Donnie was once in danger of being cast as a hot-headed cop. Well, hes dusted off that persona for Special ID, and it works pretty well. Hes in deep cover as a triad, and his target is a punk he helped years ago who is now seriously on the make.
Reviewer Score: 8
But who cares about the story ? What about the fight scenes ? With Donnie as star and choreographer, this is never in doubt. He sets the bar high with the opening scene, as a triad having to win at mahjong to secure the release of three punks under his care. Ken Lo, now seriously wrinkly, proves hes still got it by being bounced around the room by Donnie, then doing the 160 degree splits.
The rise in mainland co-productions means an obligatory partnership with the Chinese police, in this case an impressive fighting fem, with whom Donnie has a number of friendly chats, and spars a bit as well.
The one disappointment was Ngai Sing (now Collin Chou) only leers a bit. One of HKs greatest kicking badasses doesnt fight. Why, Donnie, why ?
Trite though the plot is, the non-fighting sequences move along at a comfortable pace and do help make sense of the fight scenes, which are well up to Donnies high standards. Given how gory some of the fighting is, there is a surprisingly low body count in Special ID. Plenty of gashes and injuries though, and Im guessing a fairly liberal use of mercurochrome. Though the tone is generally serious, there are plenty of laughs in the fight choreography.
Damn fine martial arts action, and highly entertaining.