"A detective on his way out and a detective on his way in team up to take down an evil crime lord"
First of all I hate this dvd cover and the title that the Weinsteins decided to rename it.
S.P.L. is nothing new at all. It tells a cliched HK action story and does little to nothing in trying to add something original to it for the most part. How it all ends and comes to a conclusion might be the only spark of originality.
But that's not the point here. When I rent a HK action film I am expecting a great action film. S.P.L. is not a great action film though. It's just a mediocre film that has some amazing action sequences.
I normally wouldn't have a problem sitting through a tired and cliched cop drama when I know that I am going to get a great pay off of action. The thing though that made this worse than a cliched cop drama is the direction behind the cop drama. It is horrible. Plain and simple.
We get Tony Scott edits, split screens, shutter effects, slow mo, and even parts where the frame just turns all to one color. I really don't know why all these effects are used. I guess I could understand if this were to all happen during action scenes but all these editing tricks happen during normal dramatic scenes. They do absolutely nothing but annoy you.
However, when the action finally comes for the last hour it is glorious. The fight scenes are tough,brutal, and stylish without ever being pretentious. The final fight scene between Sammo Hung and Donnie Yen is also very memorable and ends the film is a great explosive way.
S.P.L. is a great way to kill an hour and a half. It would have been great if the first hour was as great as the later half. Its sadly not and only serves to bring the films quality down.
First half of the film: C-
Second half of the film: A-