Hooray for Donnie ! Having taken on the task of reviving fu/action films in HK, this is a more than worthy effort.
Reviewer Score: 9
Better than the much-lauded SPL and only slightly behind the stunning Dragon Tiger Gate, Flash Point is everything a good HK actioner should be - well-paced, gory, full of smouldering stares, and of course plenty of high-standard fu and biffo.
The opening sequence promises much and it excites, but the pace eases off a bit. Then it looks like Donnie is becoming a bit introspective. Could this be a big let-down ? Things do get a little confusing, when we are told the action starts in early 1997 (pre-handover), but these dips in the pace are necessary rest-breaks from the slam-bang action sequences, which are both thrilling and exhausting to watch. And they even contain some character development, and worthy performances from the support cast, especially the perennial Kent Cheng.
Nothing all that unusual about the story. Donnie plays Inspector Ma, a kind-of Dirty Harry on serious steroids. I found the performances of Donnie and Louis convincing, even if a bit shallow. The baddies, led by Ngai Sing, were thoroughly despicable.
Unusually for recent HK actioners, this one has quite a lot of rural locations, and the cinematography is gorgeous. And speaking of gorgeous, Fan Bing Bing is a joy to behold. I hope this radiant actress is given bigger roles in future, and is given more to do. Although not exactly in the background, her character here is a bit on the passive side.
And something that is often overlooked - the background music sets the tone perfectly, and helps very much to get the heart racing at the appropriate times.
Some nit-picks :
Some of the fight scenes stretch credibility way past breaking point, especially the climatic scene. Any one of those kicks to the head would be lethal to any normal human. It is impossible to believe that even a seasoned tough guy could keep getting up after such persistent punishment. Mind you, this is not unusual for HK actioners.
The out-takes alongside the closing credits, while interesting, do distract from the serious and even solemn tone of the movie.
But don't let these distract you. If you love action, and can handle a bit of gore, then this one is a heart-pumping winner. Strongly recommended.