Make no mistake, the primary reason most people go to see Flash Point will be for Donnie Yen’s action choreography and on-screen execution of those scenes. And on both counts Flash Point delivers.
Yen has been trying to re-vitalize Hong Kong action films with more contemporary fighting techniques; he discards the wire heavy theatrics of the 80s and 90s for a more realistic approach that incorporates elements of judo, Brazilian jujitsu, Muay Thai as well as more traditional boxing and high kicks – this is what is called mixed martial arts (MMA). He introduced this approach in last year’s SPL and develops it in Flash Point. Yen shows plenty of business acumen in incorporating MMA elements in his films; MMA is the fastest growing sport in the US and already extremely popular in Japan. Flash Point received extensive coverage in English language blogs because of Yen’s reputation overseas and response to his contemporary fight scenes has so far been positive.
But back to the movie. Flash Point features a simple and direct plot. A trio of Vietnamese gangsters led by Ja Ge (Ray Lui) out muscle local gangs with their reckless and violent methods. Jun Ma’s (Donnie Yen) partner Wilson (Louis Koo) is an undercover agent close to Ja, and when Ja is caught and put to trial, his gang decides to kill all the witnesses. They soon discover that Wilson is a cop and proceed to threaten him by kidnapping his pregnant girlfriend. With major witnesses dead, Ja gets off easy – this leads Jun to take matters into his own hands, confronting Ja’s brother Tony (Collin Chau) in a bloody battle.
I felt Flash Point’s dramatic elements were superior to the heavy handed SPL. The action doesn’t really kick in till the second half of the film, but this didn’t pose as a problem for me as I sort of liked the way the plot builds towards a showdown at the end. There are two major action scenes – Yen vs Xing Yu (he was in Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu) and Yen vs Collin Chau (he played Seraph in Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions). The fight with Xing Yu involved more punches and kicks while the climatic duel with Collin Chau is a full fledged MMA fight. I saw Muay Thai knee and elbow strikes, straight armbars, leg locks, toe holds, rear naked chokes, German supplexs and triangle leg locks!!
This is by far the best action film I have seen in a while. Highly recommended for MMA fans!