Actors: Donnie Yen, Andy On, Collin Chou, Zhang Hanyu
Director: Clarence Fok Yiu-leung
Format: Dolby, NTSC, THX, Widescreen
Language: Mandarin Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Well Go USA
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Run Time: 99 minutes
Judged by action sequences alone, Special ID has some memorable moments that make it worth recommending. It is just unfortunate that the rest of the film couldn’t live up to the same expectations. Uneven is the best way to describe this latest Donnie Yen vehicle, almost as if filmmaking and plot were secondary to the opportunity to highlight Yen’s martial arts abilities. They are still impressive, though this is far from his best film, even in that regard. Still, action fans will appreciate a few of the action sequences enough to make the rest of the sloppily constructed film worthwhile.
Taking the undercover cop narrative a step further, Donnie Yen plays a cop named Detective Chen Zilong, a man so deep undercover that he has tattoos and has spent more years living as his alias than as an actual police officer. When his undercover operation is threatened from several predictable and unimportant plot twists, Chen is forced to pair up with a brave and experienced female cop (Jing Tian). More things happen and it leads to additional reasons for Yen to fight a bunch of guys.
Although you could say that this film shares the same storyline as The Raid 2, it really wouldn’t be fair mentioning that film in the same sentence as Special ID. There are moments of enjoyable escapism amongst some of these scenes of action, but this film lacks any of the creative inspiration seen in The Raid 2, even if some of the photography has a more polished look. This is all familiar territory, and it feels like filmmaking churned out on a production line.
The Blu-ray release includes a making-of featurette and a trailer.
Entertainment Value: 8/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10
Historical Significance: 4/10
Special Features: 3.5/10