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Film / Sha Po Lang

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SPL: Sha Po Lang (Chinese: 殺破狼, released in the United States as Kill Zone) is a 2005 Hong Kong action film written and directed by Wilson Yip (Yip Wai-shun), and starring Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung and Simon Yam. The film was released in Hong Kong on 18 November 2005. Yam portrays Chan Kwok-chung, a retiring police detective who resorts to the use of questionable methods in order to catch Wong Po (Hung), a ruthless triad boss, before he dies of a brain tumor. Donnie Yen plays Ma Kwun, Chan's protege, who will inherit the case against Wong after Chan dies.


This film exhibits the following tropes:

  • Acrofatic: Despite his girth, Wong Po is very quick and can do multiple wrestling moves. Given who plays the guy, this was all but inevitable.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Especially towards the end when Wong throws Ma Kwun off the building and on his car, killing Ma and Wong's family.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Wong Po is considerably tougher than his chosen assassin, Jack.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In a sense, as Wong Po, the criminal kingpin survives while the hero, Ma Kwun dies. Subverted, as even though he won the fight and lived, he also killed his beloved family in the process, so good luck telling him that he's the winner.
  • Car Cushion: Ma Kwun lands on a car after his Destination Defenestration. Unusual for the trope, neither the person falling nor the people in the car survive.
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  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Ma Kwun appears to be performing Wuxia-like stunts in his fight against Wong Po and also displays incredible strength when he throws him.
  • Destination Defenestration: The ultimate fate of Ma Kwun.
  • Distress Ball: Inspector Chan, after having three of his four men get killed by Jack, takes on Wong Po all by his lonesome. While he does a fair job of blowing away his mooks, Jack takes him down easily and Wong Po captures him, forcing Ma into the final showdown with both men.
  • Downer Ending: No matter who you're rooting for, they lose. Even though this is nominally a case of The Bad Guy Wins, the fact that his victory causes the death of his beloved family means that he ends the film worse than he started. And since The Hero Dies, well, it's clear that he doesn't get a happy ending.
  • The Dragon: Jack, who is played by Wu Jing.
  • Dramatic Irony: Wong Po's impulsive attempt to kill Ma Kwun results in him also killing his wife and child, who were waiting outside the building he was in.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: One of the dirty tactics that Chan's team uses to take down Wong.
  • The Hero Dies: Ma Kwun is killed by the fall over Wong's car.
  • Knife Nut: Jack does most of his killings with his tanto knife.
  • The Last Dance: Chan is determined to take Wong down before he dies.
  • Lawman Baton: Ma's favored weapon is a telescoping baton.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: During the alley fight, Ma Kwan manages to beat the knife-wielding assassin Jack bloody with his steel baton, but is unable to finish him and Jack manages to strip him of his weapon. When Jack attacks the unarmed Kwan, Kwan grabs his knife, twists it around, and guts Jack like a fish.
  • Precision Crash: When Ma Kwun is thrown out of a window at the end of the movie, his body lands on the car holding Wong Po's wife and child, killing them instantly.
  • Pyrrhic Villainy: Triad crimelord Wong Po, the villain played by Sammo Hung, defeats the hero Inspector Ma played by Donnie Yen by sending him right out a window... right onto the Wong family's waiting car with Po's beloved child and wife still inside, killing all three of them.
  • Red Filter of Doom: The red filter is used when Jack kills the witness and kicks off the plot.

Alternative Title(s): Kill Zone


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