It was one of those rare weeks where none of the new major Hollywood movies premiered in Indonesia. So it was nice to see the latest Jackie Chan movie playing in cinemas yesterday. My wife and I had been fans of this mega star for more than half of our lives, hence we definitely were excited that we could see the film. Well let us move on to the movie.
Brief Story Line
Officer Lin Dong (Jackie Chan) was a very good special agent who led a team of highly trained police officers and trusted to do the most difficult assignments. His most reliable team member was Susan (Erica Xia-Hou). After a very dangerous assignment which involved protecting material witness Dr. James (Kim Gyngell) who created a mechanical heart, Lin moved on to Australia where he seemed to take an interest on a young college student named Nancy (Ouyang Na Na - Mission Milano, Beijing Love Story etc).
Meanwhile a young thief named Li Sen (Show Lo - The Mermaid, Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons etc) was trying to investigate Nancy's background but at the same time he also seemed to be helping her. There was also a mysterious lady in black (Tess Haubrich - Alien: Covenant, The Wolverine etc) who was trying to capture Nancy. The lady was working for a villain who had super strength and very hard to kill (played by Callan Mulvey - Beyond Skyline etc).
So why was Nancy so important and why was Lin Dong trying to protect her? And what was Li Sen's background? Find them all in this sci-fi movie.
End of Brief Story Line
I think this is the first time I saw Jackie Chan star in a sci-fi movie and I gotta say that it is truly a pity that it was done with very poor writing. I totally blame the writer and director for making the plot soooo unbearable cause Jackie Chan really did his best to make the movie good with his total dedication. The bad things here were actually because the director tried too hard to put the science fiction component in the movie, such as the space ship (come on, a normal plane would be a lot better, or even a heavily guarded compound would probably be nicer), the troops' suits that my wife said looked so much like the storm troopers in Star Wars movie and many others. The thing is that if the movie was done in a more simplified style, it would most likely be more reasonably likable.
Of course there were some good stuff in the movie like Jackie Chan's fighting sequences which seemed to be seriously made. My most favorite part was the scene on the famous Sydney Opera House where it reminded me of early Jackie Chan's movies. The early 15 minutes fight sequence were also pretty awesome and very intense. Which is why it was a let down that the subsequent scenes were "over sophisticated". I am a fan of science fiction movie, but this one unfortunately was not a good one.
However, if you set aside the bad science fiction part, the movie itself did have its moments. There were some fun scenes which surprisingly contributed not by Jackie Chan but by Show Lo who I think gave the movie the much needed breath of freshness. This was the second time I saw him in comedic role (earlier he was the funny Octopus in Stephen Chow's directed movie The Mermaid). Though his character's mysteriousness was only explained briefly but a little bit illogical. Ouyang Na Na was not bad in here. While Erica Xia-Hou was surprisingly good in martial arts. She was also credited as the writer together with the director Leo Zhang, but I think she would probably be better off as actress. Leo Zhang's directing in the action sequence was actually pretty decent and at least he did get some of the humors on point.
The special effects were ok, but not that spectacular. The sound effects were good, however some of the musical effects were too loud or rather unnecessary. The end credit scene was full of bloopers from the movie which was quite fun to see. Unfortunately some of them were not having subtitles so we were not able to understand. There were also some scenes that were not suitable for children (that's why it was categorized for 17+), so it is not your typical Jackie Chan's family friendly movie.
With all the minuses above, does this make the movie bad? No doubt. But was I able to enjoy the movie? I had to say I still could. However, I know my wife hated the movie as she felt it was too weird and badly done. Though I know she was pretty caught up in the early part and a bit emotional towards the end.
Overall, this is definitely not one of Jackie Chan's best movies but hard core fans of him probably would still be able to tolerate him. I just hope that he would pick and choose better in future. He is such a great star that he can afford to opt for better quality movies. For those of you who want to see Jackie Chan's best works, then this definitely is not the best option. And if you want to see him in different role, it's better to see The Foreigner. But if you still want to see him in a sci-fi movie, then by all means give it a try. The choice is yours.
Mike's movie moments rating: 3 out of 5 stars