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Midnight Madness: Flash Point


Colin Geddes, Midnight Madness programmer extraordinaire, differs from his TIFF programming committee brethren in one significant way. For the rest of them, as the week goes on, they start looking worse and worse; Piers Handling looked like he'd been hit by a truck when he was presenting a film at the Elgin last night, and Noah Cowan's programming assistant has been getting more face time in front of the movies than her boss. Colin, on the other hand, just looks like he's having more and more fun. Tonight, presenting Wilson Yip's martial arts action pic Flash Point at the Ryerson, Geddes looked like exactly what he was: a martial arts freak in hog heaven.

Yip was in attendance before the screaming, slathering crowd; he and Geddes had also received an e-mail from the movie's star and action choreographer, Donnie Yen, just prior to showtime, which they read to the audience before letting the mayhem unfold onscreen. Yen promised a new breed of MMA (mixed martial arts) action, and in this regard, he did not disappoint.

Unfortunately, the rest of the movie wasn't even in the same zip code as its jaw-dropping final act, which contains two masterfully-choreographed and flawlessly-executed fistfights between Yen and a series of opponents. They are truly a cinematic wonder, blending the balletic grace of a Crouching Tiger with the bone-crushing brutality of a bar-room brawl.

The rest of the film, however, is a stylish, but standard, undercover cop story with few action beats and sparse laughs. At one o'clock in the morning, it's a lot to ask an audience to sit through, even to get to so spectacular a finish.

Still, the crowd didn't seem to mind; they sat quietly through the dull parts and roared their approval every time Yen CRACKED and SMACKED his way through a bad guy.

Flash Point re-screens today at noon at the Scotiabank.


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