Under the Radar

Home Video: 'SPL Paradox'


"Paradox" was released in Asia and the third movie in the influential SPL saga. The three movies don't have as much in common as American audiences expect in their franchises but this one (out now on Blu-ray and DVD) shares a director Wilson Yip ("Ip Man" series) with the 2005 original "SPL: Sha Po Langand both a setting (Thailand) and one character (played by Tony Jaa) with the 2015 sequel "SPL II: A Time for Consequences."

Legendary Hong Kong action star Sammo Hung still managed to pull off some impressive stunt work as the villain in "SPL II," even though he was carrying a couple of decades and quite a few extra pounds. Hung directs the action here and manages to make lead actor Louis Koo look like a badass even though Koo has never played action hero before.

Koo plays a Hong Kong cop on the hunt for his missing daughter in Thailand. She's been captured by a gang that trades in human organs and there's a race to find her before the bad guys use her for parts. There's a great chase/fight sequence through the streets of Bangkok and an epic confrontation in a meat-packing plant that also serves as the operating facility for the organ traffickers.

Chinese action movies are moving towards epic guns and military action flicks like "Operation Mekong" and the "Wolf Warrior" series but there are still a few filmmakers looking to make gangster/martial arts crossover movies in the style of the great Hong Kong cinema of the '80s and '90s. "Paradox" feels like a cross between the first two films in the series and suggests there's reason to make a few more.

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