Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Jackie Chan's Last Action Movie

I took the kids to watch the much ballyhooed last action movie of Jackie Chan, Chinese Zodiac.  With Jackie Chan retiring from doing action movies, the movie's main selling point is basically -- "this is your last chance to see Jackie Chan in action".  This is an HK production and not a Hollywood movie.  Supposedly, it has been breaking box office records in China.

For a movie whose main target audience are the kids (and ok, maybe the old nostalgic crowd who has followed Jackie since The Drunken Master), the plot is particularly convoluted.  I have to be honest -- I did not understand half of what was going on.  Sure, the action scenes were fun to watch, but the plot, and the numerous sub-plots, were just all over the place.

The stunts were so-so.  I have to give credit that Jackie, at his age, can really still do difficult stunts.  But over-all, it was nothing surprising already.  The James Bond-like movie intro where he was strapped to that suit with wheels was innovative, at least.  The overall martial arts of the film was lame.  Or maybe after watching HK superstar Donnie Yen in Ip Man, everyone else seem to pale in comparison.

The acting, outside of Jackie Chan himself, was really lame.  They seem to have hired a bunch of never-heard amateur actors.  From the aristocratic French lady, to the Caucasian youth activists, the actors looked like drones memorizing their lines.

In the final scene where Jackie swoops down to risk his life to save the Dragon head, there was a flash of hope for a great ending.  With Jackie's bloodshot eyes, bloody face, and broken legs, I really thought that they will kill him off.  That would have been a first -- Jackie dying in his movie.  And it would have been a blaze-of-glory kind of ending.  Seemed like a great way to end his action career.  But 'no', he was still alive and the sub-plot further gets complicated -- who was that lady at the end?  Was that his wife?  Girlfriend?  Why was she not answering his phone all that time?  Why were Jackie's team mates referring to her as "sister"?

I still think that the Rush Hour series with Chris Tucker were Jackie's best action-comedy performances.

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