7 April 2001 | modius
Could have been better, but still amazing.
I never thought I'd see the day Jackie Chan would be fighting Ninja's...but to be honest, it wasn't the cringe worthy film I was expecting - far from it, its very, very entertaining...
As the car chase rolled onto the screen I thought to myself "this is best fun I've ever had watching a Jackie Chan-Sammo Hung type film"...and it is, until half way where it seems to slow down.
This film plays as a comedy-action film with a hint of the dirty dozen thrown in for good measure. Jackie is a chinese cop in Japan trying to secure the release of Yuen Biao (who isn't in this film as much as I'd like him to be - he is technically better in acrobatics than Jackie).
Anyway, the police for some obsecure reason get Sammo Hung, a bad guy and force him to rescue Biao from the Japanese - but Hung won't do it without his childhood buddies, who are all of course criminals - and all have their strange quirks...the characters are quite funny to watch, for example....you've got a guy who's completley insane trying to move objects via ESP, you've got a smarmy ladies man who blows up jewelery shops, you've got the dumbo...etc, etc.
The gang are also framed for a bank robbery and are forced into the rescue of Biao...and have the cover of criminals - and 20 million...
Most of the film is set in Japan...I was expecting that it would soon forget it was in Japan - but it didn't, to be honest it did a good job to show Japanese culture, and lifestyle - but I think it didn't do the ninja thing justice.
Sure there are lots of good ninja fighting sequences, but the ninjas sometimes have suits on, sometimes they have different coloured head covers on - and they always seem to attack in daytime...when will film-makers realise that Ninja's are highly-intelligent and use the night as a weapon, as part of their stealth - to assume they are easily beaten is a mistake - its a mistake Sammo remakes in his hit TV show Martial Law (episode: Bad Seed)...
Anyway, by the end of the film you don't really care what the plot was - you never do, you know it doesn't really matter, this film is a lot of fun until mid-way where it really slows down for the sake of comedy - don't get me wrong, it is funny - but it sure gets repetitive...
The action could have been a tad better...it tenses up when Jackie, et al storm the Japanese gang's hideout (in a theme park! - I guess this is where Beverly Hills Cop 3 got their idea from!) - the tension is increased when you watch Jackie fighting it out with veteran bad guy Dick Wei...that fight is pretty good, but its not as long or as punishing as it makes it out to be.
The highlight of the film has to be the Sibelle Hu / Michiko Nishiwaki fight and just seeing Nishiwaki in black leotards is worth the money. But its a shame that Sammo Hung and his friends never get to go toe-to-toe with Nishiwaki, I mean Sammo Hung, et al, all have a weakness for women - this could have been used to great effect.
There are problems I have with this film: it ends to abruptly, why isn't there a big long fight sequence with the head of the Japanese gang? And where does he go when they've destroyed the Japanese gang?
Anyway, its a hoot - and if you keep your eyes open you might see Bolo Yeung in a cameo appearance.