Deadline recently announced that the Hong Kong action flick Special ID, starring Donnie Yen, has been acquired North American distribution by Well Go USA Entertainment – a company that’s brought us some Yen’s other films such as Ip Man (2008) and Legend of the Fist (2010), along with other foreign classics like Mutant Girls Squad (2010) and Karate-Robo Zaborgar (2011). Yen stars as a cop undercover in Chinese criminal under world who may struggles to keep his identity secret from a violent gang leader (Colin Chou).
Donnie Yen is one of China’s biggest action stars but he’s never really caught on with American audiences the way peers like Jackie Chan and Jet Li have. He has made appearances in a few American films like Highlander: Endgame and Blade II – he even fought with Jackie Chan in Shanghai Knights – but he’s mostly been relegated to playing henchmen of main villains, which ironically was how Jet Li got his start in the US with Lethal Weapon 4. Those with a taste for international cinema may recognize Yen from his roles opposite Jet Li in Once Upon a Time in China II (1992) and Hero (2002) – both times he was Li’s opponent. Yen has a good reputation among martial-arts film fanatics for incorporating Mixed Martial Arts into some of his more recent films – the 2007 film Flashpoint, for instance featured plenty of grappling an submission holds – and for playing man credited with training Bruce Lee, in Ip Man and its sequel, well before Tony Leung tackled the role in Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster (2013).
Special ID comes to American theaters March 7, 2014. Will it be Yen’s gateway into the West’s public’s eye? Probably not – most Americans will watch the film on demand – but at least we’ll get some kickass MMA-style fight scenes like this one: