December 13, 2007

IGNITING FLASH POINT : No holds barred with Donnie Yen.

We recorded an in-depth interview today with Donnie Yen, action director and star of the groundbreaking contemporary Asian actioner Flash Point. The film will be getting a limited US theatrical release before its Dragon Dynasty DVD release. With Kill Zone (AKA SPL), our very first DD title!, Donnie established a new style of on-screen action, one that reflected his new passion for mix martial arts. Flash Point takes this to a new level, with explosive results. The film just won Best Action at the prestigious Taiwanese Golden Horse awards, and has re-set the bar for contemporary martial arts movies.

Flash Point began its development as a proposed prequel to Kill Zone. A sequel was out of the question, for Donnie, anyway, as (SPOILER ALERT!) his character dies at the end. Director Wilson Ip started developing a story depicting Donnie’s Kill Zone character in an earlier adventure. However, the rights to the SPL/Kill Zone characters remained with the producers of that film, Abba Films, and no deal could be done. The original title of Flash Point, Po Kwun, referenced the Chinese title of Kill Zone, Sha Po Lang, with both referencing fateful stars in the Chinese zodiac. When the prequel idea had to be abandoned, the title was changed to ‘Do For Seen’, which means, literally, ‘fuse’.

In a related story, Dennis Law, director of the forthcoming Dragon Dynasty release Fatal Contact, began developing Fatal Move, an official sequel to Kill Zone, one that would have continued the story of the Sammo Hung character, the only one to survive the first film! (I remember giving producer Paco Wong my own pitch on this, but Dennis decided to go in his own direction.) In the end, Dennis realized that the prequel/sequel idea limited the potential for the script, especially as he wanted to show the relationship between Sammo and Wu Jing, who is killed, by Donnie, in the first film. Though it has similarly themes, and reunites Kill Zone stars Sammo, Wu Jing and Sammo Hung, Law’s Fatal Move is a completely original work.

Having abandoned the Kill Zone sequel idea, Wilson and writer Hui An developed a new story, under the working title Ultimate Fighting Cop (a reference to the UFC). Set in Macau, the story focused on a police detective named Kwok, to be played by Donnie Yen. A martial arts expert, he inspects the crime scene of a boxer found beaten to death. He sees clues missed by the untrained eye, and deduces that the victim died at an illegal Macanese ‘fight club’. He tells his partner, Leung (Louis Koo) of his findings, and they set out to track down the killer.

Each of the men has their own demons to confront. Leung is a gambling addict. Kwok is pursuing a doomed relationship with the lovely Jade, mistress of Macao crime boss Wolf. After a second murder, a local reporter, King, offers to lead our hero into the world of the illegal death matches. Kwok is forced to put his life on the line by fighting in the ring and on the street.

After due consideration, the title was changed to City With No Mercy AKA City Without Mercy, and promotional artwork executed with the two stars, Donnie and Louis Koo, facing the Macao skyline. A further problem appeared when the film went into pre-production. With new casinos springing up in the former Portuguese enclave, Macao’s economy was booming, and it became apparent that it would be impossible to find any local crew. Nobody wanted to work on a movie when they could work in a casino! When it became evident that everyone from the tea lady up would have to be brought to Macao from Hong Kong, the producers decided it was more cost effective to shoot on their home turf.

With the story now relocated to Hong Kong, the original ‘fight club’ premise was abandoned. The new storyline focused on the relationship between a relentless street cop (Donnie Yen) and his undercover counterpart (Wilson Ip). Though the film covers terrain explored by earlier Hong Kong police thrillers, the hand to hand combat is truly ground-breaking. Donnie worked tirelessly to translate the impact of real mixed martial arts matches to the big screen. He screened dozens of fights, and hit the mats with various MAA maestros, including long-time associate John Salvitti.

For the stand out final reel duel, Yen enlisted the talents of action actor Collin Chou. Collin rose through the ranks as a protégé of Kill Zone star Sammo Hung. He and Yen had actually fought each other on screen years earlier, in the weird and wonderful low-budget actioner City Of Darkness. In Chou, Donnie found a perfect foil to help him express his new brand of cinematic smack down. Flash Point proves that you can convey realistic mixed martial arts action in a cinematic context. It was a great experience to record a DVD commentary with Donnie, and get his insights into how he crafted this classic fight scene.


Flashpoint was good, but if upcoming DD dvd was released before the HK dvd, i would i bought the DD dvd. Now i have the HK one.
- LoBo, Norway, Bodø | 2007-12-14 08:36:32
As much as I love FLASHPOINT, I really hop Yen & Co. salvage that Macao concept and make something out of it. It sounds like a great film.
- Kev, Boston, MA | 2007-12-15 10:35:39
I'll most definitely get this one! hope this will include exclusive bts footage like the SPL DVD.
- Tony, Sweden | 2007-12-16 09:37:23
If FP gets the same treatment as SPL did with the DD release I'll own both the HK and DD release. Keyword is IF. :P Though I am stoked that people will get the chance to see FP on the big screen here in the states..including me.
- Chelle, Charleston, SC | 2007-12-16 10:43:17
I got the Flashpoint Bluray, and it's a really good transfer and a top notch translation. If you have a Bluray player and want to expand your collection with a worthy import, this is where to start.
- Erik, Hudson, WI | 2007-12-16 21:48:22
I was able to see Flashpoint at Fantastic Fest back in September, 2007 and I enjoyed the film a great deal. The ending fight sequence was awesome. Nice work by both Donnie Yen and Colin Chou. I am looking forward to the Dragon Dynasty dvd in particular to listen to Donnie Yen's commentary.
- Sean, Milwaukee, WI, USA | 2007-12-17 12:05:02
The fight scenes were great. The only problem was there wasn't enough. Unlike SPL, the story didn't help me through the non-action scenes. Wish that original story came through. They should use Vancouver for the setting (if they decide to use that idea again).
- Ron, Tacoma, WA | 2007-12-18 03:14:46
i couldn't wait to watch this film, so i ordered the deltamac version 2 months back hate it when they do this, :(
- Jin, UK | 2007-12-18 04:48:05
Flashpoint was absolutely amazing!! Been a long time fan of Donnie Yens work..But this is definitely the best I have ever seen him in..The mma-style fight scenes are unbelievable!I think Donnie is the best screen fighter since Bruce Lee. Got the HK DVD but Im looking very much forward to the DD version..A commentary track with Donnie and Bey shouldnt be missed out on!!
- David, Tokyo | 2007-12-18 18:00:51
Flashpoint is a great and fantastic movie! The fight scenes are realistic and brutal! But I think the fight scenes are too little and not enough.I think more fight scenes can be added in the movie.Donnie Yen and Collin Chou are good fighters!
- Francis, Singapore | 2007-12-20 07:28:20
You mentioned that "Flashpoint" will be getting a theatrical release, but limited to which theatres? I'd love to see DD releasing classics theatrically!
- James Lee, Rowland Heights, CA | 2008-01-03 19:54:27


Your comment

Who are you?

Where are you located?



Its great to see the late era Shaw Bros Five Deadly Venoms and The Return of The Five Deadly Venoms (AKA Crippled... MORE ›

Viewing an Invisible Target

Of Hong Kong’s recent contemporary martial arts actioners, INVISIBLE TARGET has a special place in my heart.... MORE ›



Join the Order of the Dragon and receive e-mail updates on the latest releases, news items,and special promotions.

Sign Up