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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: Flash Point

December 11, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Flash Point

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #579: Flash Point

Donnie Yen December: Week 1

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never had to jump from one building’s roof to another building’s roof in order to continue the pursuit of a bad guy that just did bad guy things, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number five hundred and seventy-nine, Donnie Yen December begins with the 2007 action flick Flash Point.

Flash Point


Flash Point, directed by Wilson Yip (appearing under the name Yip Wai Shun) is an oddly compelling Hong Kong action crime flick. The story isn’t very original and it’s hard to tell what, exactly, is going on for a good part of the time, but the badass charisma of star Donnie Yen and the awesome action sequences Yen creates for the screen (Yen is listed in the credits as the movie’s action director) more than make up for the movie’s shortcomings.

So Donnie Yen stars as Ma Jun, a badass inspector for the Hong Kong police who likes to dole out justice. Ma has issues with people who criticize cops because they just don’t understand how important doling out justice and beating the shit out of bad guys is to him and the general safety of the public. When we meet Ma he’s working a case with fellow officer Wilson (Louis Koo), who is undercover inside a big deal criminal gang operated by a guy named Tony (Collin Chou) and Archer (Ray Lui, listed as Lui Leung Wai). Ma and Wilson seem to have a weird relationship where sometimes they’re the best of friends and sometimes they’re at one another’s throats. Ma’s and Wilson’s boss, Inspector Wong (Kent Cheng), tries to keep his officers in line and on task, but even he can’t keep Ma in check sometimes.

In the course of taking down the big hooha criminal gang (I’m not entirely sure what the gang is involved in beyond the general “they’re criminals and criminals are engaged in crime” kind of deal), Wilson also has an ongoing relationship with a woman named Judy (Bingbing Fan, appearing as Fan Bing Bing). Judy isn’t a fan of Wilson’s job as she knows how dangerous it is, but she can’t keep him from doing it. Wilson is dedicated to his job and wants to see the bad guys go down, too. Wilson probably isn’t as fanatical about taking down the bad guys as Ma, but then I’d imagine most cops aren’t as fanatical about it. Ma is consumed with the need to destroy the bad guys. That need just radiates off of him.

So then some stuff happens, general mayhem ensues, the cops move in, a bunch of people die, and Archer is arrested. Tony, his henchman Tiger (Xing Yu), and Wilson run off to a gang hideout to grab enough money to get themselves out of the country. In the course of doing this, Tony becomes suspicious of Wilson and believes that he may be a cop. As they escape, Tony demands to see Wilson’s phone and he calls the last number Wilson interacted with. And it’s at that point that Tony figures out that his suspicions were correct, that Wilson is a cop, and that Wilson is likely the reason Archer was picked up. Wilson tries to get away, but Tony hits him with his car, injuring him badly.

So then some more stuff happens, Wilson gets out of the hospital, and Archer schemes to get out of jail. Tony knows what to do, though. As Wilson recuperates, Tony and the remaining members of the gang start offing witnesses. The gang then goes right at the cops, looking to take out Wilson, Judy, and anyone else who gets in their way. The gang almost succeeds, using a bomb stuffed inside of a cooked chicken to thin out the good guys. Ma will have none of it, though. Ma will take out every gang scumbag he can find.

And so the last third or so of the movie is an extended fight and chase scene, with the cops going right at the bad guys. Will the gang win out? Will Tony eliminate enough witnesses to allow Archer’s case to go up in flames? Will Ma run through the bad guys like a buzz saw?

What you will notice very quickly about Flash Point is that the movie just isn’t as interesting when Donnie Yen’s Ma isn’t the focus of the story. When the story focusses on the gang or Wilson’s relationship with Judy you just don’t care all that much about what’s going on. When Ma is there, though, the movie becomes super watchable because you want to know what he’s going to do next. Is it odd that Ma doesn’t seem to have much in the way of a life outside of fighting crime? Yes, a little. But then you’re totally okay with it because Ma is so good at taking out bad guys. It’s what you want to watch.

Now, that isn’t to say that Wilson’s relationship with Judy couldn’t have been interesting. Louis Koo, who plays Wilson, is awesome, yes, but he isn’t as awesome as Donnie Yen. It isn’t even close. So when the movie wants me to care about Wilson and Judy’s couples issues, it just doesn’t work. If only Koo could have been as charismatic as Donnie Yen.

The time period the story takes place is in weird. I can’t tell if it takes place in the mid-1990’s, when the United Kingdom was getting ready to transfer Hong Kong back to China, or if it’s Hong Kong in the 2000’s, with Hong Kong maintaining the court procedures and whatnot it had before the handover (there’s a scene with a judge wearing a powdered wig and a red robe, just like a British court scene).

And what’s the deal with Ma’s .38 revolver? It seems like such a lame gun for a modern action movie hero, but that could just be me and my lack of Hong Kong action movie knowledge. Perhaps cops in Hong Kong, even undercover plainclothes badasses like Ma, can’t use anything other than a .38 revolver. Or could it be one of those “Ma is a human weapon so he doesn’t need anything more substantial than a .38” kinds of things? That idea makes sense when you see Ma in action, wiping the floor with criminals and destroying them with his bare hands. But, again, I don’t know enough about the details when it comes to Hong Kong crime movies to say anything definitively.

The movie’s action sequences are all terrific and escalate in their brutality as the movie progresses. The final sequence in the city is insane. And the final action sequence in the country is as top notch as it gets. Donnie Yen did a great job putting all of these sequences together (I don’t think I’ve seen a final shootout quite like the one in Flash Point). And the final fight? All I can really say about it is you don’t want to mess with Inspector Ma Jun. It will be the biggest mistake of your life.


As I said earlier, when it comes to performances Donnie Yen is the star of the movie. When he isn’t the focus of the story the movie just isn’t as interesting. Lui Leung Wai does a few interesting things as Archer (he just oozes sleaze. And what’s the deal with that dance he does in the jail cell?). Louis Koo does a decent enough job as Wilson, but he can’t really keep up with Donnie Yen. In this movie, at least, Koo isn’t on the same level as Donnie Yen.

Kent Cheng’s Inspector Wong is probably the only character that’s immediately interesting as soon as you see him, beyond Yen’s Ma. How the hell did this fat guy get to be the boss of a guy like Ma? Sure, Wong seems like a goofball, but what did he do in order to get to his position in the police force? How many asses did this guy kick? I’d imagine his backstory must be epic. It has to be.

The music, by Kwong Wing Chan (appearing as Chan Kwong Wing), is freaking intense as hell. You know the movie’s music is awesome when, hours after watching it, you can still hear the music. It’s insanely memorable.

Flash Point is a very watchable Hong Kong action flick. I’m not willing to say that it’s great or good, but it has enough good stuff in it to warrant a watch. And Donnie Yen’s presence just elevates the whole thing. I can’t stress this enough: when Donnie Yen isn’t on screen the movie just isn’t as interesting. He really is the star.

See Flash Point. It’s pretty good. It’s oddly compelling without ever being all that great. It’s a solid flick, but nothing special. And Donnie Yen is just so damn awesome. He really, really is.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: Less than 20.

Explosions: One.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: A sudden and brutal fight inside an MMA gym, a guy driving in the city, a club dancing montage in slow motion, toilet breaking, bottle throwing, bottle smashing into the side of a guy’s face, complete and total destruction, golf club throwing, an argument about shipments, metal chair throwing, a huge brawl, the beach, noodle eating, a big criminal meeting, attempted running over of a kid, a pot full of money, a pet lizard, phone call hooey, an off screen sex scene, attempted stabbing, serious finger slicing, a deliberate car accident, a birthday party flip out, a cop attack, a super loaded safe, a car chase, a four car police chase, barfing, a guy jumps out of a car, serious vehicular assault, a group of bicycle riders, a guy on crutches, a jail dance, sledgehammer to the head, a guy building a bomb that he intends to put inside of a cooked chicken, a new chair, a really weird joke, food delivery, battery dropping, exploding chicken in slow motion on roof of apartment complex, a rock quarry or something, night stick beating, multiple bullets to multiple heads, an elevator brawl with head shot, a child human shield, child throwing, multiple mega knees to the face, a serious beating, bloody hands, off screen handcuffing a dead body, attempted court hearing, a guy gets thrown onto a metal bike rack, neck kneeling, boathouse hooey out in the country, bloody ear removal, AK-47 hooey, shotgun hooey, bullet through the foot, sniper rifle hooey, shotgun shell belt throwing, a very cool car trick, a wicked shot to the head, shoulder wound hooey, a dangerous looking fall, a full on martial arts brawl, serious leg breaking, a sort of German suplex, mega punch to the face, the most artistic almost neck breaking in movie history, wind chimes made out empty beer bottles, a fucked up car alarm, a passport, and an odd ending.

Kim Richards?: Almost.

Gratuitous: Donnie Yen, Donnie Yen beating the shit out of a guy in an MMA gym, Donnie Yen driving in the city, a Ferris wheel, a guy dropping his cell phone in the toilet, then breaking the toilet to get the phone back, a white guy, a golf driving range, people at the beach, sunblock throwing, a group of old people running into the ocean, Donnie Yen playing the bass drum in the police band, an old woman throwing up, a guy praying in a holding cell, a “good fortune” present, obvious Heineken product placement, a group photo with a cooked chicken, attempted cooked chicken reheating, a guy driving a car around a rock quarry for some reason, Donnie Yen beating the shit out of a guy in an elevator, Donnie Yen obliterating a round table with one kick in slow motion, court proceedings, Donnie Yen shooting a guy’s ear off, Donnie Yen running around with a sniper rifle, Donnie Yen with a serious bloody nose, Donnie Yen taking off his jacket in the middle of a fight because he’s pissed, and Donnie Yen driving around the city again for some reason.

Best lines: “Have I ever busted the wrong guy? That’s for a jury to decide,” “Over there’s my other brother,” “I admit it. It’s true,” “This is a joke,” “You’re a loose cannon, buddy!,” “What the hell is wrong with you? It’s an E-flat!,” “Touch that boy and you’re dead!,” “So, I believe today is your birthday,” “I love you, Wilson,” “Shut the door, for Christ’s sake,” “Hey, who was that on the phone?,” “Shit, I didn’t lock the door,” “Hello, Inspector,” “This case won’t get to trial and you know it,” “Now put your backs into it you meatheads!,” “These instructions all look like Chinese to me,” “Follow orders. Do what she says,” “Wilson is our only witness now. Let me protect him,” “You killed a suspect! Arrest me,” “Yeah, go on! Are you gay?,” and “You are over!”

b>Rating: 7.0/10.0


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Things to Watch Out For


Cagefighter: This is some sort of low budget martial arts/MMA fighting movie where a cage fighter fights a pro wrestler for some reason. Based on the trailer I don’t really understand how that would be possible or why anyone would get excited for it because MMA fighters are fighters and pro wrestlers are performers. Unless the movie makes a case where pro wrestling is just as “real” as MMA and it’s a battle of disciplines. Pro wrestlers Jon Moxley and Christian are in it, and MMA fighter Chuck Liddell is in it, too. Alexander Tanike-Montagnani is the star of the movie and, as far as I can tell, is a real deal MMA/martial artist of some sort. The great Gina Gershon is in the movie, too. Definitely worth a rental, just to see if it’s any good/if it’s lame. I’m hoping it isn’t.


Contracts: Written and directed by stunt performer Alex Chung, this flick appears to be some sort of mega low budget martial arts/almost horror type deal where a group of assassins are systematically attacked by masked killers who wouldn’t look out of place in a slasher movie. The fight sequences and stunt bits that we see in the trailer are fairly impressive (the movie’s imdb page suggests that the movie cost very, very little to make, which makes the fighting seem even more impressive) and the movie does seem like it has some sort of sheen to it. And if the movie is only 75 minutes or so, what do you, as a movie watcher, really have to lose by checking it out? Definitely intrigued by this.


Mine’s Bigger Than Yours: The 100 Wackiest Action Movies: The latest book by Christopher Lombardo and Jeff Kirschner, the masterminds behind the wonderful Really Awful Movies podcast and the excellent book Death by Umbrella! The 100 Weirdest Horror Movie Weapons, is a look at 100 insane action flicks (check out how the cover image is from the Reb Brown action opus Strike Commando). The book is broken up into nine chapters and takes a look at martial arts flicks, dystopian/apocalyptic movies, badass women, soldiers, and so much more. On top of that, the book has a forward by the immortal director Brian Trenchard-Smith (he has a book out now, too, Adventures in the B-Movie Trade). I am definitely going to get this and check it out (maybe even do a review of it). If it’s half as good as Death by Umbrella then movie fan books are in for a real deal treat. And how can anyone really turn down a book that has Reb fucking Brown on the cover? I mean, come on, it’s Reb fucking Brown!


Next Issue: Donnie Yen December continues with Kung Fu Killer!


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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

B-movies rule. Always remember that.

Flash Point

Donnie Yen– Ma Jun
Louis Koo– Wilson
Ray Lui– Archer (as Lui Leung Wai)
Collin Chou– Tony
Bingbing Fan– Judy (as Fan Bing Bing)
Kent Cheng– Inspector Wong
Xing Yu– Tiger
Ben Lam– Sam

(check out the rest of the cast here)

Directed by Wilson Yip (as Yip Wai Shun)
Screenplay by Kam-Yuen Szeto and Lik-Kei Tang, appearing as Szeto Kam Yuen and Nicholl Tang

Distributed by Mandarin Films Distribution, Pegasus Motion Pictures Distribution, Third Rail Releasing, Genius Products, and The Weinstein Company

Rated R for strong bloody violence and brutal martial arts action
Runtime– 88 minutes

Buy it here