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Special ID (2013)

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, what he wanted to achieve here was creating more realistic-looking and technical MMA/grappling coupled with good ol' fashioned HK-style hand-to-hand combat. IMO, the problem is not how Donnie set up the choreography but it's whether people can appreciate MMA being featured more than the hand-to-hand combat compared to the previous movies. Because I've noticed that the art transcended onscreen isn't completely accepted yet by long-time martial arts movie fans that are so used to 80s/mid 90s Hong Kong action movies and other MA movies later on inspired by them.

I've only seen the first fight but I can't see being on all fours taunting your opponent as a realistic or advantageous fighting position while the other person is standing. Anyway it's going to have to take something truly special for MMA to win me over. I think it's great having some concept of realism but also you really want to watch on in awe at what the stars can do. Personally I find that however good someone may be technically with grappling and that sort of thing, it's not entertaining to watch. I do wonder if yen is trying to position himself into making Hollywood movies with MMA becoming more mainstream in the US.

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Actually, having one person positioned on the ground defending getting hit while the other is standing trying to get hits or getting into grappling position are common in real MMA fights, only that Yen tweaked the idea a bit here. The taunting Yen's character does in that fight scene was part of keeping the choreography intact with the role he plays: relating the action with the dramatic aspect of the movie. His character ain't like those early cop roles where he would be straightforward and all serious. He's playing an undercover cop infiltrating a triad gang (Yen got inspiration for his role watching Chow Yun-Fat's performance in City On Fire) so his attitude and gestures/behavior throughout the movie make perfect sense. If you're familiar with Hong Kong gangster films, there shouldn't even be complaints.

It's going to take something truly special for MMA to win you over... In other words, it won't take you any further than what has already been done before because you prefer hand/kick/block exchanges, right? I get it. But don't worry, Yen has stated that he has plenty of ideas he would like to put onscreen so he won't do MMA-themed MA movies forever with his next productions. Also, he will mainly stay in Hong Kong with only few occasions (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 2 and possibly Priority Run) trying out Hollywood.

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redbelt was the only mma movie I really enjoyed saw a few after that and just could not get into them and special id was just the nail in the coffin for my interest in anything mma related on film.

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I thought it was a pretty good flick & the fighting was great

would rather see more of this style of fighting than dancy flying crap

dont mind wirework if its appropriate, but floaty art nonsense just bores the hell outta me

if Bruce were around today this is the sort of choreography I believe he would be using

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Actually, having one person positioned on the ground defending getting hit while the other is standing trying to get hits or getting into grappling position are common in real MMA fights, only that Yen tweaked the idea a bit here. .

Really ? I would've thought the person on all fours would be vulnerable to a serious kicking.

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Really ? I would've thought the person on all fours would be vulnerable to a serious kicking.

MMA rules make for some tact in the kicking...& in any case, its not as simple as it seems, especially if a person trains to fight off their back (I know you said on all fours but no one is in that position 'knowingly' for long)

if we really want to talk ridiculous groundfighting tho, Operation Scorpio has to be the king!!

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I thought it was a pretty good flick & the fighting was great

would rather see more of this style of fighting than dancy flying crap

dont mind wirework if its appropriate, but floaty art nonsense just bores the hell outta me

if Bruce were around today this is the sort of choreography I believe he would be using

Please more positive, give me something to live for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:tongue:

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I know the west has been dominant culturally - clothes, films etc for decades, but seeing modern HK and Chinese films gives me the vibe of watching recent Bollywood trailers. They're all dressed and acting like Entourage cast members. It's a weird vibe I get.

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While I didn't love the film, I certainly didn't hate it at all. The story was a little thin and the characters exaggerated but I enjoyed watching it.

As for the action? It's nowhere near what it could have been. There are three proper fights in the film (some shoot outs and minor scuffles too) and while they're solid, I couldn't help but want more.

I thought the car chase leading up the finale was fantastic. Real edge of the seat stuff. And I will also say that the final fight, while not as complex as I'd liked, was pretty awesome. I just think Donnie took the MMA thing a little too far. It's cool and all but give us some solid exchanges too.

All in all, I'd say it's a mediocre film. Not terrible, not amazing. Certainly worth a watch and, yes, I'll be buying it when it's released.

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While I didn't love the film, I certainly didn't hate it at all. The story was a little thin and the characters exaggerated but I enjoyed watching it.

As for the action? It's nowhere near what it could have been. There are three proper fights in the film (some shoot outs and minor scuffles too) and while they're solid, I couldn't help but want more.

I thought the car chase leading up the finale was fantastic. Real edge of the seat stuff. And I will also say that the final fight, while not as complex as I'd liked, was pretty awesome. I just think Donnie took the MMA thing a little too far. It's cool and all but give us some solid exchanges too.

All in all, I'd say it's a mediocre film. Not terrible, not amazing. Certainly worth a watch and, yes, I'll be buying it when it's released.

I actually enjoyed it as a movie more than Flashpoint. The fights and action scenes were better spread out I enjoyed the story/characters more. While the Ken Lo fight was basically a throw away, and no fight tops the final battle of Flashpoint, I feel Special ID is a better all around effort. SPL is still the best out of the three though....

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I actually enjoyed it as a movie more than Flashpoint. The fights and action scenes were better spread out I enjoyed the story/characters more. While the Ken Lo fight was basically a throw away, and no fight tops the final battle of Flashpoint, I feel Special ID is a better all around effort. SPL is still the best out of the three though....

As did I. I'm actually not a huge fan of "Flashpoint" and, all in all, felt like this was..."livelier." Drama and character wise I mean, not the action.

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cant say i thought it was better than Flashpoint (I reckon that's the finest modern HK flik in over 20 years personally) and the dramatic scenes with the female cop on the rooftop were weedy....BUT I really enjoyed the flik a lot, the fight in the restaurant was ace and the pub fight with Andy On was a fitting finale...Donnie cementing his place as THE king...hope the DVD has some of the footage with Chin Man Cheuk

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cant say i thought it was better than Flashpoint (I reckon that's the finest modern HK flik in over 20 years personally) and the dramatic scenes with the female cop on the rooftop were weedy....BUT I really enjoyed the flik a lot, the fight in the restaurant was ace and the pub fight with Andy On was a fitting finale...Donnie cementing his place as THE king...hope the DVD has some of the footage with Chin Man Cheuk

welcome back man..

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Doesn't really pick up or make sense until the second half. It all sort of comes together, but it is sloppily told. The female cop being able to hand with Yen was pretty silly, though she had a great fight with the driver of the car at the end. Still, the last 30 minutes or so are a nice throwback to 80's action. Watch with the fast forward button.Flashpoint and SPL are better.

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Donnie Yen talks about some of the problems with "Special ID," including a Collin Chou fight that was cut...

http://twitchfilm.com/2013/11/donnie-yen-teaches-action-star-101-reveals-troubles-with-special-id.html

The Lady Miz Diva: Welcome back to New York. Can you tell us why you came to support the New York Chinese Film Festival?

Donnie Yen: To be honest, this is my first time at this event. At this time, I normally take advantage of events like this to take a break from my busy schedule and then travel with my wife. That's the only time we have a long time. We're both so busy with my work and my films and our family. Actually, they invited me last year, but I was already committed to the New York Asian Film festival, so I attended that. This time they asked months ago if I would be able to make it to this one and I had a couple of days off, so here I am.

I want to start with my last question first. Would you please tell us about your upcoming films? It looks like you're attached to 80 different movies and I'd like to know what is accurate?

DY: {Laughs} Monkey King, it's releasing on January 31st in China and the rest of Asia for Chinese New Year.

Is there a US release planned?

DY: Yes, I actually spoke to the producer that's responsible for distributing the film in North America and he told me that he's looking at summer.

Iceman, I'm doing Iceman parts one and two. The first one will come out on April 4th, I think.

Priority Run is in talks with Arclight, so I'm not sure, it's not committed yet. Crouching Tiger is not committed, but there are a couple films that are in the can, like Iceman. Part two should be in the can by the middle of December. I finished with what used to be called Best of the Best. It's now called Kill the Kung Fu Killer. It's kind of confusing, right? That's in the can, but I don't know when it's going to be released. They don't want to have all these Donnie Yen films crashing on top of each other. I'm in talks for another project based on a novel called Chinaman {Not sure if he meant Chinaman by Shehan Karunatilaka, or China Men by Maxine Hong Kingston}.

Last year you mentioned your romantic lead debut in TOGETHER, with Michelle Chen. You played a character called Mr. Cool. Can you ever picture moving into straight drama films with no action?

DY: Probably not. I recognise myself as an action guy, right? But I do want to change what has been for the longest time the conception of the action guy, because normally when you talk about action guys, it's involved with the seriousness of the acting side. If you want to break it down to why, it's because for the longest time, action films can easily achieve a certain success, especially during the 70s and 80s - since Bruce Lee days - if you have a couple of good action scenes, then the film can be quite successful in the market.

Nowadays, it's different; nowadays it requires the old school delivering a powerful performance from the actor, and it's something that I've been striving for the last six or seven years. How do you move from there? I've been in the business for so long that I constantly strive to elevate the standard, but by elevating the standard there must be an all-around element where you can bring up the standard besides just purely on the action. I mean, there's so much you can with the action, so it's back to the basics of storytelling and characters and performance.

You're here to show SPECIAL ID. I was surprised at the hard-hitting quality of the fighting.

DY: Yeah, it's very hardcore. I think in many areas of the film, it could be a lot more solid. This film - I was also the producer - went through many, many problems, many obstacles. It's very difficult to put a film together nowadays, especially with these types of subjects. As China is a very powerful growing market for filmmaking and we're talking advantage of it; especially for someone like myself who was based in Hong Kong filmmaking, this type of material with violence and gangsters and undercover cops, it's quite sensitive in China. The bright side is the policy is opening up. There's quite a few swearing in Cantonese in this film and this is something that I thought that they would be cut out, but they embraced it. It allows artists like myself to be artistic on that level and you can feel that's where the future is going. But at the same time, there's a lot of areas where they can be more professional about it, they cut out a couple of scenes here and there. I think the overall story would be a lot better if they didn't cut it out, particularly with the development between my character and my mother.

See, that was the area where it didn't really make sense because everybody was asking, 'What's up with the mother?' I'll tell you the backstory, I'll tell you the stuff that they cut out was she had a problem; she had depression. So there's a scene where I'm having dinner and she's just crying hysterically and I say, "What's the matter? Whoever took advantage of you in the market, I'm gonna go and give them a whipping." She says, "No, I don't know why I'm crying." It's because my father left us and because of that it still comes back to her. So I tell her "Why don't you hang out with me?" and they go to the bar. That's why there's the scenes where they're drinking and he says, "I'm taking care of you. You think you've been taking care of me? I've been looking after you." Those are the scenes that they cut out, so the development of the mother and son didn't make much sense. So here and there I thought the whole movie overall could've be a lot more solid in terms of fully developing the characters. That's the unfortunate thing, that's something I have to cope with.

Well, the fortunate thing in SPECIAL ID is the action.

DY: The action is definitely out there, yeah.

Could you talk about designing the action for the film?

DY: I always have a love for doing contemporary films like this. I did Sha Po Lang, Flash Point. To me, this is kind of the same style. The past couple of years, the market requires me to do more of these period films, especially after the success of Ip Man. But then, deep inside, I wanted to go back to Flash Point. And I feel as an actor it provides me more of a freedom for creating a character, because you don't have to live up to these historical burdens. When you play a period hero, you can't be free; there are certain expectations.

So I went back to do Special ID and I said this is the area I wanted to be in, especially with the MMA style. You know, there's a lot of MMA-style movies out there, right? But I wanted to show them how to do an even more advanced way of doing the MMA in a contemporary film. I know that Flash Point has established a benchmark for a lot of people; not only the action fans, but also within this whole MMA society. I wanted to show that what I can do with Flash Point, I would do with Special ID and this type of fighting style.

Was there meant to be a fight between you and Collin Chou, who costars in SPECIAL ID? I think a lot of fans hoped for a FLASH POINT rematch.

DY: I invited Collin to... It was like this, I put the cast together at the last second. Collin came. There was supposed to be a fight between him and the girl in the toilet, right? But then we had a discussion and he told me his concern that he felt that if he would end up fighting this fragile girl, that he would kind of lose face. So I said, "Okay, I'll tell you what, I'll cut it out," so that's what I did. As I was telling you, there was a lot of problems in the completion of this movie, so at the end of the day I wished it could've fully developed as I wanted it to.

Jing Tian is great as the female cop. Her action scenes are quite convincing...

DY: You'd be a lot more impressed if you'd seen her previous films.

Really? Had she done other martial arts films?

DY: Not at all! {Laughs} That's why I said you'd be even more impressed.

I asked Sammo Hung about his approach to working with ladies as a fight choreographer and he gave me a very interesting answer. What is your approach to working with women in action?

DY: Well, I have a way of shooting styles, of shooting actors. I approach it very differently from maybe my mentors like Yuen Woo-ping and Sammo, all those masters of shooting action. I approach it in a very scientific way. I understand that you can't really turn an actor into a martial arts expert, even in years, never mind months or weeks, right? So you gotta have a plan. You gotta be realistic and at the same time be scientific about shooting a person like that; from understanding whether she has the potential. How capable is she physically, and how many weeks I have before designing tailor-made - not only from choreography - to how do you shoot her on a shot-by-shot basis and making adjustments? When I work with her, it's like I'm her cornerman; that I have to work with her shot by shot.

I was very happy to see Ken Lo in your great fight sequence together and Andy On, who also has actual martial arts experience. As opposed to someone who never did martial arts, it must be easier to work with actual athletes who know more or less what you're asking for?

DY: It's a different type of challenge for me, different type of obstacle. For me, if I'm working with a lot more versatile action guy or girl, I will try to bring up the level even higher, so it's a different type of challenge. Working with someone like Jing Tian, she had no experience in action films and she's quite slim and small, it's a different type of challenge. And both bring satisfaction to me. To work with Andy - I know Andy; he's done numbers of action movies, so my goal was, 'I'm gonna make Andy look better than in any of his movies.' That was my goal. That's the satisfaction. But with Jing Tian, I wanted to surprise people with what she can do, particularly with some of her works; she had never done an action movie, never mind doing something like this. I set the goal very early on a couple of things I wanted to achieve; make Andy On the best he ever looked, surprise people with Jing Tian's action onscreen, thirdly surprise people with my range of acting as far as {going from} Ip Man to playing the gangster and having this type of rawness. I believe in these areas, I achieved that.

Could you give some advice to a young actor or actress who would like to follow in your action footsteps?

DY: I don't think you can just... If you want to be an action actor, or an actor that specialises in martial arts films, of course you gotta know martial arts. You gotta be a martial artist in the first place, right? You have to also be - by today's standard - understanding of a wide range of different, various styles of martial arts. That's very important. That's like having a wide range of taking on different roles as an actor. Knowing various martial arts styles prepares the actor to do period films, to do contemporary, you can do Wing Chun master. Fortunately for me early on, I had a very strong foundation in martial arts, and when I was a child, I went through extensive learning and crafting my various styles of martial arts, so I was fortunate in that area. I think first and foremost, you just have to be a good actor. You gotta be in good shape. You have to look like you're in good shape. All the elements count. You have to be prepared all around.

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Great interview. So there was a Yen vs Chou showdown after all... That's what I thought all along. Otherwise, why would Donnie hire him? The cutting of non-action scenes also explains the abrupt editing and somewhat rushed pacing here and there.

Hopefully, the deleted scenes will be featured on the HK DVD/BD or be included in a DC version.

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Did anyone else see this at the New York Chinese Film Fest (where that interview is from)? I thought the subtitles were pretty appalling. You could figure out what they meant, but it was pretty ridiculous for a film fest in my opinion. I hope that when it's released here for distribution the subtitles are fixed.

Also, (like when he visited for the New York Asian Film Fest last year) Donnie brought a gift for the audience. It was a tote bag that just says "Donnie Yen" in cursive. I thought it was so funny because it's just so random haha. Can you imagine just seeing a chick walking by with a bag that just has "Brad Pitt" written on it? lol

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Managed to get a hold of a crappy copy with bad sound so i just skipped to the fights. Just flicking through it looks like a kinda dumb film but i'll withhold judgement until i get a good DVD.

The Ken Lo fight was weird and generally pretty horrible. I really don't know what they were going for with this scene, it was a weird mix between humour and seriousness and it didn't work at all.

The brawl midway through the film was excellent though it was a little short. Not much to say here.

I understand why some folks didn't enjoy the end fight but i enjoyed it quite a bit. I think Donnie is getting the hang of depicting grappling exchanges on film, the way he choreographed the wrestling exchanges and transitions was well done and a large improvement on those in Flashpoint. He's the only guy that makes that stuff look good on film in my opinion. The problem with his mma stuff is that submissions just randomly seem to happen which looks kind of silly to me, there are a lot of subtleties to a submission hold and he always bypasses them which kills any sort of suspense he could get out of it. I found that bit where he turns the fight around with the standing arm triangle to be pretty lame but otherwise i liked it. I would have liked more kickboxing exchanges though, Donnie has such a cool style with that.

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I seen a HK bootleg version for this already with slip cover, I wasn't able to see if it had eng subs though because it was on the shelf behind the counter. If it has eng subs I will probably pick it up later today or tomorrow.

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anybody have any info on the quality/cut of the Malaysian version? is it somehow censored or is it the identical cut as the HK version? Yesasia lists the DVD as having Cantonese. I wonder how good the DVD quality is though, I have only bought one Malaysian DVD (Chocolate) and the picture quality was a bit too dark, but still watchable.

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