of this adds up to the best film shown in this years Midnight Madness Program and the best Hong Kong cop thriller since Andrew Lau’s Infernal Affairs.

    Sha, Po and Lang are three Chinese constellations which represent destruction, conflict and greed. Those qualities are all on display as an investigative taskforce of the Hong Police Department are at war with underworld gang boss Wang Po (played to maximum effect by long-time veteran Sammo Hung). The head of the taskforce, Inspector Chan (Simon Yam) is Godfather to a child who lost her parents in an incident involving the gang. He is being forced into retirement because of health problems, and has his team turning to illegal methods such as evidence planting and video tape alteration to get a conviction to stick on Po. It seems in the past, Po keeps getting his lawyers to beat whatever charges they lay. Things get complicated as the new Inspector Ma (Donnie Yen) comes to take over the team, which is now waist deep in serious lies. The cops are doing corrupt things in the hopes of achieving a good end, but Ma has had a rough past, and is playing things by the book these days. This brings a fair bit of tension into the police dynamic of the film, with a lot of tough-guy chest thumping and male bonding.

    The bulk of the film takes place on a Father’s Day in the late 1990s, and the melodrama is amped up by phone calls and meetings and phone calls between the police officers (as well as Wang Po) with their children in between action sequences. Yip is not afraid to walk the line of questionable taste by bringing children and babies into the high-stakes war between the cops and gangsters.

    But where SPL really shines is in the action sequences. There are not that many of them, and they don't come until after the 45 minute mark (barring a couple teases), but they are so fine. Yen and newcomer Jing Wu tear up the screen in a knife/baton fight that absolutely begs to be rewound and re-watched over and over again. It’s lightning fast and done in long, coherent takes (something which is often lacking in action cinema, even in Asian martial arts flicks, these days). But the capital kicker sequence involves icons Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung (both of whom have worked as fight choreographers in the past, and adlib a good chunk of this fight). These two masters tear an upscale bar apart in a visceral fight scene which involves martial arts, grapples, fist fighting and maybe a WWE move or two.

    SPL is slick and stylish, uncompromisingly nihilistic with little humour, excepting a very nice gag involving Po’s cellular ringtone and the occasional Sammo Hung act of extreme coolness. For fans of the genre SPL is an absolute MUST SEE. To fail to catch this film in the cinema is to miss a milestone in Hong Kong Action.
     
  7. Mentok

    Mentok Registered

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    Hell yeah! It looks great :up:
     
  8. 블라스

    블라스 Registered

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    Oh man, I know :up:
    I know this will wash aways those awful "pop stars" action movies that HK has been churning out for some time now.
     
  9. hitmanyr2k

    hitmanyr2k Resident Lurker

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    Sounds like a movie I'll be importing the first chance I get. Everything comes full circle. Perhaps HK cinema has had it's dull period and now SPL will swing it back the way it used to be.
     
  10. hey yo its sean

    hey yo its sean Registered

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    How do i play that second trailer?
     
  11. 블라스

    블라스 Registered

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    Use real player.
    It's worth it.
     
  12. 블라스

    블라스 Registered

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    Beautiful.
    One can only hope :up:
     
  13. hey yo its sean

    hey yo its sean Registered

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    Real Player... Noooooooooooo.. argh.
     
  14. Skaigear2

    Skaigear2 Registered

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    Donnie Yen vs. Sammon Hung? I'm there!
     
  15. Mentok

    Mentok Registered

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    The reviews all seem very positive... I will be seeing this as soon as i can :up:

    And both those trailers rock.
     
  16. 블라스

    블라스 Registered

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    Even if they pick it up for theatrical release, and they cut the hell out of it, the DVD will be uncut :up:
    I say this because I've been reading some reviews that say that the fighting (particularly Sammo vs. Donnie) gets pretty goddamn brutal.
     
  17. 블라스

    블라스 Registered

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    Some IMDB reviews...


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    Good., 17 September 2005

    Author: squazilla from Canada


    I saw this film @ the Toronto International Film Festival. It was a pretty good martial arts film. The action styles were interesting to say the least, there were no wires used for the fighting. It added a nice change from all the action movies using wires out there these days. The story was strong throughout the whole movie.

    The first bit was just explaining what was happening to all the characters (which all had wonderful performances) and it slowly became faster-paced as the movie came to a close. The end was a surprise, and a good one at that.

    One last thing- the lighting in this film was very well done, I thought. The lights generally all were different colours that were on the actors, it added a nice touch.

    Hopefully we will see more of Jing Wu.

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    what HK marital arts cinema should be, 17 September 2005

    Author: cowskickass from Canada


    This movie rocks. Thats it, those are my feelings for this film summed up in a comprehensible sentence.

    This is a surprisingly dark film, not all clean-cut heroes and villains story. its not a story about idealistic law enforcement, its about cops living in a very bad world, and doing whatever they need to do to get the job done.

    Donnie Yen is in prime form here, its great to see him back in action and in such center-stage role. But Sammo Hung is THE MAN in this film, a perfect villain and total badass. watch it just for him.

    The fights are all amazing.Its less artsy kungfu and a little more brutal streetfighting. Donnie Yen's choreography is at its best, everything looks painful and bloody. The battle between Sammo and Donnie has to be one of the best I've seen in a while.

    Kill or kidnap whoever you need to see this flick. its worth it.

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    Donnie Yen wasn't lying.., 17 September 2005

    Author: ipkevin


    .. when he called SPL the pinnacle of his martial arts choreography. It rocks. HARD. Not only are the fights are brutal, fast, and complex, but Donnie may have achieved the impossible: He made Brazillian ju-jitsu look exciting on film. Donnie's character repeatedly goes for takedowns, armbars, chokes, and all the moves that you might see in a UFC or Pride match (with Sammo countering attacks exactly how the big fighters do it in a real bout), while seamlessly combining them with the incredibly fast, complex punching and kicking exchanges you'd expect in a Hong Kong flick. Did I mention that the fights are bone-crunchingly brutal? There is a real nastiness to the punchups that should yield a great reaction from enthusiastic audiences. And then there is the spectacular Wu Jing vs Donnie Yen fight. It starts off very, very fast and complex, then at a certain point, the tempo changes and you suddenly realize that it's because they're just making it up ON THE SPOT and the damn thing becomes even more impressive. The long, unbroken takes should please fight purists, too.

    The film itself also holds up. Director Wilson Yip really shows off his passion and skill in this film. It's an intense crime drama that doesn't have to pander to any teeny boppers, so he is free to finally let loose. The story is solid and Yip takes the opportunity to devise some great sequences. There's a scene that cuts between Donnie looking at photos of the policemen he's about to lead and footage of the same cops intensely doing their business that is pure cinema.. a scene that could have been plain on paper, but is made exciting purely through the director's vision - the way it's cut and scored and staged. In other words, there is a lot of obvious effort put into the drama. It isn't just some thrown together filler btwn fight scenes. This is a real film. Oh, and one comment about the audio: It's amazing. The music is superb and the sound effects are everything you could hope for in a kung fu film (ie, they accentuate every move and hit as you'd want them to). I hope the DVD has a great DD5.1 track and that you have the system to play it 'cause it'll make a big difference.

    Complaints? I have only one: The fights should have been a little longer, but that's okay because they burn twice as bright as most.

    -----

    SHA PO LANG (SPL) returns Hong Kong action cinema to the forefront, 19 September 2005

    Author: emacs72 from Canada


    *** This comment may contain spoilers ***


    In 2003 martial arts fans were treated with the deadly art of Thai martial arts in Ong Bak. A year later Banlieue 13 gave us a glimpse of an urban freestyle sport that originated from France. In what appears to be, in some respects, an appropriation of Hong Kong action in many of today's films one may ask: Is Hong Kong action cinema no longer at the forefront of bone-shattering goodness? Any such fears are given the smack-down courtesy of Wilson Yip's SHA PO LANG (SPL), an utterly brutal take on the 'good cop versus bad gangster' premise starring Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung and Jing Wu all of whom credit legendary Yuen Woo Ping for a lot of what they know. Simon Yam rounds out the principal cast members.

    SPL is a dark, unforgiving action thriller that begins with detective Chan (Yam) recovering from a deadly strike ordered by crime boss Po (Hung). Frustrated at the number of failed attempts to capture Po over the years, Chan eventually gives up and looks forward to retirement. Tension is introduced to the ranks when his replacement, Ma (Yen) a highly disciplined but violent martial arts expert joins the already troubled precinct. Truth and justice is given a twist when one of Po's henchmen kills Chan's undercover operative.

    SPL continues to unfold in a series of bloody confrontations as each member of Chan's team is brutally murdered by Po's right-hand man Jack (Wu). SPL is highlighted by some of most intense action sequences ever put to film in recent years. Wilson Yip wisely gave Donnie Yen free reign to choreograph all of the martial arts sequences of SPL. Without ever resorting to excessive edits, the brawl between Donnie Yen and Jing Wu was incredible and downright ferocious! The speed at which these guys were hammering each other with their mad fighting skills had the audience whooping and hollering from the beginning and up until the disemboweling end. Remember kiddies: a 40 centimeter knife is not a toy and neither is a metal baton! And no one will ever forget that it was SPL who gave us the first ever on screen showdown between Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung; this was an absolute blast! We're talking about pure Hong Kong action from the late 1970s, early 1980s! Sammo Hung is fat and 53 years old but he can still beat the crap out of anyone! And remember that knife I mentioned? Well consider this ... one throw, one deflection, one take, no CG, no wires, just pure Sammo!

    After the screening, director Wilson Yip and stars Sammo Hung and Jing Wu addressed the audience for a 20 minute QA session. Sammo was his jovial self, as always, and quite enjoyed his moment in the spotlight. Sammo provided insightful and often funny answers. And unlike Jackie Chan, Sammo confirmed that he will in fact continue in the martial arts genre of film for many years to come.

    Okay people, remember the name: JING WU. He's primed and ready to become next in line after Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan as the premiere Hong Kong action cinema star. You folks will be hearing a lot more about JING WU for many years to come.

    So, if you want to see Hong Kong cinema reaffirm its domination in the realm of combat cinema crank up your Dolby 5.1 audio system to 11 and go check out SHA PO LANG (SPL).
     
  18. patrickbateman

    patrickbateman Registered

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    dude tell me about your avatar
     
  19. 블라스

    블라스 Registered

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    Hey.
    That's Daredevil, from the Nemesis game.
    :up:
     
  20. Skaigear2

    Skaigear2 Registered

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    :eek: I CAN'T FU^^KING WAIT!!! Donnie + Sammo + Brutality? Damn!
    While Hong Kong is already the king of Asian cinema by a mile, it will surely boost the lead even furthur with this film!
     
  21. Mentok

    Mentok Registered

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    Not only Donnie in a great role and great film (finally), but also Sammo in a great role in a great film :D
     
  22. 블라스

    블라스 Registered

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    I guess either Donnie matured as a choreographer/editor or got some help from Sammo, cause the fights are apparently very well show, with the camera pulled back and with long takes.
    Either way, awesome :D
     
  23. hey yo its sean

    hey yo its sean Registered

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    Ok, so I just finished watching Sha Po Lang, and i've gotta say: I was very underwhelmed. Other than the action, the movie isn't much to speak of. A majority of the film is crime drama - and poorly executed crime drama at that.

    Now, the action. While the fights are more gritty and more brutal than that of your standard HK film:-)up:); the fighting sequences are few and far between:-)down), and with the exception of the climax fight, are very short.

    Overall - The crime drama aspect of the film isn't executed well enough to grade it well as a gritty police/crime story, and there aren't enough action sequences to rate it a good action movie. 6.5/10

    (It's late and i'm tired, so I apologize for the lack of detail. If you have any questions about the movie, post'em and i'll get back to you tomorrow.)
     
  24. 블라스

    블라스 Registered

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    :eek: :eek: :eek:

    'SPL' coming to Hong Kong DVD

    by Mark Pollard

    2006.01.06

    Coming Jan. 11th to region 0 DVD (NTSC) is Deltamac's 2-disc special edition release of SPL (Sha Po Lang), a gritty crime drama starring Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung and Wu Jing that puts some real kick back into the Hong Kong martial arts movie.

    A more cheaply-produced mainland Chinese version of SPL was previously released on Dec. 20th.

    Specs on Deltamac's superior release includes an uncut 94-minute running time, Cantonese audio tracks in Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS 5.1 ES, a Mandarin audio track in Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, and removable English and Chinese subtitles.

    Bonus features include a trailer, TV spots, Making Of featurette, press conference footage, and photo gallery.

    This 2-disc set is available for pre-order at HKFlix.com and Yesasia.com. Yesasia is also optionally packaging this release with either a small poster or large poster.

    [​IMG]

    http://kungfucinema.com/2006/010601.htm
     
  25. Mentok

    Mentok Registered

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    Already ordered :up: Cant wait to watch it.
     

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