Hong Kong action movies especially the ones from the Eighties and Nineties I always had a special love for. No matter how bad the characterization, no matter how ridiculous the plot, the action was always top notch and impressive. And no matter how much I want to they will never be made like they were back then. Sure other film makers around the world have discovered the greatness of the Hong Kong action genre and tried to bring that kind of film making back like in South Korea and Thailand and some really coming close for example Ong Bak. Then there was Donnie Yen, who has been in the industry for a long time but seems to manage to evolve himself as a martial artist and film maker. He always delivers on the action front. Next to Tom Yung Goong 2 I was looking forward to some grade A martial arts action coming from him. Now Tom Yung Goong 2 went where it should have never gone and made a parody of their own work. Totally disappointing. So how does Special ID fare?
For fans of Flashpoint and SPL, I have to tell you that Special ID is less serious or sharp when it comes to intrigue or the crime elements. This is a simpler and more basic and maybe even more human approach. While the action is top notch there is less of it than you might have expected and there is more focus on the characters and how they interact with each other. I actually had fun watching this and did not mind that overall it was less serious. The difference in approach whether intended or not was very welcome. Special ID offered just enough for me to disagree with people who say it is bad or not impressive. I am afraid they don't know what they are talking about. The little action that is in here is awesome. Donnie Yen is in form and shows this. What more do you want? Ok, I admit I also was hoping for a little more action. But then I realized when I was watching this I never really got bored. In enjoyed the sights and the little scenes with comic relief. It never felt out of place since the whole tone was not serious to begin with. Was I happy with Andy On as the main villain and Colin Chou more behind the curtains? No, I was not. Andy On was adequate but seriously out gunned in the acting department. Besides being a great martial artist Colin Chou has what it takes to come of as menacing without fighting or showing cruelty. Andy On still has a long way to go. Still it doesn't matter much because Donnie Yen at least for me was stealing every scene he was in. And it was clear that he was having fun. Don't expect a next Flashpoint and you will be able to enjoy Special ID since it is good fun!