SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (2015)

I’m not quite sure what to make of SPL 2: A Time for Consequences, a Chinese-Hong Kong martial arts (and guns) action film that’s a “sequel in name only” to Wilson Yip’s SPL. Partly that’s due to my lack of familiarity with the genre; outside of a couple Ong Bak and Raid films, my knowledge…

Jack O'Connell in '71 (2014)

’71 (2014)

The Troubles (the violent Northern Ireland conflict between Catholics and Protestants) are defined by a moral and political complexity that’s difficult to successfully convey on film. Many of the movies that have succeeded in portraying the era – In the Name of the Father, The Outsider, Good Vibrations – avoid the problems of presenting either…

Iko Uwais in The Raid 2 (2014)

The Raid 2: Berandal (2014)

In my review of 2011’s The Raid: Redemption, I discussed its opening shot, a close-up on a gun and watch, heralded the film’s violence and clockwork tautness. Gareth Evans’ sequel to his modern action classic opens on a long shot of a field of crops, grey-tinged by a sullen sky and lacerated by paths twisting…

The Raid: Redemption (2011)

Gareth Evans’ Indonesian action movie The Raid: Redemption (original title Serbuan maut) opens on a static shot of a wristwatch and a gun. It’s an important opening shot because it tells us two things about the film: it’s going to be precise, and it’s going to be violent. The Raid, as you’d expected, revolves around…