Special ID (2013) Movie Review

Special Id Film PosterSpecial ID

  • Rating – Unrated
  • October 2013
  • Director – Clarence Fok Yiu-leung
  • Donnie Yen – Chan Chi-lung
  • Tian Jing – Fang Jing
  • Collin Chou – Cheung Mo-Hung
  • Ronald Cheng – Captain Cheung King-Kun
I Didn’t Ask You to Mess Up Everywhere

If you’re an avid watcher of Asian cinema, you know that this film had it’s problems before coming to fruition. Long story short, in the beginning there was going to be an epic fight between Donnie Yen (Ip Man) and Vincent Zhao (True Legend) and every martial art nerd wet their pants. After many changes to the script, Zhao decided to back away from his project, because of the direction of his character. He was later replaced by Andy On (Unbeatable) and Colin Chou (Matrix Reloaded) signed up. Even though Yen and Chou fought in Flashpoint, it’s still an interesting fight mix adding On into it. Let’s see if this trio will make it “special”. Sounds like we’re watching porn, if you say the last sentence out loud, but yes let’s get on with the review.

Yen kicking

If You Want to Play, I’ll Play

Chan Chi-Lung (Yen) is an undercover cop ready to live a normal life, but has to bring in drug lord Cheung Mo-Hung (Chou) that he is working for. Cheung suspects Lo Chi-Wai (On) for killing and stealing money from one of his men. Chan realizes that Lo was a person he took under his wing and mentored him in the underworld. He lost touch when Lo went to America and made it big. Cheung tells Chan to find out what he can about Lo.

When Chan meets up Lo and his gang, a sniper kills one of Lo’s men. Lo suspects it was Chan. Is Chan’s cover blown? Did Cheung do it? Was it the police with an itchy trigger finger?

Yen and On fighting
Do You Know What’s Going on Here

The story was pretty formulaic, but it was just executed poorly. It could have been a gritty crime drama like SPL or a Departed with martial arts, but nope. The big cause of this was the constant shift of the tone of the film. Every time it featured Yen and Tian it shifts to a romantic goofy comedy. Even the musical score shifts to like a happy elevator music when this happens. There are moments where it is meant to be serious but script keeps it from being dramatic.

Yen was alright, but I think the script limited. I’ve seen him do much better in Ip Man and SPL. Chou wasn’t bad as a crime lord. He seemed convincing enough. I espcially, liked how he was cutting Chi-Lung’s mom’s hair, using it as a subtle threat if you mess with him, he will hurt your family. Unfortunately, Chou has maybe 20 seconds of fighting and it’s not against Yen. On held his own as the main villain and was really cut for his role. He showed how brutal he can be with his martial art skills and attitude on climbing the syndicate later. The star to watch out for is Jian, not for acting, but for doing her stunts, more on that later.

Pacing wasn’t the problem it’s just the run of the mill action. Just a bunch of cannon fodder for Yen to show off his skills, but it was pretty tame compared to his other films. No triple jump kicks or no throwing 10 punches in 3 seconds. Even the final fight between On and Yen was underwhelming for two martial art super stars. It just looked liked a warm up match with each of them doing one flying kick.

There was one memorable scene and it involved Jian in a car chase. It was insane when she was being dragged through the city by On’s car, while she was hanging onto dear life. Then she climbed into passenger seat and started fighting On while he was driving. Her acting was ok, but she does convince me that she can star in her own action movie.

Fang hanging onto On's car
This is Your Level

Special ID is another miss for Yen. Weak script, confusing tone changes during the movie, and medicore action for martial art stars. Jian is one to look out for, but the scene where she shines is not worth the price of admission. The trailer makes it look an intense crime drama, but it’s far from it and you should stay far from it. If anything it’s one of those movies you can in the background while doing something else.

Random Info I got from this File:
  • Shooting an airsoft gun will make you feel better emotional after killing your first bad guy
  • A car will conveniently appear when jumping down a story to catch the bad guy
  • If you are getting beat, lie on the ground, it will confuse your opponent
Other Files to check:
  • The Departed
  • SPL
  • Internal Affairs
File Status: 4 out of 10
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Graphic designer by day, and movie blogger whenever I can. Been watching films in the 80s and never lost the love for it. Started Movie Case Files in 2012, and kept writing random reviews ever since. Besides movies, I like watching UFC, collecting retro video games, spending time with the wife, and bacon.

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