14 Blades follows the Chinese General Quinlong (Donnie Yen) as he works to recover a list of loyal Jinyiwei - the staunchest supporters of the Emperor. Unfortunately for Quinlong, the Jinywei are in fact under the control of Jia, an evil eunuch. Quinlong is betrayed by his former brothers-in-arms and barely escapes with his life. Quinlong sets off to rally together the remaining loyalists, all the while being hounded by those he once trusted and fought alongside.
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Dragon Chan is a Hong Kong cop who has spent many years of his life building up a reputation within a major Chinese crime organisation, working undercover to expose some its most ruthless associates. However, it soon becomes clear that the mob boss Xiong is on the warpath searching for spies that threaten to solidarity of his gang and Chan starts to get nervous when a number of other double agents are found brutally murdered. Sure enough, someone Chan thought he could trust reveals Chan's true identity to Xiong and the rest of the organisation and Chan finds himself desperately trying to protect his already unstable family life while also trying to escape certain death himself. He has the skills to defend himself for a few days, but when it's him versus a huge organisation with access to numerous weapons, his survival chances are starting to look limited.
This crime drama has been directed by Clarence Fok Yiu-leung ('Naked Killer', 'The Iceman Cometh', 'Century of the Dragon') and written by Kam-Yuen Szeto ('Exiled', 'Flash Point', 'Kill Zone - S.P.L.'). 'Special ID' stars Hong Kong action icon Donnie Yen ('Ip Man', 'Blade II', 'Hero') and is set to be released in theatres on March 7th 2014.
Combining a period drama, police procedural and raucous wu-xia action, this superbly made Chinese thriller grabs our attention from the outrageous opening scene and never lets up. Not only are the fight sequences exceptionally inventive, but the acting is first-rate, stirring up emotional resonance as well as lots of mysterious intrigue.
It's set in a sleepy village in Yunan province in 1917, where the mild-mannered Jin-xi (Yen) lives with his family. But when two ruthless killers attack his stationery shop, something about the way Jin-xi "accidentally" defeats them looks suspicious to big-city detective Xu (Kaneshiro). As he pieces together the events, he begins to suspect that Jin-xi is simply too skilled at battle. Could he even be the nation's most-wanted criminal: the missing commander of the notorious Demon gang? If this is true, Xu knows that Jin-xi will do almost anything to protect his family and maintain his tranquil new life.
Director Chan cleverly peels apart the opening assault as the Sam Spade-like Xu investigates it, using slow-motion and freeze-frames to reveal secrets in ways that are both fascinating and thrilling. This also cleverly lets us know right off the bat that there's a lot more going on here than meets the eye. And all of the actors fill their scenes with churning subtext, which not only adds spark to the interpersonal drama but also makes the action sequences that much more exciting.
Continue reading: Dragon [Wu Xia] Review
BLADE II star DONNIE YEN is being tipped to play kung fu legend BRUCE LEE is an upcoming biopic produced by the late actor's family....