August 23, 2006


KILL ZONE DVD coverOkay, so not many people really like SHA PO LANG's new title, KILL ZONE, and some people may not like the name of the Weinstein Company's new line of Asian movies, Dragon Dynasty ("Dragon Dynasty. May I take your order, please?"), but after making a lot of noise about how they're committed to releasing top notch DVDs of Asian action movies and hiring Brian White from Hong Kong Legends to oversee Dragon Dynasty's DVD post-production, the real question about the KILL ZONE dvd is: does it suck?

The short answer: no. SHA PO LANG is not the world's greatest movie, but it was a very well-made, solid action flick with three dazzling action sequences that hit at a time when a lot of fans had written off the genre and figured Hong Kong couldn't do action anymore. To my mind, it's a B-list title, but a really well done one; more of a great hamburger than an excellent steak. It was also the movie that saved director Wilson Yip from vanishing down a rabbit hole of crummy films, made Wu Jing a bad guy and gave Sammo Hung his best performance in longer than I care to remember. And the KILL ZONE DVD is as good of a treatment as this movie can get.

So let's break it down:

KILL ZONE uses the same HD transfer as the Hong Kong disc, but it's a very nice one with strong blacks and super-saturated colors. This movie can't look any better. KILL ZONE is an anamorphic 16:9 disc, however, which the Hong Kong disc was not (if I remember correctly).

Sounds the same to me. Which is to say that it sounds good. There's an English dub track in addition to the original soundtrack and it's nicely cheesy, sounding like one guy in a sound booth doing all the voices.

Sha Po LangSubtitles
The subs between the two discs are almost exactly the same. The timing and the translation were exactly the same everywhere I checked except for one punctuation change. According to Brian White there are probably a few timing and spelling changes here and there, but his team used the Hong Kong subtitle file as a starting place and so the changes are probably not too drastic. No characters are suddenly named "Larry" or "Don" and all the extras are subtitled.

There's been some backing and forthing on the extras available on the KILL ZONE DVD but what they've wound up with is a solid selection of features. The biggest and best are two exhausting, and exhaustive, looks at shooting the Donnie Yen vs. Wu Jing alley fight and the Sammo vs. Donnie nightclub fight. These are long, behind-the-scenes dissections of the two fights and they cover every square inch, showing the actors arguing, rehearsing, getting exhausted, and finally busting out the champagne at the end.

There's a Bey Logan/Donnie Yen audio commentary over these two features and Donnie talks about absolutely everything. He may not be anyone you want to go on a car trip with, but he's very clear, precise and revealing about what goes into shooting a fight scene.

Then there are individual interviews with Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Sammo Hung, Wilson Yip and Wu Jing. Sammo is refreshingly frank ("To be honest, my character didn't have that much to do. It was pretty easy."); Simon pitches a new movie for himself (and reveals that while his brother is a police officer they don't talk about work and he learns about cops from movies); Wu Jing is hilariously self-effacing (revealing that he had no idea he was starring in his first movie until after shooting began); and Wilson Yip talks about why he made the movie and discusses what the prequel will probably look like.

But Donnie Yen doesn't do himself any favors. The guy's head is as big as the Goodyear blimp and it's infuriating that he's such an obviously talented action star that he can't be ignored. Throughout his commentary and interviews he refers to the movie as his own film, giving the impression that he made editing, script and cinematography decisions himself and he's patronizing towards the other actors, talking about what a legend Sammo is out of one side of his mouth while calling him slow and difficult to make look good out of the other. The honesty is appreciated, and he's got lots of interesting things to say, but his confidence comes across as arrogance and stands in stark contrast to the humility and graciousness of the rest of the cast.

The "Making of" featurette is the same as the one on the Hong Kong DVD.

There's also a trailer gallery.

Finally, there's an audio commentary from Bey Logan that runs during the film and it's perfectly serviceable. Logan doesn't have a lot of production information to add to the mix but he's good at giving bios on different actors and locations. If you want to know who that guy is over on the side of the screen or where they found that alley then click on over to the commentary track. Chances are, Logan'll tell you.

Sha Po LangDesign and Packaging
KILL ZONE has rejected the black and red design of the SHA PO LANG promotional materials for a black and desaturated blue tones but it looks far better than the frugly Photoshopped monstrosities that graced the covers of most of the previous Miramax Asian action DVDs. The layout is clear and, despite being a little hyphen heavy, the blurb on the back is simple and does a good job of selling the film. The cover features a blurb from Variety, which is a classy touch, but no mention that this was an official selection of the Toronto Film Festival. I personally preferred some of the pitch black posters of SHA PO LANG to the cover of KILL ZONE but this is hardly embarrasing and it sells the movie well, and that's the point.

If you liked SHA PO LANG and can get over the title change then this is indeed the "Ultimate" edition of the movie that it claims to be. For a straight-forward action flick this is an exhaustive disc and while I wish the "Making of" featurette was more interesting (dealing more with concepts and promoting the movie than documenting the production) it was something that was shot previously and couldn't be changed. The interviews are surprisingly informative and interesting and the two behind-the-scene featurettes are some of the best I've seen.

The Weinsteins have a lousy reputation for their treatment of Asian movies on DVD and rightly so. They have constantly re-edited, re-scored, re-titled, and generally savaged classic movies from Asian filmmakers with all the grace and refinement of a dog going after a dropped drumstick. But KILL ZONE is a step in the right direction. Actually, it's a bit more than that and it puts me in a weird position. I'm used to ignoring whatever these guys do, but if KILL ZONE is an example of their plans for their library of Asian action movies then I'm actually looking forward to their upcoming titles. (You can see some of them here. It looks like POLICE STORY, BORN TO FIGHT, THE PROTECTOR, SEVEN SWORDS and some Shaw Brothers films are coming up next).

For me there was one telling detail in this whole package that really told the tale. When you pop in the disc, the default mode is the original Cantonese soundtrack rather than the English dub track. That may be a tiny detail, but I'm glad that these discs are worried about getting the tiny details right.

August 23, 2006 at 12:43 PM in Reviews | Permalink


Great review.

I think the DVD of THE PROTECTOR is going to be awesome. (It gets theatrical release!)

Will SEVEN SWORDS also get a theatrical release in the United STates ?

Posted by: no name | Aug 23, 2006 1:05:08 PM

This finely-written and informative review makes me nostalgic for the first time I got excited about this movie -- about 15 months ago, when someone's review concluded: "Is SHA PO LANG the second coming? No, but it's the best action movie to come out of Hong Kong in a long time, and it's okay to get excited about it. You wouldn't be burned." Thanks, Grady.

Posted by: Peter Martin | Aug 23, 2006 2:09:14 PM

SOUNDS promising. But their most egregious offense -- to me -- has to be buying up titles, sitting on them for 4 years AND then having the balls to send their legal toadies after sites like Monkey Peaches that link to legal Asian retailers offering the import DVDs from overseas.

That is a misleading attempt to conflate imports with bootlegs AND pisses off the very fanboys they are trying to reach.

Posted by: glenn | Aug 23, 2006 2:21:46 PM

Sounds like a step in the right direction. It's good to know the Weinsteins may cease to be the scourge of the fan community and start to do things right, though the Jean-Claude Van Damme-esque retitling has got to go.

And Donnie is on crack if he thinks he'll ever be half the entertainer Sammo was and is, either as an actor, director or martial artist.

Posted by: David Austin | Aug 23, 2006 2:32:33 PM

Donnie is one of the most talented action guy to come out of the Hong Kong industry in recent years, too bad he can't be a little more humble.

But then again, I recall the same thing being said about another talented Hong Kong legend...Bruce Lee. Bruce has been called arrogant and cocky in more than biography. Maybe Donnie is just trying to emulate his hero?

Posted by: Buma | Aug 23, 2006 4:11:41 PM

For the record, the HK DVD is anamorphic.

Posted by: crazybee | Aug 23, 2006 4:24:49 PM

donnie's career took a longer time to take off than bruce's (as an adult in showbiz anyway), that his arrogance may be a composite of the many complexes and energies sustaining him through all the frustration, head-butting the gate-keepers, etc.

it's a poignant moment when donnie addressed the HKFA crowd for his SPL choreography award. he speaks with such unusual passion as a torch-bearer of the action community ("I hope in the future the association would show more love and appreciation for our action films"), you wonder if the implosive, bitter resentment under the "graciousness" is more about his long struggle - or just something under-explored in his acting.

what was simon wearing for the interview anyway?

Posted by: ed | Aug 23, 2006 5:44:44 PM

Simon was dressed very casually in a simple dress shirt. I was disappointed.

Posted by: Grady Hendrix | Aug 23, 2006 6:30:03 PM


How is the title screen handled (ie the retitle)?

Posted by: Ian F | Aug 23, 2006 7:23:22 PM

Grady - The excellent-looking HK release of Sha Po Lang is indeed in 16/9 anamorphic format

Posted by: JON PAIS | Aug 23, 2006 9:47:18 PM

>>>Bruce has been called arrogant and cocky in more than biography. Maybe Donnie is just trying to emulate his hero?>>>>>>>>>

If so I think it is pathetic. Bruce was arrogant but he had the goods to back it up. Not only he was a great on screen martial artist but he was and is a legend with electric screen presence, great looks and an attitude one somehow identifies with.

To give you an example; if you walk the streets of Istanbul and ask anyone, anyone, if they know who Bruce Lee is, and I can guarantee you they will reply positively.

If I ask about Donnie Yen (in this age of easy access to any kind of information) I can guarantee you that %95 will say "huh?")
This is the difference between Donnie and his "hero".

I can just see him putting Sammo down while seeming like complementing him. He did exactly the same for Jet in Iron Monkey R2 dvd (hahahaa even there he tried to take most of the credit for martial art scenes -that he is in- in OUATICII) This is the interview that upset me (a Jet Li fan) and caused my Donnie dislike.

And it would do him a world of good if he somehow realizes that and concentrate on whatever talents he has.

As far as the actors go I think Stephen Chow is the real fan and is the one who could channel Bruce's arrogance correctly.

Anyway enough ranting - thank you for the review Grady :)

Posted by: eliza bennet | Aug 24, 2006 5:09:34 AM

Exxcellent..this is exactly what I wanted to know to judge to add it to my collection.

Posted by: Chelle | Aug 24, 2006 6:25:31 AM

I don't think Bruce Lee was arrogant, I like his philosophy, even teaches me to be humble and looks at things from many different angles.

As for Donnie, I cannot believe this man has recently commented the same thing about Jackie Chan being too old and slow for him in a TVB interview. Now he is doing the same to Sammo Hung. I like Jackie and Sammo, yes they are aging but they are still legends to me. What is Donnie? His achievement has not even reached one tenth of Jackie and Sammo, and in real life, he is just an ass.

Posted by: wuhuan | Aug 24, 2006 7:44:44 AM

Thx, Grady for clearing up what exactly on this version. It's not bad. Really.

Donnie, quite often, is his own worst enemy. Any comparisons to Bruce are, as usual with any of these movie martial arts guys, just plain wrong. You're screwed when you believe your own PR.

I think you're worse off though if you insult the Sammo. Donnie, don't insult the Sammo. Bad Donnie! Bad!

Posted by: Screamingmimi | Aug 24, 2006 10:10:21 PM

Well, Bruce Lee was kind of a s.o.b., so Donnie is doing a great job a it, ahuuahuahuahha. Now, talking about Bruce to tell you the truth, I wondr what he would have become if he died, like, in 83 instead of 73? He would have made better movies, probably with Sammo, that was his friend, and even could have become a better director and Action Coreographer than he were. I'm no saying he sucked in those things, but imagine what he could have done if he lived a bit more? I can't be sure if he would become such a legend, but the level of his movies would have increased, definately.

Posted by: Luiz Alexandre | Aug 24, 2006 11:33:15 PM

Considering that Sammo is in his mid-fifties and has to be close to (or over) 300 pounds, he STILL moves awfully damn quick without undercranking. That, to me, is more impressive than anything I've ever seen Donnie Yen do...

Posted by: Michael Rittenberry | Aug 25, 2006 12:17:48 AM

Grady, you talked about the English subtitling. Tell me they did change two awful subtitles...the one where Lok says, "What for? He didn't kill the man..." referring to a fellow cop whose name he really should have known seeing that he was in the room when they hassled the guy to go undercover. Maybe 'Larry'? "He didn't kill Larry." Dude didn't even rate a name. ;)

And Inspector Ma calling to say, "Ah Lok got whacked.". Hahaha. That was so gangster to gangster, not cop to cop.

Posted by: Screamingmimi | Aug 25, 2006 12:45:10 AM

Well you all can attack Donnie all you like, but he is a very close friend of mine and I can tell you he is a good guy and is very humble. We all can be arrogant at times, but have any of you stopped to think if he is just kidding? Sammo and Jackie still are his friends, it is just his humour! Maybe you all haven't heard of sarcastic, cheeky jokes! Oh and of course all of you on here are angels right? you don't do anything wrong right? just concentrate on your own lives and stop chatting about shit you don't understand. Donnie is a very talented martial artist/Director and choreographer and has accomplished so much, so why don't you lot stop picking at others you don't know and start concentrating on your own lives and try to achieve something instead of moaning and bitching. Thank you

Posted by: Dan | Aug 27, 2006 1:46:02 PM

original HK disc is anamorphic

Posted by: genius | Aug 27, 2006 8:17:25 PM

You are a close friend makes you all the more prejudice. Does he ask you to speak for him? Who will be the next to crap on? Since Yuen biao is the only one from Three Brothers he hasn't dissed? Or maybe Yuen biao is not big enough for the almighty donnie. "why don't you lot stop picking at others"- why don't you ask him to stop picking on others? Perhaps we now know why the original cast members sans donnie will be doing another version to the prequel.

Posted by: mandy | Aug 27, 2006 9:23:18 PM

I thought someone might reply to my msg. Let me put this straight, if someone you knew was being made out to be something they are not wouldn't you stick up for them? Basically let me put it this way, both Sammo, Jackie and yes even Yuen biao are very good friends with Donnie, they even know his Mother Bow Sim Mark. So they are not offended by Donnie's comments because they know he is not being serious or arrogant. Anyway, all I'm saying is unless you know someone don't judge them so fast just by what you hear or read. Someday you might be judged yourself and maybe you'll see how it feels. No I'm not doing this for 'Donnie' I'm doing it for a friend, and I do stand up for my friends when I think they are being misunderstood. It is very easy to point your finger at someone who is famous, I too am a director and I have been very misunderstood in my days. Maybe I can see your point to some degree, maybe Donnie shouldn't be so cheeky as to others it might seem as though he is being serious. But please believe me he respects Jackie and Sammo very much and they are all great friends. Thank you

Posted by: Dan | Aug 28, 2006 4:17:52 AM

As audiences, we really do not need to know the actor in real life because it is impossible, people around him and his production company (people in the same boat) will say whatever good things about the actor which we can never clarify and we don't want to. As audiences, we only need to know what he projects onscreen and in interviews either through the media or DVD extras. I had watched his interviews in TVB and Cable TV when he commented on his fighting partner and said Jackie chan was too old and slow for him. I am not forming an opinion on some hearsay but basing it on my direct feeling after watching the interview that he is an ass. I am also not basing my opinion on just one interview but many other interviews including one which he required the host to address him as international superstar. (I nearly fell off my chair), not even Jackie or Sammo ever require to be addressed like that. I guess from the manner he conducted the interviews, the things he said about others(explicitly or implicitly negative), and the things he said about himself(overwhelmingly postive), you can feel he is an egomaniac who does not have single ability to accomodate other people. Don't lecture me again that in real life he is not like that, I do believe my own eyes and judgement.

Posted by: mandy | Aug 28, 2006 5:36:44 AM

Hey Mandy, shut up! if you've got issues then sort them out! your stupid opinion of him dosen't mean a dang thing in his life! if you really wanna moan about someone then moan about President Bush and Tony Blair for all the mass murder that they cause around the world! at least moan about something that is serious and is a real problem and stop getting your panties in a twist about someone just being arrogant! YES he is arrogant but that is his problem not yours, and Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung will always be GREAT no comment from Donnie would affect their legends so just ignore the guy! I'm sure Jackie and Sammo aren't bothered by his comments, they know they are great they don't need to be told. And I gotta say, you lot sure do moan like kids in a play ground over silly none important things, please if you have any sense in your brain put that complaining energy into something more worthy, not "oh donnie is an ass coz he said this n that" try this instead "Bush is an evil devil who has killed thousands of ppl for no reason and he must be put in prison for his war crimes against humanity" if you put your energy and intelligence into more important things then this world might get better. I was reading this site coz I love hong kong movies but my god you lot take them too seriously!

Posted by: Babarazzle | Aug 28, 2006 7:04:07 AM

Who are you to tell people to shut up in an entertainment site? This is a site for us to bitch so who do you think you are? Like actor, like fan!

Posted by: tempura | Aug 28, 2006 10:36:44 AM

Yeah, let's go after the president who is doing a find job of protecting the country and freeing tortured people from a dictator, but leave the poor actor alone! Wow, there's energy there but the intelligence B? As far as I see no one's taking the movie too seriously, it's the comments made by Donnie. You have a right to hate on the president, people have a right to dislike Donnie's remarks. It's hypocritical to tell them to shut up.

I don't know how much anybody who posts here is friends with Donnie, but Donnie reaps what he sows. I love Donnie. I've loved his arrogance.
But if you're going to shoot from the hip you have to be prepared for people shooting back. He's a big boy and I doubt he needs you 'Dan' to come here and spank people for their opinions about his opinions. This has been going on for years with Donnie. His words have gotten him a lot of hate out there in the MA movie fan world. I've dealt with these people.

To heck with that 'he's being cheeky' baloney. I hate a waffler. I'd respect him a lot more if he just flat out meant it. Otherwise he should zip it if he doesn't mean it, because none of what he's said qualifies as 'cheeky'. Bey Logan, his good friend, says that that's just the way Donnie is. 'More iron than silk.' I believe was the quote. So what?

Fine. Not everyone is going to like that or agree with you. If you're his friend perhaps you might suggest to him that most people aren't getting the 'humor'. I personally don't see the humor in saying Jackie is getting old and slow. Where's the humor in that? Where's the cheeky, Dan?! That's the blandest cheeky I've ever read. Do Donnie a favor and either don't speak for him or say he really meant it. I'd at least respect an honest opinion over a lame veiling of it by calling it 'cheekiness'. He's not a naughty schoolboy.

Posted by: Screamingmimi | Aug 28, 2006 11:02:34 AM

I dunno why I bother, such a predictable reply. Suit yourselves. carry on believing whatever you want. As for this Film everyone is talking about, I thought it was very well made and the action was amazing. I like movies but I'd never wanna know all about the people in them. Why do you even need to care what Donnie says? It seems some of you have too much time on your hands and not enough life of your own to concentrate on. I'm not surprised Dan hasn't replied again, he realises as I have that you lot are just...hmmmm I need a fitting word....well actually you're just silly and pathetic and need to relax your bum cheeks before you explode.

Posted by: Babarazzle | Aug 28, 2006 12:22:46 PM

Some of my family were killed in Iraq by a US attack and I have to say I see bush as no hero, heroes don't kill people who are innocent. Humans have got to stop killing other humans. Why are so many ppl happy to go to war? It breaks my heart and I just don't know where the world will end up...it is all very well for us who live in the west to say "go get the bad guys" but we never stop to think how many innocent people will die...I think a lot of people over here don't care about anyone else but themselves, as long as you are all safe it is fine for others to die. I pity you, I really do. I hope one day you'll open your eyes and see how wrong you are. I was gonna comment on this movie, but after reading all these twisted comments I'm suddenly put off caring about a stupid film.

Posted by: Deal | Aug 28, 2006 12:36:22 PM

I had close family in the war. My best friend has two brothers fighting. The killing began with the attack on 9/11. I would be pleased beyond belief if that hadn't happened.
Now, there must be repurcussions. Don't pity me or anyone else who knows what it is to sacrifice and pray for loved ones, because a group of fanatical idiots decided to murder thousands of innocent people in NYC, PA and DC, and now our country must be protected. And our loved ones have to do the protecting. No, sir. Don't pity me one bit. I think I'm blessed with clarity.

Anyway, for someone who has such a busy life you do come to this subject often B. It's a blog about movies, with opportunity for comments. If no one had an opinion even the blog wouldn't exist because Grady gives his opinions as well.

I don't know why you're getting your knickers in a twist reading that someone doesn't like what Donnie's said. You can go to most MA or movie forums with an Asian film section and read much, much worse opinions about Donnie with extensive profanity. Those here are actually pretty tame. And the dislike is pretty common. So the 'cheekiness' factor has totally passed many people by. Except if our bums explode. Then we'll just put it up to over-stressed cheekiness.

Posted by: screamingmimi | Aug 28, 2006 1:04:51 PM

You are ignorant to say the least, I was hoping you'd reply better than that, I pity you even more now because your poor friends who fight for a fake cause are fighting not for good but for money and oil. You need to open your eyes sir and stop believing in fantasy of good vs evil which your president wishes you to believe. Your own government attacked the two towers not the illusion that was created. I can pretty much guess what your answer will be. You are indeed brain washed and there is no saving you if you don't open your eyes now. I suggest you do your home work before you make comments like this, I have researched thousands on 9/11 and yes I have indeed looked at both sides of the arguments, but believe me there is thousands of evidence that your own government attacked the two towers. One of the facts among thousands of FACTS is that the American Gov spent ten times more money investigating Cliton's affair with Monica than they did on 9/11, now come on, don't you think that a little bit weird???? If you don't believe me look it up. Like I said this is ONE of thousands of FACTS not fiction, but FACT. You may ask "So why hasn't it gone to court?" Well because the American government don't want it to go to court so powerful people in powerful places make all these facts become unimportant. AND don't get me wrong, the American people including yourself are good I'm sure and only want the best for the world, but take one second to think if your government truly are American or are they something else? I believe in the American way, but I'm afraid your government aren't following that way and I wish they would. You may not believe me but you can search for all the facts yourself it is not hidden. And may I remind you in case you didn't know that hundreds of Fire fighters from the 9/11 rescue and American army men are also trying to get an investigation into the 9/11 as they too believe there has been unfair play at work. I'm not telling you not to believe or protect your country, I'm just asking you to open your mind and question first before you jump head first into believing just what your government say. I'm not your enemy, I'm just trying to make people come together from all around the world and make them realise that we are all the same, we are being used badly as part of a big game and we have to come together. The only threat to your country is an illusion. "Get people to fear and they will follow" a very famous quote and a very true one it seems. But I hope it can be changed.

Posted by: Deal | Aug 28, 2006 1:32:48 PM

I don't come here to argue the war. You have the right to your opinion. Just as Donnie has the right to his opinions and the people who disagree with his opionions can do so as well.

See how fair that is and how it works?

I've never been a fan of Donnie bashers. I've spent a lot of time disagreeing with them. But I also know he can say things that get on people's nerves. Coming here and saying 'shut up' and accusing people of being anal without lives is really the silly response and if B and Dan are Donnie fans or friends they're not doing him any favors on this subject. Sha Po Lang is one of the best things he's done in quite a while. It was a glittering jewel for his choreography talents. He just sometimes says things people don't like. So what?

Posted by: Screamingmimi | Aug 28, 2006 2:21:58 PM

hey screamingmimi you are right, well I can't speak for Dan but I'm sorry. I can see your point and I ask for forgiveness for saying shut up to mandy. Sorry Mandy, I was just in an irritated mood. Sure we are allowed to have a good old razzle of a rant about famous people, in actual fact they do put themselves in the public eye and at the end of the day we are the ones who buy and watch their movies so YES they should indeed be careful of what they say. I mean Donnie might not mean it in a rude way, he might not even realise he is being arogant, well Jackie and Sammo are old and sure they are slower, so he might actually mean that in truth, but maybe he should have thought about how it would sound, and yes it does sound insulting. Well one day in the future maybe Donnie might fight Tony Jaa and Tony Jaa will say Donnie is too old and too slow for him, so then Donnie will get his Karma and realise that what he said all those years ago was wrong and he'll realise that he too has become old and slow as we all will someday. But I still think we shouldn't care too much about what he says, it is just his opinion and I'm sure Jackie and Sammo aren't affected by his arogance one bit as they know they are good and are loved all over the world by many fans so they don't need to care what Donnie says. Once again I am sorry and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

Posted by: Babarazzle | Aug 28, 2006 3:21:27 PM

Spiffingly decent of you, B! :)

Posted by: Screamingmimi | Aug 28, 2006 3:59:15 PM

Donnie is right, Jackie and Sammo are much slower than him, and Donnie is way the best thing in Sha Po Lang, without Donnie the film is actually shit, the story is so bland, but Donnie puts the spice in there with no trouble at all. Also I'd like to add, as much as I like Jet lee I think Donnie is by far more skilled in the Martial arts, no one and I mean NO ONE can punch or kick like Donnie can, he looks the best in front of the camera and in my opinion he is nothing like Bruce Lee, Bruce Lee was Bruce Lee and Donnie Yen is Donnie Yen, period! So how do you lot like them apples? HUH? come on, tell huh huh? DONNIE RULES!

Posted by: Bobby | Aug 29, 2006 5:55:57 AM

I'm not well-versed in martial arts and so I don't know if someone is good or bad at wu shu or what-have-you, but I do know what I like. I think there's a big difference between being a good action actor and a good martial artist, but I think Tony Jaa is a great example. He's an amazing fighter on film, but the screen seems to become drained of life and energy when he's there. He's extremely charismatic in real life, but on screen he seems like a nullity. Bruce Lee was angry and cocky on film but he lit up the screen and had real presence.

Sammo Hung is probably the most versatile screen performer in action. He does comedy, romance, action avengers, and bad guys all equally well. And Jackie Chan is unequaled when it comes to putting the "Jackie persona" onscreen. He can be funny but when he has to go dramatic (as he usually does a few times in each of his movies) he's still compelling.

Donnie Yen is an incredibly good onscreen fighter, but not such a great actor. He seems very stiff and self-conscious in a lot of his roles. I liked him in SPL which was his best all-around performance (along with IRON MONKEY) and there were only a few shots of him posing with his thumbs hooked over his belt loops. Some folks have gotten him to do good stuff on film: he's great in DRAGON INN and ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA 2. But in HERO and his own movies (LEGEND OF THE WOLF and BALLISTIC KISS) he's practically non-existant.

Donnie is a very limited performer (imagine him doing romance or comedy and try to keep the milk from squirting out your nose) but, like Zhao Wen-zhuo, he's often able to make that work for him.

Another onscreen fighter I'd like to mention is Stephen Fung. I know he's more of an actor than a fighter and makes extensive use of wires, rigs and stunt doubles but I've enjoyed him in movies like SUNSHINE COPS quite a bit. He's sort of the anti-Donnie: good actor but severly limited fighter; whereas Donnie is a good fighter but a severly limited actor.

I think the biggest problem with the Donnie Monster is that he doesn't think before he speaks. An ounce of humility would go a long way in his publicity ventures, and while his arrogance may just be part of his persona, it's not very appealing to listen to.

Posted by: Grady Hendrix | Aug 29, 2006 6:53:53 AM

Grady Hendrix be careful what you say. Donnie is a great actor you're just jealous of his amazing body and perfect looks. Donnie is a very good actor and is great in LEGEND OF THE WOLF & BALLISTIC KISS, you just don't know good acting when you see it! poke yourself in the eyes and ears cozclearly you have a malfunction!

Posted by: Devilgreen | Aug 29, 2006 8:36:32 AM

Dinnoe yEn is a geRat Atocr and an Azmiang on seecrn Mratail Atrsit so YOu bset levae him alnoe! >> sEe A bairn sepicsilt rhigt nOw!

Posted by: Devilgreen | Aug 29, 2006 8:44:30 AM

Uh, yeah. I guess the sarc would be funny DG if anyone actually said Donnie was a great actor.

I agree Grady. I think you hit it on the head that Donnie seems very, very self conscious in front of the camera. But I put up what he did in Fist of Fury: Sworn Revenge also as an example of what he can do, apparently when something in the cosmos is right. I didn't care for the Bruce Lee imitation later, but he did very well with Chen Jun in those early episodes.

He does seem more relaxed in SPL. Just a bit. But, being a perfectionist might make him always, unfortunately, aware of every angle and every look and wanting to get it 'right' in his mind.

He did do a romantic dealie in 'Love On The Rocks'. He was a little stiff there, but all-in-all it wasn't bad. If he could relax, have more confidence when he's not doing a fight scene (Yes, it's possible The Yenster doesn't have enough confidence in certain areas dealing with acting. He's only human. Amazing?) he might broaden his horizons.

It's stupid to compare which one of these guys is 'the best martial artist'. Jet's got medals from Chinese national competitions coming out his ears. Sammo and Jackie did study some martial arts, not just Opera school stuff. And they're all really doing movie-fu, so it doesn't matter anyway. But they've all got screen presence.

Just entertain me! :)

Posted by: Screamingmimi | Aug 29, 2006 10:22:13 AM

Errrr maybe you didn't hear me right srcaemnigmimi, if that is your real name? I said DON'T touch Donnie's acting or I'll touch you back! You gotta respect the king! Donnie is the BEST EVER! and no he isn't human, he is a god! he is the gods bolocks of Martial Arts! I would say dogs but dogs bolocks aren't worthy of the king Donnie, if he was bolocks he'd be gods. NOW let us all sing the Donnie song >>>
Standing alone, I'm going on my roll
I'm gonna show this world I'm number ONE
I don't care what you think
I could kill you if you blinked
NO pretenders left when I'm done
it dosen't matter where I go now
You know what they say about me


Fast and I'm strong
it won't take me long
you'll see my POWER shine like a sun
Burn up the town
I'm kicking it down
I'm gonna have it all when I'm done
dosen't matter where I go now
You know what they say about me


YENSTER YENSTER YENSTERRRRRR RULES! So don't even mess with da best!

Posted by: Devilgreen | Aug 29, 2006 3:50:42 PM

There's something disturbingly familiar about you. You probably know me as 'Nightbird'. I fear that that is the case. Oy!

Rant on, silly person. :)

Posted by: Screamingmimi | Aug 29, 2006 4:21:23 PM

Ah yes, NIGHTBIRD! he is like me, but not me, he is a friend I met once at a 'Arogant badguy's convention' I attended, I liked his views, I dunno if he likes Yen, he better had! Well I was introduced to him through my close friend Sceletor, he was attending the convention to discuss what his next plan for getting HEMAN was, but he is close friends with NIGHTBIRD, I think they are old school mates. Sceletor was pretty sure he'd get HEMAN next time, then he did his sceleton laugh...and WOW it is so cool to hear in real, it sounded great...hmm how to say? it sounded SO SCELETONESSC!

Posted by: Devilgreen | Aug 29, 2006 4:31:53 PM

It is SKELETOR you idiot!! get my name right! Donnie Yen rules btw and I loved Sha Po Lang, I wish I could get Donnie to fight HEMAN for me, opps, I mean HE-MAN...I always forget his gay dash. and btw before I forget...I'll get you NEXT TIME HE-MAN!!! after I've watched the Kill Zone disc making of, then you'll be for it HE-MAN!

Posted by: skeletor | Aug 29, 2006 4:36:13 PM

About Donnie being arrogant: What does he have to show for himself to even be arrogant? Come on, the guy makes like 1-2 good movies every 10 years orso... and those are the ones he has only starred in, not directed.
I LOVE Donnie as a screenfighter, but I think he's pretty mediocre in all other departments, including directing and even choreography (undercranking, wavy hands, bad camera-angles, same old show-off slow-mo moves all the time, etc etc)
He needs to get his act together and just get himself into some decent movies and just focus on his screen-fighting, and dont meddle with the directing and choreography.

About Bruce being cocky: Yeah he was cocky but he was being truthfull. He said something sucked, and then he went out and did it better. He improved on it. Donnie just says something/someone sucked, and that's it.
As long as he doesnt have the amount of classics udner his belt as Sammo, Jackie, Jet and Bruce have... he needs to just focus on making classics.

About Dragon Dynasty: This 1st release looks/sounds promising, but this being Weinstein and all, I fear the worst for their other titles.

Tom Yum Goong is already known to have a new soundtrack (by RZA), and it wouldnt surprise me if it's cut as well. So if that's the case, I wont be picking it up, no matter how lovely and good the extras are. I want the uncut, unaltered movies. I know many will agree with me on this... and some may not...

If this label is serious, they should FINALLY give us Fist of Legend. The former western releases were absolutely worthless due to the dubbings and the altered soundtrack and sound effects and all. And apart from the French release (which has no english subs), it hasnt gotten a decent release ANYWHERE in the world (not even Hong Kong(!)) due to Weinstein's stronghold on the license...
It's time we get this classic, and it has to be thye original HK version. I dont even care about extras, I just want to enjoy this classic again in the way it is supposed to be enjoyed: uncut, unaltered and subbed.

SPL is a great movie. Don't know why they changed the title to 'Kill Zone' as that title is absolute CRAP (probably Bey's creative writing talents at work once again(!)) but they seem to have gotten everything else right, so that's positive. Evereyone who hasnt seen the movie yet, should get this release, unless they DO care about the lame title and dont care about extras, in which case they should pick up the EXCELLENT R3 HK release... which is available for about 10 dollars orso...

Posted by: Yi-Long | Aug 29, 2006 5:41:02 PM

heeheehee HE-MAN..urrr I mean Yi-LONG! You have a gay dash like HE-MAN! Your names sounds like a old country bumpkin use of words e.g "oooww ain't Yi long in the tale oww arr"! I love the title Kill Zone, it sounds so crap and B-movie like, I love crappy cheesy titles, that is why I called myself Skeletor to scare little kids when they watched me in HE-MAN! And in answer to the question that is on the end of your tongue I will get him next time! you'll see! btw YI-LONG are you a BIG Donnie fan like me? I have allllllllllll his films including the very rare film he stared in called "I'm gonna get you sucka" he was great in that!

Posted by: Skeletor | Aug 29, 2006 6:49:23 PM

Had to come back to this post since I've now seen the 'Kill Zone' DVD package. It's a great package!

I must have missed the Bey/Donnie commentary. Where was that exactly?

The 'Alleycats' and 'Challenge of the Master's extras on disc 1 are excellent. With no commentary, just the camer rolling capturing what's going on and English subtitles of what's being said on set.

Excellent features on Disc 1, not to me missed.

As for the Donnie interview on Disc 2? I didn't spot a second of arrogance. Everything he says about his involvement is later verified by Wilson Yip in his interview and verified by the extras on disc 1. You can clearly see his involvement there.

I'd take a car trip with Donnie any day if he could keep me out of trouble with the Triads AND the cops in HK. Let's go for a ride! :)

Btw, Wu Jing's 'demo' really isn't that much of a demo. But his interview is a good look at his personality and credentials. More Wu Jing!!!

Donnie is charming and informative on his vision for the action scenes of the film. I find him NOT guilty of arrogance. Too bad he doesn't get a moment of respect from people as the choreographer for this film and instead they bring in past baggage they have with Donnie.

Excellent extras from DD.

Posted by: Screamingmimi | Sep 17, 2006 9:44:16 PM

Just found the commmentary. You have to change your 'audio' on your player to English to get the commentary. It's not an option on the menu.

Posted by: Screamingmimi | Sep 17, 2006 10:36:07 PM

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