Note: Check me out as the "Asian Movie Enthusiast" on YouTube, where I review tons of Asian movies. You really have to wonder how a film like "Special ID" (2013) gets an average IMDb rating of 5.3 out of 10 while something like "The Hobbit" (2012) gets an 8.0. People have truly lost their sense of priorities while watching action films. Read some reviews of "Special ID" and you'll see all kinds of petty criticisms, from language dialects to overly decorated restaurants! Here's a newsflash for you. For an action film to satisfy, it needs a minimum of two things: good action and brisk pacing. Guess what. "Special ID" easily meets this standard and in fact surpasses it with some truly memorable action sequences. Sure, the script is boilerplate and basic (even a bit clumsy in spots), but that doesn't automatically tank the enjoyability of a film that focuses first and foremost on the action anyways. A cop (Donnie Yen) and his team of comrades go undercover in one of China's most ruthless underworld organizations to stop a gang leader. Andy On plays a good villain, while Tian Jing is a likable female lead. The action in this film is spaced out nicely, which assists the pacing quite well. The fight choreography is less "showy", opting to reflect a realistic, scrappy form of fist-fighting with some mixed martial arts peppered in. The finale lasts a whopping 15 minutes and showcases a suspenseful car chase. This actioner definitely satisfies. The director here is Clarence Fok, who has a hit or miss filmography but has given us some fun movies in the past – "The Iceman Cometh" (1989) and "Black Panther Warriors" (1994) being two fairly brainless crowd-pleasers that stand out. He has also contributed some truly riveting dramas. For example, his crime drama "Century of the Dragon" (1999) is one of the best triad films of the past 15 years. Overall, the direction in "Special ID" is solid during the action, with some very cool sweeping shots during the lengthy car chase. Unfortunately, Clarence should have vetoed some of the scoring choices in "Special ID" because the background music got intrusive at times. The sound design of this film feels amateurish and cheap early on, but get better as it progresses. This shouldn't be too much of a problem for fans of old school Hong Kong action flicks from the 80s and 90s, which many times had consistently poor production values but nevertheless succeeded at providing pure entertainment value. At the very least, "Special ID" looks nice while it gives the viewers its fist-to-face goodies.
Action / Crime
Action / Crime
A cop goes undercover in a ruthless underworld organization to stop a gang leader, only to put himself in great danger after being exposed by his former protégé and best friend.
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October 15, 2019