Starring Donnie Yen, Collin Chou, Louis Koo, Xing Yu, Fan Bing Bing
Fight Choreography by Donnie Yen
Directed by Wilson Yip
Killzone finally showed that Donnie Yen was ready to take that next step up in the HK martial arts film hierarchy to have his name placed up there with Jackie Chan and Jet Li, thanks to a fantastic fight in that film with Jacky Wu Jing and Sammo Hung. Wilson Yip has a good camera eye for showcasing martial arts moves, so of course the two would team up again for a follow up. The question was whether or not they could achieve the same success again.
*There is something many may not know about the film. In many respects it is loosely a prequel to Killzone. What happened was Sammo Hung had an idea of what he wanted it to be, and Donnie Yen and Wilson Yip had a different idea. Sammo took his idea and made Fatal Move, while Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen took their idea and with it we have Flashpoint.
The film follows Detective Ma (Yen) and his team, who look to bust a drug and weapon smuggling ring gang led by the notorious Tony (Chou), his brother, and their crazy enforcer Tiger (Yu). What Tony doesn’t know is that one of his guys, Wilson (Koo) is actually an undercover cop, and is also Ma’s partner. Wilson is having doubts about what he’s doing, and wants to get out, but after Tony gets retribution on a former associate, things start to go downhill fast as Tony’s brother is picked up by the police, and Tony suspects an inside man in their group, and immediately accuses Wilson, and of course he’s right, and Wilson escapes with his life. Now Tony knows who he is, and will use anything he can to get Wilson to acquit his brother on the witness stand. Even if that means killing cops and even kidnapping Wilson’s girlfriend Julie (Bing bing), and Ma will have a fight to the finish to get revenge for his fallen team mates and save his friend’s life and any happiness Wilson may have left…
Flashpoint is a balls out great “ kung-fu cops” film, with enough tension as the story wisely spends as much time following Wilson’s plight as it does Ma’s. The story itself is taunt and rarely lets up, and it’s the stars of the film that have as much, if not more to do with this than the story. Donnie Yen plays Ma pretty much as he did in Killzone, as in Ma doesn’t have much of a personality except that he’s a dedicated cop who suffers from too much red tape, but that’s okay, because Louis Koo really carries the film as Wilson. He plays him perfectly as a man whose chosen profession leads to doubt as he remains undercover for far too long, and one look at Koo’s expressions and you can literally feel the danger closing in on Wilson just as he feels it. As the instigator of this danger Collin Chou hits a home run as Tony, one part fearless nut job and one part criminal mastermind, you always feel the threat of danger when Tony is on screen. It kills me that all Collin Chou could get from a hollywood film was playing Seraph in the Matrix films (He would’ve made a great Neo, or even Agent Smith). Xing Yu also does a good job as Tiger, Tony’s insane right hand man, one who isn’t afraid to kill cops or endanger children to meet his own ends.
The fight choreography and stunts are an evolution of what Donnie Yen started with Killzone, which is to take the popular martial arts and movements of the time, in this case mixed martial arts and Parkour, and to merge them with kung fu fight choreography, and in this film it works brilliantly, particularly the final fight between Chou and Yen, which is is well choreographed and looks more natural and brutal than you would see in many HK kung fu films made today. Without a doubt it’s one of the greatest martial arts fight scenes ever captured on film. Yip does a great job once again making sure the camera is in the best places to capture the fights, and the editing put it together flawlessly.
Flashpoint is a fun cops and robbers film that really shows that Donnie Yen is here to stay, and from the acting to the excellent production values and the fantastic final fight, this is marital arts film that will have you rewinding the fight scenes over and over.
(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best)
CHOREOGRAPHY: (10) The majority of this grade goes to the final fight, which Chou and Yen pull off flawlessly. You’ll be burning a hole in your DVD player watching this scene again and again. Yen has successfully melded mixed martial arts and kung fu on screen.
STUNTWORK: (8) Great work done here by all involved, and Donnie Yen pulls off some really good parkour sequences.
STAR POWER: (9) Donnie Yen’s star has gone into the stratosphere, and Collin Chou is rising as well, and Louis Koo and Fan Bing Bing carry the emotional weight of the film. Xing Yu continues to shine as he did in Kung Fu Hustle and Ip Man.
FINAL GRADE: (9) A great film that continues to showcase Donnie Yen’s excellent fight choreography and moves, and all of the actors shine in a snap cracker of a crime film. Not to be missed.