Combustible Celluloid
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With: Donnie Yen, Louis Koo, Fan Bing-Bing, Collin Chou, Ray Lui, Kent Cheng, Xing Yu, Lam Kwok-Bun, Law Lan, Ha Ping, Timmy Hung Tin-Ming, Tony Ho Wah-Chiu, Austin Wai Tin-Chi, Ai Wai
Written by: Szeto Kam-Yuen, Nicholl Tang
Directed by: Wilson Yip
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence and brutal martial arts action
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin with English subtitles
Running Time: 90
Date: 07/26/2007

Flash Point (2008)

3 Stars (out of 4)

'Point' of Disorder

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Imported from Hong Kong by the Weinstein Company, Flash Point is set before the 1997 handover to China. The story begins as Inspector Ma (Donnie Yen, from Iron Monkey) gets a good tongue lashing for his outlandish use of violence while nabbing suspects (one of his victims even lost his sense of smell). So Ma keeps a low profile while his partner Wilson (Louis Koo) works undercover, having infiltrated a gang of evil brothers, Archer (Ray Lui), Tony (Collin Chou), and Tiger (Xing Yu).

Eventually Wilson is found out, his cute girlfriend (Fan Bing-Bing) is kidnapped, and -- finally -- with barely a half-hour left to go, Donnie Yen does his thing. Directed by Wilson Yip, this last section is the real thing, with Donnie running, jumping, flipping and punching at full force. And, of course, in Hong Kong, they photograph the action clearly, smoothly and snappily so that we in the audience can see everything.

But Yip and Yen keep something up their sleeve; as ridiculous as the movie's first hour seems, they ratchet things up a notch when a bad guy snatches a little girl, uses her as a shield, then literally throws her away. This shocking bit of violence elevates Yen's obsessive chasing to new heights; it's a mean trick, but it works, and we're in there, throwing every punch along with Yen. (Yen choreographed the action sequences.)

The Weinsteins continue to gather good karma with another in an excellent series of Hong Kong/martial arts DVDs, labeled "Dragon Dynasty." The two-disc Flash Point comes with a commentary track by Donnie Yen (accompanied by screenwriter/expert Bey Logan). Disc two comes with tons of featurettes, interviews, trailers, etc. The film is available dubbed into English or in its original Cantonese. In 2012, a Blu-Ray was released.

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