Paradox: “a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true.”
This Paradox is based around a kidnapping, illegal organ trafficking, the powers that be and some hard-nosed, no-nonsense cops on the case.
Directed by the legendary Wilson Yip (“Ip Man”, “A Chinese Ghost Story”) with action choreographed and directed by another legend, Sammo Hung and starring Louis Koo (“Protégé”, “Flash Point”), Wu Yue (“Police Story: Lockdown”, “Little Big Soldier”) and Tony Jaa (“Ong-Bak”, “Fast & Furious 7”), Paradox shapes up to be a great movie.
Set mainly in Thailand, Yip and writers Nick Cheuk (“Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight”) and Lai-Yin Leung (“Kill Zone 2”, “Ip Man 3”), bring us a film that doesn’t have a happy ending, much like life at times.
Our protagonist, Koo, goes through hell and back and does so with very little dialogue (something mentioned in the extras on the DVD). He tells the story through his anger, thoughtfulness and a whole gamut of emotions.
Yip handles the camera with the expertise you’d expect from such a seasoned pro and with the action taken care of curtesy of Hung, the film looks gorgeous and zips along at a nice pace.
The story is a tad-convoluted at times, particularly at the beginning as things are sorting themselves out, but overall Paradox is a great action film and so much more.
Koo is a Hong-Kong cop who has brought up his daughter on his own. At 16 she decides she wants to marry, so Koo has her new boyfriend arrested on underage sex grounds, this sees his daughter rebel and take-off to Thailand to see a friend.
It’s here where she is kidnapped and Koo teams up with Yue to hunt down the gang responsible. But this isn’t some small, local hoodlums, this racket goes all the way to the top of the tree.
Whilst we do get some fight scenes, an amazing warehouse full of them which involves one of the main henchmen Chris Collins (“Gen-X Cops”) and Tony Jaa flexes his elbows and knees against Collins too, Paradox is, for long periods, a drama. Don’t go in expecting wall-to-wall action.
This is where Koo really comes into his own, pushing his acting, challenging himself by cutting a lot of the dialogue just before they were about to shoot some scenes, one in particular with another absolute legend, Ken Lo (“Rush Hour”, “Shinjuku Incident”).
Yue is also up to the challenge, playing an almost early Jackie Chan-esq role, he eats up scenes with aplomb, being both funny, serious and angry throughout.
When Hung gets behind the camera the pace picks up and the action is to die for. Yes, there’s a lot of wire-work but it used brilliantly, not subtle granted, but it is stunning. It takes me back to the early days of watching kung-fu movies and wishing you could do the things you saw.
Paradox follows closely with Yip’s 2005 film SPL: Kill Zone, which starred Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung, and Kill Zone 2 which Yip didn’t direct but Tony Jaa took the lead, the latter also involving an organ trafficking ring.
Paradox is a welcome throw-back to Hong-Kong action films of old but throws in plenty of good acting, wonderful directing and drama to boot. But if you’re looking for happy endings, best look elsewhere.
You get a few bonus features on the DVD: The Story, The Characters, Action Scenes, The Director And The Action Director and the Trailer. All are quite short but informative.