Hong Kong, 1997. A rather violence-crazy police inspector named Ma (Donnie Yen) pursues the arrest of a fraternal trio of Hong Kong gangsters led by the ruthless Tony (Collin Chou), counting on his beleaguered police partner and current mole Wilson (Louis Koo). The three brothers fail to murder a fellow gang boss, which culminates in one of them in jail, but Wilson's cover is discovered and he is blackmailed not to testify against them under the threat of killing his pregnant girlfriend. When the other witnesses are killed and Wilson is captured while trying to find her, it is up to Ma to free them and bring down the gangsters for good.
The film was a box office hit and won the Best Action Choreography awards at the 27th Hong Kong Film Awards and 2008 Golden Horse Film Awards thanks to Yen's fight choreography, which included Mixed Martial Arts and quite a few other styles in the mix.
Do not confuse with the animated film Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, sometimes called simply "Flashpoint".
The film provides the following tropes:
- Action Hero: Ma.
- Anti-Hero: From the start, Ma makes clear that he is in the police to kick asses of bad people and not so much to serve and protect.
- Arrested for Heroism: How Ma sees his reprimand from the police officers at the beginning of the film. In his own words, during the time he has been there he could have been instead beating down evildoers.
- Ax-Crazy: Tony becomes one after getting his brothers killed, but unfortunately for him, Ma himself is not much less of another.
- Big Bad: Tony.
- Blood Knight: Ma really loves to fight.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Tony's spinning kicks are somehow strong enough to break concrete columns nonchalantly, though it comes admittedly to no surprise when you see his general body resilience.
- Death Glare: Courtesy of Ma.
- Establishing Character Moment: At the very beginning of the film, Ma gets known by rushing into a combat sports gym and tackling somebody to the ground.
- Extreme Mêlée Revenge: One of the gangsters takes a young girl hostage to stave off Ma, then throws her aside hard enough that she has Blood from the Mouth as he flees. Once Ma runs him down, what follows can only very generously be called a "fight", and ends with an extended take of the camera just barely covering the gangster's fallen form as Ma just Keeps. On. Punching.
- Good Is Not Soft: Our friend Ma could be a contender for the king of the trope. If you are a delinquent, you will suffer.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: A stylistic variation, played straight but averted at the end. During the final duel, the sheer variety of Ma's hand-to-hand moveset is astonishing, including but not limited to kung fu, Western boxing, Judo, Taekwondo, Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts, but Tony uses just classic kung fu and yet he proves to be quite of a match, to the extent Ma has to to spend every drop of sweat in his body and pull out every trick up his sleeve to beat him.
- Heroes Fight Barehanded: Justified, as the characters only resort to hand-to-hand when guns are dropped.
- Hot-Blooded: Ma is impulsive, energetic and loves fighting, perhaps a bit too much.
- I Know Karate: Interestingly averted, as nobody talks about martial arts or similar things in the entire film. Amusingly enough, Ma seems to know at least kung fu, boxing, judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and muay thai, so he would have a hard time listing them all quickly to warn an adversary.
- Invulnerable Knuckles: Mostly averted, as Ma's knuckles are shown bleeding and swollen after beating the baddie to death, but still present, as after the kind of beatdown Ma gives the baddie, a man with bare, non-compressed fists would have very probably broken at least some minor hand bones.
- Kung-Shui: A minor example, but Tony breaks some furniture (and architecture) with his legs during his fight.
- Le Parkour: Ma shows some while chasing a mook.
- Made of Iron: The punishment both Ma and Tony take during their final duel is massive, yet they actually never sell it the amount they should aside from some grimacing and blood spits. Ma gets powerbombed full force against a concrete floor and later onto his neck against a steel rail; Tony takes a free fall from a first floor, an ippon seoi nage onto the ground and a German suplex against some concrete blocks; and generally, but particularly towards the end, both of them receive tons of head strikes and haymakers. All of this without even looking groggy.
- Major Injury Underreaction: Tony ends at the receiving end of a heel hook and does scream in pain when his leg is broken, but the injury itself just makes him limp a bit and ditch his spinning kicks afterwards, when in real life it would be crippling, possibly forever, and he should be screaming his lungs off and tending his broken leg.
- The Mole: Wilson in the brothers's band.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Oh boy. Ma loves to dispense some of those, and actually kills a guy by intensive ground and pound.
- Lightning Bruiser: Both Ma and Tony.
- Rated M for Manly
- Sibling Team: Archer, Tony and Tiger.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: There are not enough punches for you if you have got Ma angry on you.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: He does in the final scene. It's just that he ran out of bullets.
- Wrestler in All of Us: Though not as overtly as other martial arts moves, Ma performs hurricanranas and suplexes on Tony.