Blu-ray Review: “Special ID” Is A Big Disappointment


Review by James McDonald

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.

I usually love Asian martial arts movies. I’ve reviewed quite a lot of them on here and I was excited to have the opportunity to view “Special ID’ as I’d heard quite a lot about the film’s star, Donnie Yen, one critic comparing him to Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Well, based on this one film, I’d have to say that the critic who made that proclamation, either didn’t watch this film the whole way through or just passed it by altogether and gave out a positive blurb in the hopes of having it wind up on the movie’s poster or DVD cover. Guess what? It worked. Unfortunately, the film didn’t.

Mr. Yen plays Dragon Chan, a cop that is so far undercover, he sometimes has trouble distinguishing his fake life as a criminal from his real life as a cop. As he goes deeper undercover, he is partnered with a beautiful but dangerous new detective, Fang Jing (Tian Jing) and naturally, they hate one another but as the film unfolds, they gradually begin to appreciate each other. When one of Chan’s men accidentally finds out that he is a cop, he informs the head of the syndicate, Sunny (Andy On), who begins killing off Chan’s men and when Chan realizes what’s going on, he races to his mother’s house, knowing that Sunny will kill her the first chance he gets.

Mr. Yen may very well be a good martial artist but based on having only seen him in one movie, his fighting capabilities were very underwhelming. When he has his first fight, about ten minutes into the movie, he is awkward and even clumsy and a part of me thought that maybe it was just for show, that he didn’t want the others in the room to know he was really good but by the end of the film, his techniques don’t get any better. I grew up watching Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and Jackie Chan and I have a great appreciation for their own unique styles but Mr. Yen was more akin to a street fighter, who was all over the place with no particular approach or individual characteristic.

The movie itself is by-the-numbers and with the various shootouts, fights and car chases, not one of them is in any way memorable. Even the final fight between Dragon and Sunny, is a huge letdown. In today’s action movies, when the good guy and the bad guy are having a fight to the death at the end of the movie, the good guy usually wins and either kills the bad guy or has him arrested, moreso, it ends with the bad guy’s death. Here though, I felt like the producers couldn’t make up their minds as to how to end the movie and it shows. The movie was very disproportionate throughout and personally, I feel that’s why it failed.

In stores May 13th

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James McDonald
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