Hong Kong, 2007, 88 min
This fabulous Hong Kong action film, which enjoyed a limited theatrical release in the U.S. this past March, came out on DVD earlier this week. Flash Point again united director Wilson Yip and actor Donnie Yen, whose previous work together includes 2006's Dragon Tiger Gate and 2005's Kill Zone (a.k.a. SPL).
Yen (who also produced and served as Action Director) stars as Jun Ma, a "righteous" detective in the Serious Crimes Unit. He's a tough-as-nails type who has no problem laying a heavy dose of whoop-ass on the bad guys. His employment of excessive violence has resulted in numerous complaints. His department superiors are none too happy about his methods, though they can't deny the results achieved.
The film is set in 1997, just before the handover of Hong Kong to the Mainland. In my original review I speculated that this was done to avoid suggesting that police would use such techniques in Communist China. In the available commentary (more on that later), Donnie Yen pretty much confirms this, while adding that the film also wanted to avoid suggesting that such criminal activity could even exist in Hong Kong after the turnover.
Donnie Yen (left) and Louis Koo face off in a night club
Wilson (Louis Koo) is an undercover cop who has infiltrated a gang led by three vicious Vietnamese brothers. When eldest brother Archer Sin (Lui Leung-wai) is arrested, Tony (Collin Chou), the middle brother, and Tiger (Xing Yu), the youngest, go on a rampage of intimidation, kidnapping and murder to secure Archer's release.
The fighting scenes are terrific. The film culminates in over fifteen minutes of confrontation that starts out with weapons and ends with a one-on-one extended fight sequence between detective Ma (Yen) and Tony (Chou). If this doesn't satisfy your "jones" for action, I don't know what will.
First off, the feature length commentary is terrific. It's like sitting in a screening room with Yen and Bey Logan, who's done numerous other commentaries on Dragon Dynasty releases and who is incredibly knowledgeable. You'll not only learn about the film, but also about the ongoing hardship of filming in Hong Kong, such as the difficulty of obtaining street permits and the need to shoot around actors' schedules on other projects that are filming simultaneously. You definitely should check this out when you're ready for a second viewing of the film.