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Special ID

Donnie Yen as Chan in Clarence Fok's Special ID. [Photo: Well Go USA]

Special ID 2 out of 4 star2-0

This routine Hong Kong actioner stars Donnie Yen as an undercover cop deeply embedded within a violent gang on the verge of turf warfare. With the walls quickly closing in around him, Chan (Yen) struggles to shield his true identity as, naturally, the lives of his loved ones and his prospective chance at a normal life are threatened. The character's psychology, specifically his commitment to his undercover work, is lazily defined, as director Clarence Fok doesn't convincingly address the toll this extreme version of performance art has had on the man (Chan is seemingly unfazed by the violence he's endured through his taxing police work). The relationship between the tattoo-covered Chan and the world he inhabits speaks to the film's struggle with tone, in which loose scenes of requisite banter are interrupted by vicious, extended acts of brutality. The audience becomes conditioned to expect the action a few moves before the film makes them, which quickly renders the story tedious. Special ID as a whole riffs in near-identical fashion on action sequences from other movies. Unnervingly protracted, the film's climax showcases Chan's partner, Fang Jing (Jing Tian), hanging onto a car during a breakneck chase, and culminates in a wordless bout between Chan and antagonist Sunny (Andy On). With a heavy reliance on practical effects and elaborate stunt work, the sequence is technically impressive enough that it distracts from its obvious debts to Michelle Yeoh's climactic pursuit of villains from Supercop and the infamous back-alley brawl from They Live, respectively.

Director(s): Clarence Fok Screenwriter(s): Clarence Fok Cast: Donnie Yen, Jing Tian, Andy On, Paw Hee-Ching, Zhang Hanyu, Ronald Cheng Distributor: Well Go USA Runtime: 99 min Rating: R Year: 2013

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