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The film wasn't going to be part action film at first but that changed once Donnie Yen came on-board. As the film's action director, Donnie requested additional funds in order to shoot action scenes accordingly to the story. The result became the now famous alley fight and the last fight with Jing Wu and Sammo Kam-Bo Hung respectively. See more »
During the final fight sequence, Donnie's shoes change from boots to sneakers in several shots. See more »
This is some of the best fight choreography I have ever seen in 25+ years of watching martial arts films. The action was so exciting the entire crowd I was with in the theater were howling with delight. Sadly it is so rare nowadays to see a martial arts film where real martial artists are fighting instead of pop stars on wires, and it makes such a huge difference because Donnie, Sammo and Jacky Wu were simply incredible. My only complaint with the action was that there was not enough of it. Donnie Yen has finally joined the ranks of great fight choreographers with S.P.L.
As good as the action was though, the story fell flat for me and put the film into the "Very Good" category when it could have been "Great". They tried for an "Infernal Affairs" style police thriller and didn't nearly hit the mark. While Simon Yam and Sammo Hung were both great in their parts, the other acting was just functional and the story had way too much overdone melodramatic content that seemed very forced. The emotional arc of the picture was pretty much set up right at the beginning and would have been sufficient, but they had to keep laying on the unrealistic drama and it did slightly take away from my enjoyment of the film. Another criticism with the story was that it seemed like parts may have been cut from the film, because some pieces of the story that earlier had seemed pretty insignificant became a big deal towards the end of the film and it felt like it came out of nowhere, like we weren't told everything.
Having said that though, my negative criticism about the story should not stop you at all from seeing this film. I didn't go into S.P.L. expecting The Godfather, I just wanted to see some incredible martial arts action and I got it. I cannot wait to see what Donnie will do next.
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