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Review Revenger (2018) and Review Saat po long: Taam long a.k.a. Paradox (2017): Revenger is average at best!

genre: action, martial arts, crime, drama

According to Bruce Khan himself Revenger brings you a true martial arts epic like you haven't seen in ages. If you read the reviews a lot of people seem to agree. I am not one of them. At the very best this is average and has no right even to be compared to better contemporary films in the same genre.

First of all Bruce Khan claims that they haven't made a single fully fledged martial arts flick in South Korea in a decade. Well, maybe there is some truth to that. But then one would need to clarify what exactly his definition is of a martial arts flick. I am a big fan of martial arts films but not even I don't expect only martial arts combat. That simply doesn't make much sense in a world where guns and other weapons have become so much more efficient. I like the mix up of hand to hand combat with gun play. And when combined right you will get the same rush and excitement. Besides has Bruce Khan even seen The Villainess or The Man from Nowhere? But let's say I agree with him, which I don't, but let's say I do. Then you really have to up your own game to deliver that hardcore martial arts action.

In that aspect Revenger fails completely. I can't fault the film for having a bad story. I mean who cares right? But it's as cliche as you could imagine. A guy wants to take revenge on another guy and will squash anyone who comes in between. Sounds awesome right? Wrong. Although to be honest, if it was conveyed how agonizing it had been for the hero to lose his loved ones that definitely would have made it more compelling. But it wasn't. Most of the combat is dull and repetitive. A good fight scene is where usually the odds are stacked against the hero but somehow through sheer strength, perseverance or any other emotion comes on top. Bruce Khan's character never truly is in danger. I could even predict the times the plot would wound him. Fortunately there is one stand out. The sword fight. That one was truly spectacular. Only it's far too late in the film and followed by an extremely disappointing finale. They should have reversed these scenes and it would have at least ended on a good note. 

Don't believe the hype, Revenger is quite boring even if you skip to the fight scenes. Bruce Khan does seem like a badass but lacks the charm and charisma to make me root for him. So I am really struggling to see how anyone could think this film is a martial arts epic. For that it's too simple and lacking.

Saat po long: Taam long a.k.a. Paradox (2017)

Arguably the weakest in the SPL franchise but still superior to many contemporary films and Revenger. If you were hoping for a connection between the previous films I couldn't find one. Not that I really care.

Most important for me was the action. And while it's not as spectacular as SPL 2 it certainly delivers. How can it not? The action is choreographed by none other than Sammo Hung. He knows how to make fight scenes exciting and enjoyable. Of course he is helped by director Wilson Yip who also is a master of getting the most out of a simple story dramatic wise. He manages to very effectively pull the heart strings while at the same by unforgiving and brutal story wise.

Tony Jaa's role is short but sweet. He manages to showcase what we love about him. Therefore I can forgive him for him not being in this as much as I would have liked to. Can we get a proper Tony Jaa film already? I mean come on people!

I do have to say that the story is a little far fetched. I mean they didn't attempt to show how powerful the bad guys truly are. If they had then there would have been more tension and understanding for certain characters to act like they did. In any case SPL 3 is worth watching at least once and in my opinion a better showcase of martial arts and stunt work than Revenger. Plus I rooted for the characters which I can't stress enough is vital for films like these.

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