4 stars, R16, 115 mins
A brief word about this pan-Asian, MMA, kick-ass crime thriller which would probably have looked even more stunning on the big screen.
I hadn’t seen/wasn’t aware of the first SPL movie (and I haven’t looked into what SPL stands for) but A Time for Consequences is one hella blockbuster of an action flick. The complicated plot involves an evil, sick, rich man who is forcing his beloved brother to donate his heart so the misanthrope can live; a prison warden (Thai legend Tony Jaa of Ong-Bak fame) whose cute-as-a button daughter needs a bone marrow transplant from a hard-to-find donor; and an undercover cop imprisoned by corrupt officials who plays an integral part in the ensuing chaos.
Like I say, it was at times a little confusing, especially as the story moves so fast the subtitles often shoot off the screen before you’ve had a chance to read them (truly!) and it cuts madly from one scene to the next as the many threads unravel. But my goodness, what a blast. It’s vibrant, noisy, intense, and boasts stunning camerawork, often so breathtakingly clever your background brain is trying to unpack “How did they do that??” while you keep up with who’s fighting whom and why? and where did that mobile phone end up? and how does he know about him? and so on and so on.
The fight scenes rival those in both Raids for sheer panache, with Jaa’s legit, no-props prowess truly impressive up against other characters’ use of wire-work which delivers a sometimes Matrix-y quality. But that’s no problem – the whole film has a larger-than-life bombast which makes it cinematic in the extreme. As a bonus, the brilliantly choreographed set-pieces are soundtracked by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Mozart’s Requiem, a seminal fave of mine which is only slightly tarnished by filmmaking’s inevitable need to chop it to fit the action on screen. (Makes it harder to sing along.)
If you can keep up with what’s happening in the plot – or even if you can’t – SPL2 certainly delivers a rollicking ride.