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Special ID (2013)

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Don't understand why people are slagging this film

ITS A DAMN GOOD HK ACTION FILM

if only you critics where around in the 90's there would be no HK cinema

:sad:

I somewhat agree with you actually, but I wouldn't blame myself (I gave it a luke warm-to-disappointing review) entirely. I think a lot of it is the hype.

While I think the film is just fine, I suppose I expected more. I like to think that upon watching it again my appreciation will go up.

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I somewhat agree with you actually, but I wouldn't blame myself (I gave it a luke warm-to-disappointing review) entirely. I think a lot of it is the hype.

While I think the film is just fine, I suppose I expected more. I like to think that upon watching it again my appreciation will go up.

Thanks Drunken Monk for being honest

It's a damn fine HK style actioner with China influences here and there.. we all forget HK was the fuel that fired great films

China has influenced Cinema now and it dos'nt look bright especially after watching that Detective Dee prequel trailer

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So the blu ray has no scenes with Collin vs. Yen right?!

I've already posted my review (7/10). The problem, is Donnie Yen copped out so bad. Leaving the rest of the movie as it is: After the tea house fight when he is in the street before the the lady cop Fan Jing comes in with a gun.....

I'm sorry, but Yen should have kicked some a$$ to show he still the best in the game. It's just a cop out to NOT have an awesome fight scene there especially with all those promos of all the action like these:

special-id-rain.jpg

special-id-1.jpg

Which brings out the question... What else was cut out?

The blame should be attributed to the Mainland studio execs and censorship though, not Yen. They always get in the way of Hong Kong filmmakers' creativity ruining things.

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Just watched it in full, i thought it was passable but nothing to write home about. Everything aside from the fighting was pretty poor, i had no interest in any of the characters, the acting was pure cheese and the pacing felt awkward. Even Donnie who i usually don't mind as an actor was pretty bad, it seemed like he tried to add a comedic (?) element to his usual character and it didn't work at all. I did enjoy the action for the most part with the exception of the Ken Lo fight which was weird. Donnie's fights were well done i thought, his portrayal of grappling was an improvement from Flashpoint. I'd put it around a 5 or 6 out of ten, while the action was good there wasn't enough of it to wash away the shitty storyline.

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I wish there was more subtlety in how Donnie expressed Chan's emotions. He came across as a 7 year old in a grown man's body with some of his overblown and exaggerated reactions.

And Chan suddenly waxing philosophical at the end of the film and the final scene of him jumping for joy= unintentionally hilarious.

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And Chan suddenly waxing philosophical at the end of the film and the final scene of him jumping for joy= unintentionally hilarious.

Oh...I'd actually blocked this scene from my memory until I read your post. I think it's safe to say the whole final 5 minutes of the movie are so borderline unwatchable in their cheesiness that it would test the patience of even the most ardent Donnie Yen fan (DIP I'm looking at you).

& yes, the jumping for joy, by that point I was sat in the cinema holding my head in my hands.

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I wish there was more subtlety in how Donnie expressed Chan's emotions. He came across as a 7 year old in a grown man's body with some of his overblown and exaggerated reactions.

And Chan suddenly waxing philosophical at the end of the film and the final scene of him jumping for joy= unintentionally hilarious.

Haven't see this yet but isn't that a throwback to the old school films? Seems they all ended that way.:tongue:

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I think it's safe to say the whole final 5 minutes of the movie are so borderline unwatchable in their cheesiness that it would test the patience of even the most ardent Donnie Yen fan (DIP I'm looking at you).

No problem for me, I enjoyed that scene acting-wise and choreography-wise. Donnie acting cocky and "childish" during the fight is no different from countless of classic HK gangster films were even the most serious performer would act out wtf-ish for a change. Heck, even Chow Yun-Fat did it in ABT 1-2 and City on Fire, the latter of which Donnie used as inspiration for his role. Besides, Donnie has done comedies before so...

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That deal on Donnie Yen's character in this movie sounds a bit strange to me. I can't really imagine Donnie Yen going comedic/buffonish the way someone like Jackie Chan could. But having seen him only in grave, serious roles in films such as Ip Man, Hero or Seven Swords, I guess I have a biased view on this actor.

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That deal on Donnie Yen's character in this movie sounds a bit strange to me. I can't really imagine Donnie Yen going comedic/buffonish the way someone like Jackie Chan could. But having seen him only in grave, serious roles in films such as Ip Man, Hero or Seven Swords, I guess I have a biased view on this actor.

For a different side of Donnie check out the kung fu comedy DRUNKEN TAI CHI (1984, aka. Tai Chi Master) (which features both Tai Chi and some drinking, but no actual Drunken Tai Chi) and the action/comedy/break-dancing movie MISMATCHED COUPLES (1985, aka. Mismatched Couple). DRUNKEN TAI CHI was directed by Yuen Woo-Ping as a "check out my new discovery Donnie Yen" flick, and despite the goofy comedy elements has some fantastic action in it. Yen shows off some truly impressive kung fu skills, and also some brilliant rope dart stuff. MISMATCHED COUPLES is a must-be-seen-to-be-believed nuthouse '80s spectacular of a doofus movie. When I met Yen and told him I own every one of his films, he laughed and said "Oh no, all of them? Even MISMATCHED COUPLES?" He is hilarious in the film. :bigsmile:

I haven't seen SPECIAL ID yet, so I can't weigh in on the film. But after seeing BADGES OF FURY, which was a real mess, and still enjoying parts of it, I'm sure SPECIAL ID will seem like a classic in comparison. :tongue:

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Okay, let me weigh in on the film.

IMO it's a big, loud, goofball of a film with fantastic action. I enjoyed it the same way as one of the old '80s-'90s Hong Kong action flicks. Back when we didn't really expect a HK movie to make a whole hell of a lot of sense, but knew we could expect to see some crazy ass action scenes.

As far as the script and directing go, the film is sloppy and (as others have mentioned) sort of feels a bit make-it-up-as-we-go. As I said- like many '80s and '90s Hong Kong action flicks. As much as I enjoyed NAKED KILLER, once I'd seen it, I never expected anything else by director Clarence Fok to be very well made. :smile: So I've never been surprised by the subsequent lack of clarity in his films, and this one is no exception.

Though there are a few jokey moments in the film, and the absolutely terrible final scene (this felt like it was from an entirely different film!), I never felt like it was an action comedy as some others have stated. It's a dramatic (to the point of being ridiculous at times) action flick to me.

The acting ranges from way over the top and cheeky to decent. The tone of the cast's performances are certainly all over the place. And as indicated by others, there's a lot of overly theatrical hand-wringing and scenery chewing. As for Donnie's character (which has been heavily criticized in this thread), he was presented as a distinctly unrefined individual that was placed into undercover amid the triads practically right out of the police academy. It was there, among the dangerous, damaged, childish and immoral that he grew into manhood. So to me it made sense that he was an immature, violent, posturing jerk with no subtlety of character what-so-ever. I thought Yen did a good playing a character that wasn't his usual GQ Mr. Smooth type. Instead, his character here is over confident without thinking through the consequences of his (often foolish) actions. In previous roles, many of Yen's characters seemed to always know exactly what they were doing. But here for instance, like in the scene where he jokingly antagonizes Andy On's dangerous character, you get the feeling that this guy's mouth may be writing checks his fists can't cash. Unlike many of you guys, I did feel an intense sense of danger for the character, and felt like he was in some truly life-threatening situations.

Now, as far as the action goes, I was blown away. I think that Yen has continued to improve his on-screen fighting, and has pushed the envelope once again. I did think a few of the "funny" reaction shots of Ken Lo in the first fight were too broad for my tastes, but I enjoyed the eccentric direction that the fight went in. The restaurant fight was terrific, and I enjoyed seeing Yen's character act like the cocky dick (that he clearly was) during it. Though I would've been happy to see a bit more fighting once they were down in the street, before the cops showed up, it didn't bother me that it didn't happen. Also, I thought that Jing Tian was awesome in her first action role! Often non-fighter actresses just look awkward and frail, and I find their fight scenes a chore to sit through. That's what I expected here after reading about her lack of experience. But no, she performed her action very convincingly. I loved her little fights and especially the phenomenal car chase scene/fight with Andy On. That whole sequence was thrilling and had me gasping as I watched it. Bruce Law strikes cinema gold with this, his latest automotive choreography. Brilliant stuff! The end battle did not disappoint me. I loved it! Fast, brutal, imaginative, and full of realistic emotion. I re-watched the last half hour of the film three times in a row. :nerd: Andy On truly does just get better and better in each film. He was top-notch here both action-wise and in his acting. Way to go Andy!

Others have complained that there wasn't enough action. I would've enjoyed more, but I never felt myself thinking "When will there be more action?" as I was suitably entertained the whole time.

So overall I thought it was an okay film with totally killer action. Action which boosts the film's worth considerably for me to a 7.5/10

Now for some specific reactions to my fellow forum members comments...

Under the direction of Clarence Fok, we have a movie were if a character is happy they'll jump up and down while excitedly running circles around the nearest person, if a character is sad they'll sit in the corner alone while crying in intermittent squeaks, and if a character is angry they'll yell while gesticulating wildly. Subtlety is not an option in Fok's repertoire, and it shows in the most painful way possible.

So true. But have any of you ever seen anything by Clarence Fok that would make you expect otherwise? The fun but hugely messy DRAGON FROM RUSSIA (1990)? Or how about the "classic" HER NAME IS CAT (1998)? THE BLACK PANTHER WARRIORS (1993) perhaps? Shit, when I saw this last one in the theater, it was so crazy I thought someone might've spiked my Coke! :xd: It doesn't matter who or what you combine this guy with, you can't expect miracles. I liken him to Silly Putty. You can roll it on the New York Times or the funny pages and it will pick up the images from both. But it's still just Silly Putty, and you'd better not use it as a cornerstone when you want to build something solid and dependable!

The sad thing is 'Special ID' was probably a much better movie in it's original form. Andy On is great as the main protagonist, and he steals the show whenever he's onscreen, making a suitably intimidating foe. However the problem is, no doubt due to Yen's script changes, he's not onscreen nearly half as much as he should be, and what we're left with is Yen strutting about like a tough guy, without even the slightest hint of irony.

I agree, the film would've benefited from having him on-screen as much as Yen. Though I'm a big fan of Collin Chou, and I understand his character's importance to the plot, I could've happily lost most of his stuff in trade for more of Andy On's Sunny.

For the fight scenes, as predicted plenty of MMA infused grappling is used. The opening fight with Ken Lo gives us our introduction of things to come, as Yen spends over half of the fight crawling all over the floor on all fours, while cockily beckoning Lo to come down and join him, and this spells out the problem for the other couple of fight scenes Yen has as well. While they're all pretty good, usually opening with a quick flurry of punches and kicks before going to the ground, the fact that Yen insists on arrogantly taunting his opponent just becomes annoying.

Maybe to viewers that don't practice martial arts (though I know you have One Armed Boxer) some of these scenes might be too practitioner-centric. But I loved the logic he used in his "situations". After seeing that Ken Lo's character was a powerful Thai boxer, Yen switches it up instead of facing the dangerous kicks. He sees that he's outclassed in that regard and uses an opposing tactic. A good rule of thumb when fighting is to never play your opponent's game. If he starts boxing, kick him. If he wants to grapple, then start fighting long-range. Talking shit and angering your opponent can throw them off their game too, causing them to attack emotionally instead of tactically. Plus, I think it was a character trait that rang true for that guy to use in those situation.

The second fight is an all out brawl in a restaurant when On sets his whole gang after Yen, and there's some good stuff in there, but then in the middle of it he flips the finger at a group of them while laying the beatdown on one hapless member, and again all elements of him being in any danger are completely lost.

Hmmm... I didn't feel that way. To me he was obviously scared as he tried to find a way out and call for help, but he put on a "brave face" in front of his attackers. Again, his natural cockiness and intent to agitate his opponents into acting irrationally with anger seemed smart to me. Talking the talk has saved my ass in the past (long ago, wild days of my youth :smile:) in situations where I was definitely in serious, serious trouble. But because I acted intensely confident and vocally berated them, I was able to back down multiple opponents (who could surely have beaten me! :tongue:).

Actress Jiang Tian has a couple of brief scuffles as well, the highlight being her trying to take down On while he's driving, which is part of a car chase sequence against Yen...and in all honesty is actually the most exciting action sequence in the movie, despite it involving two of the most blatant examples of product placement I've ever seen.

I'm glad that at least you dug this sequence brother. I thought this part was crazy cool.

I know I'm thick, but what was the product placement? :smile: For the vehicle's companies?

All in all I agree that a review is just a review, and I hope everyone else who's been looking forward to 'Special ID' just as much as I have will be able to find the enjoyment from it that I couldn't (DIP - I'm looking at you!), but for me at least this sadly won't be getting a rewatch.

Your statement above is one of the reasons that I respect you and that we became friends. No matter how much you dislike something, you never make proclamations like "...and whoever does like it is an idiot!" or any of that bullshit. :wink:

Ironic that TYG 2 might be the better film, lol.

Um, I'm an hour into TYG2 and based on what I've seen so far I'd say... no. No, it's not the better film. Not one bit. :squigglemouth: Sad to say. :sad:

Vincent Zhao was originally to play Sunny, so Andy replaced him. I'm glad to see the "Onimal" finally getting recognition. I still have yet to see "Unbeatable", where he plays a MMA fighter, but he truly has proven with patience and hard work, he can definitely help the new generation of Hong Kong action stars. He's been in the business...what 12, 13 years now?

UNBEATABLE is a cool flick, and On is great as usual. I kind of remember reading somewhere that initially, after a couple of action films, On saying he wasn't going to do any more. He said that he didn't like working out so hard to stay in shape, and that filming on-screen action was just too much work. Does anybody else remember this? Anyway, something changed his tune because he's in phenomenal shape and looks to be working his ass off!

I will say this is a Yen film I enjoyed more than his others and one of his best in that regard. It reminds me of the 90s JC movies where you ffwd to the action scenes because of the convoluted dialogue in between.

Yes, big time!

The car chase is near flawless, imo.

Bruce Law needs a Golden Horse Award for this!

I really don't know what the deal was with the sniper, I presume the character is another victim of Yen's script changes. He literally appears on screen brooding and mumbling away to himself about how he needs to take vengeance for a character who got killed earlier on, then next he's abseiling down a building in a scene which both 'Time & Tide' & 'The Thieves' did countless times better, before exiting the movie less than five minutes later. It was bizarre.

I agree 100% with you on this. The sequence felt so tacked on, as though left over from another film. Though this type of scene has been done better in the films you mentioned, I thought the scene itself was still pretty well done. It just felt like it had no place in this film! :tongue:

I have to admit even I cringed through the final five minutes. Absolutely awful, then just when you thing it can't get any worse, you get the horrendous "Donnie Yen's lessons learnt voice-over", paired with him acting like an excited child onscreen in slow motion. The final shot actually had the audience snickering, which arguably wasn't its intention.

Yup. This part was total drivel. I just did not get it at all. And apparently he spent every second and cent he had on laser tattoo removal? He made that progress in six months? Really? :neutral:

I think it's going to be interesting to monitor this thread after the DVD release. After all of us who've been lucky (well, that's hardly the right word, but you know what I mean) enough to check it out on the cinema, and had our expectations suitably demolished, it'll be interesting to see once the second wave of members check it out on DVD with what will obviously be considerably lower expectations. It wouldn't surprise me if there's a lot of "It wasn't as bad as I was expecting it to be." Unfortunately, I'm never going to be one of those people.

Wow, I'm surprised you disliked it this much. I would definitely suggest you reconsider and check it out again for the action.

I disagree, 'Legend of the Wolf' seems to split people down the middle.

Funny! LEGEND OF THE WOLF is filled with everything I dislike about fight choreo- too quick editing, over-cranking to the point of absurdity, shaky cam, and filmed way too closely. Yet somehow this film made it all work for me. :tongue: I still don't understand why, but I do. Just curious- are you guys fans of it?

I think the problem is MMA grappling choreography is boring. It's exaclty the same reason why the countless Tap-Out movies that used to get churned out a few years ago died a slow death, it's simply not exciting to watch. Donnie deserved all the praise he got with 'SPL' and 'Flash Point', because he managed to incorporate MMA moves while still maintaining the HK action aesthetic, with kicks and punching combinations thrown in seamlessly. 'Special ID' goes too much in the other direction, with so much time spent on the ground it seems closer to those useless Tap-Out movies than it does to a HK action flick.

Perhaps because I studied a grappling-heavy art, seeing these techniques registers differently for me. I was completely engrossed during these parts of the fights, my fists clenched, grimacing at the arm and leg bars, and mentally willing Yen out of the various locks and chokes. My wife was looking at me like I was crazy as I shifted on the couch ooing and ahhhing, and asked "Am I missing something? It just looks like two guys rolling around to me." As much as I wanted to pause the film in the middle of it's action climax to explain why I thought it was great... :neutral::crossedlips::ooh: ... I somehow resisted responding to her queries. :xd: Personally, I thought these bits were just as exhilarating as the upright kicks and punches. Though, not so much in the majority of other MMA films I've seen, where it often falls flat.

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.

In the style I practiced for the longest (Shinowara-Ryu Jujitsu) there are tons of extremely effective kicks made from the ground, as well as leg locks and grapples. It's actually advantageous under the right circumstances, as your opponent has to break their own balance by over-reaching to strike at you, which makes them quite vulnerable to your attacks. To me this bit was exciting as you rarely see that type of fighting in a film. But I guess I understand why it might not have universal appeal.

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 understand. If you haven't been there, you just cannot comprehend a lot of what's going on. It's not like a kick or a punch, which nearly every human has done at one time or another, even if it was just playing. Those movements you understand. If you've ever kicked a ball or punched a friend playfully in the arm, then you "get it" when you see that movement on screen. But if you haven't been in, for instance, a brutal Triangle Choke yourself, then I've no doubt that seeing it may look a bit like a harmless game of Twister. :bigsmile:

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But have any of you ever seen anything by Clarence Fok that would make you expect otherwise? The fun but hugely messy DRAGON FROM RUSSIA (1990)? Or how about the "classic" HER NAME IS CAT (1998)? THE BLACK PANTHER WARRIORS (1993) perhaps? Shit, when I saw this last one in the theater, it was so crazy I thought someone might've spiked my Coke! It doesn't matter who or what you combine this guy with, you can't expect miracles. I liken him to Silly Putty. You can roll it on the New York Times or the funny pages and it will pick up the images from both. But it's still just Silly Putty, and you'd better not use it as a cornerstone when you want to build something solid and dependable!

This is undeniably true, and it may very well be this is just a case of Yen being matched with a poor director. But still, in most fight orientated flicks often the director doesn't matter, for example how many people focus on Gordon Chan's directing style in 'Fist of Legend'? I think for 'Special ID' the whole troublesome production has just resulted in a messy final product, from Vincent Zhao dropping out after filming began to the China censorship issues, everything worked against it and for me it showed.

I like your Silly Putty comparison, but for me personally the expression that most fits Fok's directing capabilities has to be - you can't polish a turd.

Maybe to viewers that don't practice martial arts (though I know you have One Armed Boxer) some of these scenes might be too practitioner-centric.

I understand. If you haven't been there, you just cannot comprehend a lot of what's going on. It's not like a kick or a punch, which nearly every human has done at one time or another, even if it was just playing. Those movements you understand. If you've ever kicked a ball or punched a friend playfully in the arm, then you "get it" when you see that movement on screen. But if you haven't been in, for instance, a brutal Triangle Choke yourself, then I've no doubt that seeing it may look a bit like a harmless game of Twister.

Definitely good points and very applicable, which for me makes me think even more about why he'd choreograph the fight scenes in such a way, knowing that only a very small percentage of people (those with MMA experience) are going to be able to relate to and feel the danger of exactly what's going on.

I know I'm thick, but what was the product placement? For the vehicle's companies?

I've actually already forgotten about a lot of the movie, it's been a while since I watched it so I'm not sure what the second one was I referred to. One of them was definitely when On switches his car into cruising mode though, which I think just means it drives straight by itself, the camera makes a specific point of zooming in on the controls of the car and dashboard monitor when he does it, it was as if the scene temporarily changed into a car commercial.

Your statement above is one of the reasons that I respect you and that we became friends. No matter how much you dislike something, you never make proclamations like "...and whoever does like it is an idiot!" or any of that bullshit.

Cheers KFB, it would be a boring forum if we all like the same thing! Does that mean 'The Raid 2' and 'Ninja 2' are responsible for making this forum less interesting!?:tongue:

On is great as usual. I kind of remember reading somewhere that initially, after a couple of action films, On saying he wasn't going to do any more. He said that he didn't like working out so hard to stay in shape, and that filming on-screen action was just too much work. Does anybody else remember this?

Yeah I do, I think it's in the Dragon Dynasty commentary for the 2007 movie 'Invisible Target' in which he confesses that the script did actually have a fight planned for him to face off against Jaycee Chan. But he admitted that at the time of filming he just wasn't in good enough shape to pull it off, so they ended up resolving their differences with guns instead.

The ironic thing is that since then he's probably become the best all-round screen fighter HK has - 'True Legend', 'Bad Blood', 'Naked Soldier', 'The Lost Bladesman', 'Once Upon a Time in Shanghai' - the guy keeps on nailing action roles, it's been great to see him turn it around.

Wow, I'm surprised you disliked it this much. I would definitely suggest you reconsider and check it out again for the action.

As Meatloaf might have said - I would do anything for you KFB, but I won't do that, no I won't do that.

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Okay, let me weigh in on the film.

IMO it's a big, loud, goofball of a film with fantastic action. I enjoyed it the same way as one of the old '80s-'90s Hong Kong action flicks. Back when we didn't really expect a HK movie to make a whole hell of a lot of sense, but knew we could expect to see some crazy ass action scenes.

As far as the script and directing go, the film is sloppy and (as others have mentioned) sort of feels a bit make-it-up-as-we-go. As I said- like many '80s and '90s Hong Kong action flicks. As much as I enjoyed NAKED KILLER, once I'd seen it, I never expected anything else by director Clarence Fok to be very well made. :smile: So I've never been surprised by the subsequent lack of clarity in his films, and this one is no exception.

Though there are a few jokey moments in the film, and the absolutely terrible final scene (this felt like it was from an entirely different film!), I never felt like it was an action comedy as some others have stated. It's a dramatic (to the point of being ridiculous at times) action flick to me.

The acting ranges from way over the top and cheeky to decent. The tone of the cast's performances are certainly all over the place. And as indicated by others, there's a lot of overly theatrical hand-wringing and scenery chewing. As for Donnie's character (which has been heavily criticized in this thread), he was presented as a distinctly unrefined individual that was placed into undercover amid the triads practically right out of the police academy. It was there, among the dangerous, damaged, childish and immoral that he grew into manhood. So to me it made sense that he was an immature, violent, posturing jerk with no subtlety of character what-so-ever. I thought Yen did a good playing a character that wasn't his usual GQ Mr. Smooth type. Instead, his character here is over confident without thinking through the consequences of his (often foolish) actions. In previous roles, many of Yen's characters seemed to always know exactly what they were doing. But here for instance, like in the scene where he jokingly antagonizes Andy On's dangerous character, you get the feeling that this guy's mouth may be writing checks his fists can't cash. Unlike many of you guys, I did feel an intense sense of danger for the character, and felt like he was in some truly life-threatening situations.

Now, as far as the action goes, I was blown away. I think that Yen has continued to improve his on-screen fighting, and has pushed the envelope once again. I did think a few of the "funny" reaction shots of Ken Lo in the first fight were too broad for my tastes, but I enjoyed the eccentric direction that the fight went in. The restaurant fight was terrific, and I enjoyed seeing Yen's character act like the cocky dick (that he clearly was) during it. Though I would've been happy to see a bit more fighting once they were down in the street, before the cops showed up, it didn't bother me that it didn't happen. Also, I thought that Jing Tian was awesome in her first action role! Often non-fighter actresses just look awkward and frail, and I find their fight scenes a chore to sit through. That's what I expected here after reading about her lack of experience. But no, she performed her action very convincingly. I loved her little fights and especially the phenomenal car chase scene/fight with Andy On. That whole sequence was thrilling and had me gasping as I watched it. Bruce Law strikes cinema gold with this, his latest automotive choreography. Brilliant stuff! The end battle did not disappoint me. I loved it! Fast, brutal, imaginative, and full of realistic emotion. I re-watched the last half hour of the film three times in a row. :nerd: Andy On truly does just get better and better in each film. He was top-notch here both action-wise and in his acting. Way to go Andy!

Others have complained that there wasn't enough action. I would've enjoyed more, but I never felt myself thinking "When will there be more action?" as I was suitably entertained the whole time.

So overall I thought it was an okay film with totally killer action. Action which boosts the film's worth considerably for me to a 7.5/10

Now for some specific reactions to my fellow forum members comments...

So true. But have any of you ever seen anything by Clarence Fok that would make you expect otherwise? The fun but hugely messy DRAGON FROM RUSSIA (1990)? Or how about the "classic" HER NAME IS CAT (1998)? THE BLACK PANTHER WARRIORS (1993) perhaps? Shit, when I saw this last one in the theater, it was so crazy I thought someone might've spiked my Coke! :xd: It doesn't matter who or what you combine this guy with, you can't expect miracles. I liken him to Silly Putty. You can roll it on the New York Times or the funny pages and it will pick up the images from both. But it's still just Silly Putty, and you'd better not use it as a cornerstone when you want to build something solid and dependable!

I agree, the film would've benefited from having him on-screen as much as Yen. Though I'm a big fan of Collin Chou, and I understand his character's importance to the plot, I could've happily lost most of his stuff in trade for more of Andy On's Sunny.

Maybe to viewers that don't practice martial arts (though I know you have One Armed Boxer) some of these scenes might be too practitioner-centric. But I loved the logic he used in his "situations". After seeing that Ken Lo's character was a powerful Thai boxer, Yen switches it up instead of facing the dangerous kicks. He sees that he's outclassed in that regard and uses an opposing tactic. A good rule of thumb when fighting is to never play your opponent's game. If he starts boxing, kick him. If he wants to grapple, then start fighting long-range. Talking shit and angering your opponent can throw them off their game too, causing them to attack emotionally instead of tactically. Plus, I think it was a character trait that rang true for that guy to use in those situation.

Hmmm... I didn't feel that way. To me he was obviously scared as he tried to find a way out and call for help, but he put on a "brave face" in front of his attackers. Again, his natural cockiness and intent to agitate his opponents into acting irrationally with anger seemed smart to me. Talking the talk has saved my ass in the past (long ago, wild days of my youth :smile:) in situations where I was definitely in serious, serious trouble. But because I acted intensely confident and vocally berated them, I was able to back down multiple opponents (who could surely have beaten me! :tongue:).

I'm glad that at least you dug this sequence brother. I thought this part was crazy cool.

I know I'm thick, but what was the product placement? :smile: For the vehicle's companies?

Your statement above is one of the reasons that I respect you and that we became friends. No matter how much you dislike something, you never make proclamations like "...and whoever does like it is an idiot!" or any of that bullshit. :wink:

Um, I'm an hour into TYG2 and based on what I've seen so far I'd say... no. No, it's not the better film. Not one bit. :squigglemouth: Sad to say. :sad:

UNBEATABLE is a cool flick, and On is great as usual. I kind of remember reading somewhere that initially, after a couple of action films, On saying he wasn't going to do any more. He said that he didn't like working out so hard to stay in shape, and that filming on-screen action was just too much work. Does anybody else remember this? Anyway, something changed his tune because he's in phenomenal shape and looks to be working his ass off!

Yes, big time!

Bruce Law needs a Golden Horse Award for this!

I agree 100% with you on this. The sequence felt so tacked on, as though left over from another film. Though this type of scene has been done better in the films you mentioned, I thought the scene itself was still pretty well done. It just felt like it had no place in this film! :tongue:

Yup. This part was total drivel. I just did not get it at all. And apparently he spent every second and cent he had on laser tattoo removal? He made that progress in six months? Really? :neutral:

Wow, I'm surprised you disliked it this much. I would definitely suggest you reconsider and check it out again for the action.

Funny! LEGEND OF THE WOLF is filled with everything I dislike about fight choreo- too quick editing, over-cranking to the point of absurdity, shaky cam, and filmed way too closely. Yet somehow this film made it all work for me. :tongue: I still don't understand why, but I do. Just curious- are you guys fans of it?

Perhaps because I studied a grappling-heavy art, seeing these techniques registers differently for me. I was completely engrossed during these parts of the fights, my fists clenched, grimacing at the arm and leg bars, and mentally willing Yen out of the various locks and chokes. My wife was looking at me like I was crazy as I shifted on the couch ooing and ahhhing, and asked "Am I missing something? It just looks like two guys rolling around to me." As much as I wanted to pause the film in the middle of it's action climax to explain why I thought it was great... :neutral::crossedlips::ooh: ... I somehow resisted responding to her queries. :xd: Personally, I thought these bits were just as exhilarating as the upright kicks and punches. Though, not so much in the majority of other MMA films I've seen, where it often falls flat.

In the style I practiced for the longest (Shinowara-Ryu Jujitsu) there are tons of extremely effective kicks made from the ground, as well as leg locks and grapples. It's actually advantageous under the right circumstances, as your opponent has to break their own balance by over-reaching to strike at you, which makes them quite vulnerable to your attacks. To me this bit was exciting as you rarely see that type of fighting in a film. But I guess I understand why it might not have universal appeal.

I understand. If you haven't been there, you just cannot comprehend a lot of what's going on. It's not like a kick or a punch, which nearly every human has done at one time or another, even if it was just playing. Those movements you understand. If you've ever kicked a ball or punched a friend playfully in the arm, then you "get it" when you see that movement on screen. But if you haven't been in, for instance, a brutal Triangle Choke yourself, then I've no doubt that seeing it may look a bit like a harmless game of Twister. :bigsmile:

Great review and one with in-depth analysis and points! Which reminds me, I need to watch the movie again and make my own review like I promised two months ago.

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Yeah I do, I think it's in the Dragon Dynasty commentary for the 2007 movie 'Invisible Target' in which he confesses that the script did actually have a fight planned for him to face off against Jaycee Chan. But he admitted that at the time of filming he just wasn't in good enough shape to pull it off, so they ended up resolving their differences with guns instead.

The ironic thing is that since then he's probably become the best all-round screen fighter HK has - 'True Legend', 'Bad Blood', 'Naked Soldier', 'The Lost Bladesman', 'Once Upon a Time in Shanghai' - the guy keeps on nailing action roles, it's been great to see him turn it around.

I remember that as well and I admit I was worried as I felt Andy On would be a great screen fighter for the next generation.

I totally agree with you since Invisible Target he has constistantly been fantastic in action roles and being a solid actor as well.

I haven't seen Special ID yet but I hope to see it very soon. I'm now looking more forward to it thanks for this thread both the positive and negative comments. I'm exited for grappling style fight choreography as I too study a grappling based art and that stands out to me when I see it. :tongue:

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Kung Fu Bob, thank you for the input. I love it when a movie has this much of a divided audience, makes it so much fun to watch!

We all await YOUR eventual review dude.

This is undeniably true, and it may very well be this is just a case of Yen being matched with a poor director. But still, in most fight orientated flicks often the director doesn't matter, for example how many people focus on Gordon Chan's directing style in 'Fist of Legend'? I think for 'Special ID' the whole troublesome production has just resulted in a messy final product, from Vincent Zhao dropping out after filming began to the China censorship issues, everything worked against it and for me it showed.

That makes a lot of sense.

I like your Silly Putty comparison, but for me personally the expression that most fits Fok's directing capabilities has to be - you can't polish a turd.

LOL :xd:

Definitely good points and very applicable, which for me makes me think even more about why he'd choreograph the fight scenes in such a way, knowing that only a very small percentage of people (those with MMA experience) are going to be able to relate to and feel the danger of exactly what's going on.

Whenever someone tries to go deeper into expressing something that they're passionate about, whether martial arts, philosophy, whatever, they run the risk of alienating part of their audience. It's got to be a hard line to see when trying to push your vision forward, beyond what people have grown accustomed to, but not too far so that they can no longer relate. In this regard he was 50/50, as you didn't, and I did find it exhilarating.

I've actually already forgotten about a lot of the movie, it's been a while since I watched it so I'm not sure what the second one was I referred to. One of them was definitely when On switches his car into cruising mode though, which I think just means it drives straight by itself, the camera makes a specific point of zooming in on the controls of the car and dashboard monitor when he does it, it was as if the scene temporarily changed into a car commercial.

I just thought they were telling the story by showing that he was putting on some kind of control so he could have his hands free to fight her. I get why you'd say what you said though.

"Product placement" in films doesn't usually bother me because I don't tune into it like a consumer. If someone is drinking Coke in a film I don't think "sell out!" I just think a character is drinking a soda. I constantly see people drinking Coke all the time in reality, so it simply looks normal. I feel like real life is the ultimate "product placement" situation. You can't walk through a mall and not see people on an I-Phone. Not trying to be contrary (who, me? :angel:), but what i find much more distracting is when I'm watching what is basically a real world based film (drama or whatever) and they've made up some fake brand name for something. For instance, the character is talking on an I-Fruit phone or something! That completely pulls my attention out of the film's illusion of reality and is irritating.

You know what might be interesting? Perhaps all films should universally agree to all use the same "fake brand names". Kind of like how in US films the fake phone numbers always begin with 555. Knowing how things work though... soon people would be demanding that stores sell these fake products. :tongue:REPO MAN did it right. Every product was in a plain white wrapper with labels like "BEER" and "CEREAL" printed in the same bold text on each thing. :bigsmile:

Cheers KFB, it would be a boring forum if we all like the same thing! Does that mean 'The Raid 2' and 'Ninja 2' are responsible for making this forum less interesting!?:tongue:

:ooh: Well, there goes my theory. :xd:

Nah, don't worry, there will be people that dislike those too (Damn them all to Hell! :xd:).

Yeah I do, I think it's in the Dragon Dynasty commentary for the 2007 movie 'Invisible Target' in which he confesses that the script did actually have a fight planned for him to face off against Jaycee Chan. But he admitted that at the time of filming he just wasn't in good enough shape to pull it off, so they ended up resolving their differences with guns instead.

That's right! Thank you. Glad he changed his tune. But I can't say I blame him for how he felt. No way that guy was eating anything that tasted good with abs like that! LOL

The ironic thing is that since then he's probably become the best all-round screen fighter HK has - 'True Legend', 'Bad Blood', 'Naked Soldier', 'The Lost Bladesman', 'Once Upon a Time in Shanghai' - the guy keeps on nailing action roles, it's been great to see him turn it around.

You said it.

Haven't seen ONCE UPON A TIME IN SHANGHAI yet (did you?), and haven't succeeded yet at getting more than 15 minutes into NAKED SOLDIER. Don't know... I was initially very excited to see it, but it just felt so thin and terrible (two words that also describe the actress playing the first assassin's fighting abilities) that I fell asleep at the same spot twice. Worth finishing in your opinion?

As Meatloaf might have said - I would do anything for you KFB, but I won't do that, no I won't do that.

LOL Have I mentioned- I suspect that I have- that I can't stand Meatloaf (the performer and the food)? :xd:

Great review and one with in-depth analysis and points! Which reminds me, I need to watch the movie again and make my own review like I promised two months ago.

Thanks! Looking forward to reading it.

I remember that as well and I admit I was worried as I felt Andy On would be a great screen fighter for the next generation.

I totally agree with you since Invisible Target he has constistantly been fantastic in action roles and being a solid actor as well.

The worst part would've been if he weren't around to play me in my future biopic! :bigsmile:

I haven't seen Special ID yet but I hope to see it very soon. I'm now looking more forward to it thanks for this thread both the positive and negative comments. I'm exited for grappling style fight choreography as I too study a grappling based art and that stands out to me when I see it. :tongue:

I was definitely thinking of you when I watched these fights bro. I knew you'd be going crazy over the moves once you saw it.

Has this been picked up by somebody already for a R1 release- I can't remember?

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