Newest Reviews
Storm Boy
Storm Boy
Frozen II
White Sheik, The
Whalebone Box, The
Hunt, The
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Battling Butler
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
Treasure at the Mill
Crime Wave
Terminator: Dark Fate
Antonio Gaudi
Newest Articles
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
  Flashpoint don't do as Donnie does
Year: 2007
Director: Wilson Yip Wai-Shun
Stars: Donnie Yen, Louis Koo, Collin Chou, Ray Lui, Xing Yu, Fan Bingbing, Kent Cheng, Xu Qing, Ben Lam, Ha Ping
Genre: Action, Thriller, Martial ArtsBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: Hard-bitten, Hong Kong cop Jun Ma (Donnie Yen) is out to nail a vicious, drug-smuggling gang headed by three Vietnamese brothers: Tiger (Ray Lui), Tony (Collin Chou) and Archer (Xing Yu). While they tighten their grip over the drugs trade, he baits his trap with the aid of Wilson (Louis Koo), an undercover cop who infiltrates the gang and manages to win their trust. However, Ma’s recklessness leads to the rookie’s cover being blown and the fallout from the failed sting brings violent repercussions for his team and Wilson’s girlfriend, Judy (Fan Bingbing).

Following S.P.L (2005) and Dragon Tiger Gate (2007), this marks the third collaboration between director Wilson Yip Wai-Shun and producer/fight choreographer/star Donnie Yen. Movies like Flashpoint were dime a dozen twenty years ago, but the relative paucity of fast-paced action-thrillers amidst current Hong Kong cinema has caused some to over-praise this mild effort. Yip Wai-Shun’s first major splash in cult movie circles was the inventive horror-comedy, Bio Zombie (1998). In the ten years since, his films have grown progressively slicker, with the comic book superheroics of Dragon Tiger Gate proving a particular standout. Flashpoint upholds his high production values, but an uneven pace and uncertain approach towards an ambivalent hero means it lacks the zest of the truly great HK action-thrillers.

It opens in a strobe-lit nightclub where flashily dressed triad thugs snort coke, talk trash and flirt with pretty party girls. A caption swiftly informs us the film is set before the 1997 handover, because nothing like this goes on under Chinese control, right? “Have I ever busted the wrong guy?” Jun Ma muses in an interview. “I’ll leave the judge to answer that. My duty is to catch thieves.” His take-no-prisoners arrogance leaves him hard to warm to, although Yip Wai-Shun includes an amusing scene that shows Ma takes the same no-compromise stance when rehearsing the police brass band. Donnie Yen’s acting has improved since his early career as a high kicking blank slate, but remains more effective when playing the villain. As a leading man he has two settings: pensive or pissed off. His fighting skills were never in doubt and the adrenalin-pumping fight sequences are fast and furious in a way not seen since the mid-nineties. Elsewhere, Louis Koo brings some pathos to his role as the paranoid undercover cop. Talented mainland star Fan Bingbing (rather slumming it here) is initially a sexier, more vivacious presence than stock female characters in the gangster genre, but once Judy is hospitalised she falls back on squealing clichés.

Yip Wai-Shun draws interesting parallels between cops and gangsters’ attitudes towards family (both hero and villain are kind to their mothers), but a lack of focus means the plot lacks urgency and fails to grip. Things pick up considerably once Wilson’s cover is blown, and blackmail, assassination attempts, and recriminations push Ma so far over the edge he bashes child murderer Archer to a bloody pulp. Yip Wai-Shun throws in some engaging eccentricities: an explosive device concealed in a roast chicken, a salsa dancing convict, a car chase where Tiger flees the cops with his elderly mother in tow. Yen’s climactic, rabid, out of control brawl with Collin Chou is tasty, bone crunching, kung fu mayhem, but don’t be surprised if you crave something more substantial afterwards. Cine-Asia’s 2-disc special edition includes a making of feature, a documentary exploring Yen’s use of the Mixed Martial Arts fighting style pioneered by Bruce Lee, TV spots and a theatrical trailer (featuring different dialogue and a brighter transfer), plus interviews with Wilson Yip and his cast - of whom Collin Chou proves the most affable and engaging.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 3011 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (1)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton


Last Updated: