Hong Kong police officer Kit (Wu Jing) goes undercover in order to catch Mr. Hung (Louis Koo), the mastermind behind a crime syndicate. When the operation goes sour, and the undercover cops are betrayed, Kit disappears without a trace. Uncle Wah (Simon Yam) defies the order from his commanding officer and tracks Kit to a prison in Thailand. Thai Police officer Chai (Tony Jaa) becomes a prison guard in order to raise money for his daughter who has leukemia. He's assigned to keep an eye on Kit. Even though Chai and Kit are in opposing positions and they don't speak a common language, Kit turns out to be a suitable bone marrow donor who can save Chai's daughter. While Chai is determined to keep Kit alive, the warden Ko (Zhang Jin) wants him dead to ensure the smooth operation of the prison, which is the front for Mr Hung's organ trafficking business. Mr Hung shows up in Thailand so he can use his younger brother's (Jun Kung) heart in a heart transplant to save his own life. The stage is ...Written by
When I think back on Tony Jaa's movies I remember mostly "B"/"C+" movies with "A" or "A+" moments. This is his first "A" movie. A majority of his movies in the past were really bad plots that led to fights where he demonstrates his talent as a stuntman, and his fighting style, which is always really tight on his ability to cut distance and overpower his opponents using his short strikes from long distances with his ability to tough out and withstand beatings that should kill him. This fight has all that but unfortunately it seems like they traded his stunt work for CGI...go Hong Kong... they did give him a scene where he and Wu Jing get into an amazing tight out of character fight, almost like an Iko Uwais scene, just still very Jaa. There was also a lot of character development and identity in the choreography, which is nice to see. This adds to my thoughts 15 minutes in when I was thinking about the maturity in both Jaa and Wu Jing. There are no elephants or statues causing a city to get terrorized in this one, it's all about family.
I agree that there were too many coincidences in the plot to consider it great, but I still found it all interesting and well done, up until the last ten minutes. At that point you could almost see the writers cutting the ribbon. None of this is as important as the work from Jaa, Wu, and Zhang.
This is the first non period piece that I'm going to get my girlfriend to try to watch with me. A scene that I predicted at the beginning of the movie made me tear up, and I think that even though she's not as into the action as I am, she'll enjoy it.
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