If you have ever had any interest in either Donnie Yen or martial-arts, Flash Point will impress you in both departments. Sure the story is about as bland and cookie-cutter as action movie plots can get, but you're here to see one thing and one thing only: Donnie Yen beatin' some ass.
Serving as a prequel-of-sorts to the much-loved S.P.L., Flash Point takes us to 1997; a time where Hong Kong was still under British rule. Why this point is made in the movie I'll never know, but I digress. Inspector Ma (Donnie Yen) is working on a case with his undercover partner Wilson (Louis Koo, aka: the man with the tan) that involves three bad Vietnamese dudes. Archer (Ray Lui) is head of the gang, and his younger and bigger brother Tiger (Xing Yu), and co-hort Tony (Collin Chou) manage to look over the illegal shenanigans while Archer faces a bit of trouble with the authorities. Wilson has a lot of info on the gang's activities and is ready to testify against Archer, because everyday they seem to grow more and more suspicious of Wilson's behavior. However, everything can't always go as plan (nor would we want them to) and Wilson's cover is blown. Already having been reprimanded by his superiors for excessive behavior and force, Inspector Ma is ready to protect his partner anyway he can. When Archer's thugs kidnap Wilson's girlfriend (Fan Bing-Bing), Wilson finds himself unwilling to testify against Archer in hopes that his girlfriend's life will be spared. This doesn't fly with Ma, so he takes action into his own hands in order to help his friends and put Archer and his boys away once and for all.
As noted earlier, the story is about as run-of-the-mill as you can get, but in all honesty it's the perfect instigator for getting Ma's character fueled with enough anger to show us what he's made of. First off, let me say that I love Donnie Yen's style and after some serious discussion, me and a few others believe he could truly be the one to save Hong Kong cinema as we used to know it. No one is doing martial-arts as aggressive, realistic and as well choreographed as Donnie Yen. In Flash Point, the grappling-style we saw him incorporate into the action of S.P.L. is still here and it produces some truly jaw-dropping, holy-sh!t moments. The final act with Ma squaring off against Tony is one of the best fight scenes I've ever seen...I kid you not. Not to discredit the others involved, but Donnie is the centerpiece of the film and everyone else is their simply to support him in his beat-down quest. Collin Chou displays some excellent fighting skills, and let's be honest...anyone that can hang with Donnie has to have excellent skills.
He proved he could make a modern movie with mind-blowing action in S.P.L., and he once again shows us that it wasn't a fluke with Flash Point. I can only guess that as he continues to direct and choreograph action scenes in future projects that it will only get better. How it can get any better than this probably depends on the story, but overall I'd still say Flash Point is a success and if you love intense and innovative martial-arts, you'll see it as soon as possible. (Lee)
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