Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 24th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: China, 2013
Director: Clarence Fok Yiu-leung
Writer: Kam-Yuen Szeto
Cast: Donnie Yen, Tian Jing, Andy On, Ronald Cheng, Collin Chou, Terence Yin, Zhigang Yang, Hanyu Zhang, Hee Ching Paw, Cheung-Ching Mak
BluRay released: May 13th, 2014
Approximate running time: 99 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Chinese, Dolby Digital Stereo Chinese, DTS-HD 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
BluRay Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
Special Id was directed by Clarence Fok Yiu-leung whose other notable films include, The Iceman Cometh and Naked Killer. Key Collaborators on Special ID include screenwriter Kam-Yuen Szeto (Dog Bite Dog, Accident) and cinematographer Peter Pau (The Killer, The Bride with White Hair).
Content wise Special ID is the kind of action film that is going to divide audiences. On one there will be those who want to see Donnie Yen in a IP Man like role, while there will be those who are content just to see a well executed wall to wall action film. If you are in the latter half, then this is film that you are sure to thoroughly enjoy.
Narrative wise Special ID follows your standard police procedural film’s structure. And though the film does a good job setting up who everyone is and what their motivations are? Unfortunately some of its attempts at misdirection are ill conceived and not that effective. With that being said the most glaring of these illogical moments of misdirection is given much needed reinforcement in this film’s superbly realized final act.
From a production stand point the film is looks great visually. The narrative is well paced and there is a good balanced between dramatic moments and action set pieces. Speaking of action set pieces they are always inventive and a lot of fun to watch. The action sequences for this film were directed by Donnie Yen. And though there are many great action related moments in this film, one of the best comes right at the beginning of the film and helps cement the tone of the film.
Performance wise this film is another clear example why Donnie Yen is the reigning king of China action cinema. Other performances of note include Collin Chou (City under Siege) in the role of Cheung Mo-Hung, the man in charge of the origination that Yen’s character is trying to take down. His character has two of the funniest moments in this film. The first one is a scene where he threatens Yen’s character by given his mother a menacing haircut. The second scene is when his is taking a piss and this film’s main female character tries to apprehend him in the men’s room. Overall though this film does tread familiar waters, the end result is an entertaining mix of action, melodrama and a few moments of well placed of humor.
Special ID comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The mages look crisp, colors and flesh tones look accurate, black and contrast levels look consistently great throughout. DNR is kept in check and there are no issues with compression. Overall this is another strong transfer from Well Go USA.
This release comes with four audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Chinese, a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in Chinese, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in English. There is a wide range audio option’s for this release, all of which are in very good shape. Of course the mixes to with the most punch are the two DTS-HD 5.1 mixes, especially the native Chinese audio mix. These two audio mixes sound, robust, dialog comes through with crystal clear clarity and everything sounds balanced. Also included with this release are three subtitle options, English, French and Spanish.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film and a brief ‘Making of’ segment (4 minutes 6 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen, in Chinese with English subtitles). Also included with this release are trailers for other titles also available from Well Go USA. Overall Special ID gets a solid audio / video presentation from Well Go USA.
Note: This film is also being released by Well Go USA on DVD.