Simon Yam and "The Grandmaster"'s Max Zhang Join Tony Jaa and Wu Jing in "SPL 2"

Simon Yam and Max Zhang in "SPL 2"

Last week, while walking around the Filmart, I picked up a promotional flyer for SPL II, a sequel to Donnie Yen’s cop thriller known for its Mixed Martial Arts infused fight choreography. It’s the first collaboration between director Wilson Yip, Sammo Hung, and Donnie Yen that would eventually lead to Ip Man.

SPL wasn’t a box office hit locally, grossing a measly HK $7.4M ($1M US), but it gained a following with action fans worldwide through film festivals and home video.

With Simon Yam returning to the cast, along with Wu Jing, and the possibility of a cameo from Donnie Yen, "SPL II" has to be a prequel because there’s only one survivor in the first film -- and if you haven’t seen it, it’s not who you think it is.

I’m actually more excited about the new addition of martial artist Max Zhang, who plays the antagonist Ma San in Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmaster. With these films, the more screen fighters, the merrier.

The Monkey King’s Soi Cheang will take over directing duties from Wilson Yip, who will take on a producer’s role.

With limited or no involvement from Yen, I wonder if there’ll be any grappling moves in the sequel. Probably not, but Jaa will replace them with plenty of elbows and knees to forehead.

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