We hope that you enjoyed the post by Scott Niehus! We hope he will be a regular writer here at FilmMunch.
To continue in the theme of martial artist legends, the film Saat Po Long (SPL: Kill Zone) is a fine example of how amazing Donnie Yen is. I was on Youtube, as you do, and I came across one of those ‘Top Ten Fights Of All Time’ videos, and thought, “what the heck, I have 8minutes to spare!” Anyway, third on the countdown was a fight between Donnie Yen and Jacky Wu, which happens to take place in this film. Interestingly enough, number one spot went to Bruce Lee in Enter The Dragon.
I’ve been a fan of Donnie Yen, since I watched his amazing performance in Ip Man. In that film he plays Ip Man, the founder of martial arts style, Wing Chun. In fact Donnie Yen is credited for popularising Wing Chun, leading to numerous schools opening up in China and Hong Kong. Ip Chun, eldest son of Ip Man has even thanked Yen for his work in making his family martial art form more widely known.
The fight scene between Donnie Yen and Jacky Wu is truly amazing. Most of the fight scenes that Donnie Yen choreographs take a few days, and even weeks to get right, but this famous alleyway fight took only two days to choreograph. The reason is that these two fighters are very familiar with each others styles, and as such, the story goes, they challenged each other, as to who could get the first hit. So what we see is a raw and genuine fight, not only is this dangerous, considering each of them are wielding weapons, but very unique. The fight sequence that we end up seeing is as close to a real fight as we are going to get, in cinema.
SPL: Kill Zone is worth watching for this fight alone, but the film itself is solid too. For some reason there is a TV Movie feel to it, but don’t let this detract you, because this film also teams up Donnie Yen with legendary Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, who plays an interesting villain in the film. Their fight sequences are fantastic too.
This film was basically Donnie Yen’s breakout role. It set him up for lead roles, and has since even directed some of his own films. He has won countless awards for Best Choreography. A number of people, including me, are anticipating his upcoming film, Hidden Dragon and Crouching Tiger 2. Netflix is producing, and are planning to release this film in the iMax format, as well as every other available platform, TV, Tablet PC/MAC and Smartphone. This is innovation. Will it work? Most people are unsure of the new, but new is good. New helps us to learn and understand what works and what doesn’t. It takes boldness to take gutsy steps like this, so good luck to Netflix.
FilmMuncher’s, Bruce Lee, Ip Man and Donnie Yen and so many others are amazing marital artist legends, as such we would like to thank them for there hard work in making the marital artist genre as popular as it is.
TRIVIA COOKIE: There are reports that the Weinstein Company have obtained the rights for Akira Kuwosawa’s Seven Samurai, and are in talks with Yen, to have him star in a remake of the legendary classic.