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  • Island on Fire (1990) was released in three different version, the Hong Kong theatrical run, the badly dubbed nonsensical U.S. version and the original two hour plus Taiwan cut. The best one out of the three is the Taiwanese print. This film was a "charity" film that was made to help the director who was in some real "financial" trouble with some shady characters.

    The director's best friend "Jimmy" Wang Yu called up some actors who "owed" him some favors. The top flight actors did the work for little or no pay. They were making a movie that was going to make some money, not a classic or anything like that. Just a quick film that'll make some fast bucks. Let's take a look at the different prints shall we?

    1.) The Hong Kong cut is a fast paced action film. Only the bare bones are left. Little plot is left in the way of seeing some of the actors on the screen. The story is simple, someone is hiring dead criminals to whack important people. Tony Leung Ka Fai get's involved when his fiancée's father get's whacked by the "dead" assassin. After snooping around he finds out that they're coming from a Taiwanese prison. So, old Tony gets himself arrested and his buddy pulls a few strings to get him inside the "big house".

    2.) The United States print re-dubs a lot of the scenes making many of them nonsensical. The dialog is drastically changed and some scenes are just re-dubbed (i.e. Jackie Chan is thrown in prison for accidentally killing Andy Lau's brother).

    Whilst in prison Andy Lau tries to have some of his inside men try and kill Jackie. Wang Yu doesn't want the prisoners killing each other or stupid things like that. He wants it civil inside. So to placate Lau's men he slices his arm and squeezes out some blood whilst telling them, "Let Lau know that I have bled for his brother, there will be no violence in my prison." Well, to that effect any way.

    In the U.S. version he just cuts his arm to show the two how "crazy" he can get. "You wanna see crazy! I'll show you crazy!!" he tells the two as he cut's his arm?! Doesn't make any sense. It goes on like this for ninety minutes! The DVD is horrible, not only is it badly dubbed but the "commentary" is worthless. Hell I know more about the movie than the guy they put on it.

    3.) The Taiwanese cut is over two hours long and it fleshes out the characters. Unlike the Hong Kong version, the film is fully subtitled in English (the subs disappear during the last eight minuted in the Hong Kong print). What I like about the Taiwan version is that the true motives of the characters are revealed. The movie makes a lot more sense and you call feel for them. It's also not as jumpy and confusing.

    The rest of the movie is real interesting. You'll be in for a surprise by the wild ending and the shocking conclusion!

    Highly recommended!

    Taiwan print: A+

    H.K. print: B

    U.S. print: F-
  • Story takes place in a prison. Jackie Chan, Andy Lau, Sammo Hung and few other stars of the era. The movie is supervised by Jackie Chan's old colleague Jimmy Wang Yu.

    The plot is about a prison where the convicts are part of a recruitment program to do special biddings for the government. The selection criteria is not obvious, but it seems that one's who had a fight in the prison and fought well got recruited. Who the true culprit is, and what twist in the plot there is at the end must be seen.

    It's one of few movie where Jackie is not the star. There's also a rare fight scene between Jackie and Andy Lau.

    It's hard to categorize what this movie is. It's a generic action movie, but there's lot of super A list actors appearing just as a co-star. Unfortunately they are under utilized, and the movie fails to achieve stellar performance it could have had.

    Maybe this was movie made based on friends getting together, and chipping in their talents. This would have been possible with someone with Jimmy Wang's clout.

    The movie is somewhat of an enigma in Hong Kong movie history.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I actually enjoyed this strangely-edited, meandering prison drama movie, which has about five different sub-plots involving a number of leading characters which weave in and out and develop in unexpected ways. This is a very unpredictable movie instead where you never quite know what's going to happen next, and there are a fair amount of twists and shocks along the way. Unfortunately all the companies who released this film marketed it as a Jackie Chan movie. This is a lie; Jackie is in the film as a supporting character only. It's really more of an ensemble piece with popular Chinese actor Tony Leung having the most screen time. The film shows the gritty side of prison life without resorting to the typical clichés, although many notable sequences are stolen from Cool Hand Luke (particularly the rice-eating scene and the girl with no bra).

    This is a violent film with a ton of action in it. The martial arts content is pretty low. Chan appeared in the movie as a favour to producer Jimmy Wang Yu and spent about four days filming it; thus he is used in nearly all of the action sequences which are fast and frenetic, although not as well choreographed as in his own movies. There are some likable and surprisingly sympathetic characters here, from the nerdy guy with the pet hamster to Sammo Hung as a father, desperate to escape and see his son. Comedy is mixed in uneasily with the violence as Hung keeps escaping; there are the usual slimy villain types and corrupt and evil guards to keep things moving as well. Tony Leung is excellent as the lead, an undercover cop in prison pushed over the edge, and Andy Lau is also fine as a villain.

    One-time martial arts legend Jimmy Wang Yu, who once had a career that nearly equalled the popularity of Bruce Lee's, appears here as a prison boss with a tattoo all across his back. Although he doesn't get to fight and is in the film all too little (must have been busy producing it as well) it's nice to see the guy can still play a tough character with ease. Keep watching through the slow spots for the incredible conclusion which comes out of nowhere and offers a ton of violence and gunplay; it had me reeling and is something to be seen. Overall I enjoyed this movie, what with its ton of action, sub-plots, drama, suspense, and intrigue. Give it a go and you might be surprised.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    this action flick is solid entertainment, it has Jackie Chan,sammo hung,Andy lau, tony leung, jimmy Wang yu, its a prison movie and it has all the usual cliché's but it also has some fantastic fights scenes, and a brilliant shoot out at the end, it isn't' the best movie that these actors have starred in but it's a solid one none the less, and Jackie Chan ain't no fool here he's a hard boiled man with a short temper, sammo hung is a loving farther and jimmy Wang yu the top dogg, i like the movie because it tries to be more than just a prison movie and succeeds, it's similer in tone to a john woo movie but with less gun play. it's an ensemble movie and all the cast get their big moment,but no one here is really a main star, everybody is equal, it's not the best action movie out there but it's a damn entertaining one.
  • With a stellar line up of HK stars including Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Tony Leung and Andy Lau (some of whom appeared as a favour to the director, who was in dire financial trouble with some 'dodgy types'), this brutal film mixes emotional drama, savage violence and OTT action to deliver an effective little addition to the prison movie sub-genre.

    Tony Leung plays Andy, a cop who gets himself sent to prison after his future father-in-law is murdered by a supposedly executed convict. Whilst trying to figure out how a dead prisoner can become an assassin, he befriends various other prisoners, but himself becomes a target of some of the less desirable characters in the prison.

    Those drawn to this film by the presence of 'wacky Jackie' will be sorely disappointed, since Mr. Chan appears in only a few scenes, and even the fights he participates in are not up to his usual acrobatic standard. However, fans of the other big stars should get their money's worth; Prison on Fire may be no classic, but it is entertaining enough to be worth a go.

    Anyone who has seen their fair share of prison movies will know what to expect from this kind of affair: nice guy prisoners who we are supposed to root for; bad guys who make our hero's life a living hell; prison escapes and riots; and the occasional 'funny' scene to lift the mood (in this case, Sammo's ogling of a big breasted woman whose car breaks down near to his work detail). This one has it all!

    It also has a rather enjoyably silly ending which features loads of gunfire and some slow-motion squib effects, and more disturbingly, a shocking scene which features an Alsatian being kicked in the head (the poor mutt flies through the air and lands awkwardly on its back!).

    If you wish to check out this movie, find either the Taiwanese version, or the Hong Kong Legends DVD; the Taiwanese cut features several scenes missing from the US release, whilst the HK Legends disc includes them as an extra.
  • This is a good film, yes IT IS DIFFERENT FROM YOUR NORMAL CHAN FILM YOU CHAN FANS, i am a chan fan but you have to give way to a change every now and then, and this is deffinately one. Yes the film is what you heard, brutal, violent, everything a jackie chan film is not. But this is not a jackie chan film. If you put this in order of screen time Tong Leung Ka Fai would edge it, then possibly Sammo Hung or maybe even Chung-Hua Tao as Charlie (even though he is not billed as a main character.) Andy Lau And Jackie Chan have a relatively small part in the film but they do make an impact.

    To talk about the plot, the film takes place in a prison, mostly. Borrowing largely from Prison On Fire directed by Ringo Lam also starring tony leung ka fai. To Run through the characters, tony leung is a cop and has placed himself (quite randomly) undercover into this prison that he believes to be corrupt. Unfortunately the writers seem to forget that he is a cop for most of the movie and finally realise 4/5 the way through the film again, but i dont want to spoil anything. Sammo Hung is well already in jail, and the touching part of the story is the fact that he wants to get out to see his son, about 5 years old i guess. Jackie Chan is some innocent guy that gets caught up in a killing and is also sent to the prison, Andy Lau happens to be the brother of the person killed by Jackie Chan, so he basically wants revenge. Sammo hung's character is involved in the touching parts of the film when he for instance escapes to see his son. This is early on in the film and i do not want to ruin it for you. Chung-Hua Tao plays Charlie he is the roommate of Leung ka fai, there is a very interesting Sub Plot, only avaliabe on the Taiwan release and the superb hong kong legends print of the dvd, that has 30 mins of delete footage as a extra (not in the film as the quailty was VHS quality) the sub plot is about how Chung-Hua Tao's character is trying to be freed by his grandmother and how she dies and then he hangs himself, but is saved by leung ka fai's character. That is just a brief overview but it is horrific that they took this all out of the movie as it adds another level, seeing that Chung-Hua Tao's character who seems so innocent was basically brought up not knowing the difference between right and wrong.

    Tony Leung Ka Fai carries this movie very well, he proved to me that he is a very good actor, (unfortunately he got arrested) this was the first film that i saw him in. Sammo Hung plays his part well and it is different from normal, as he uses his acting ability and not his fighting ability. Jackie chan is basically there to showcase his fighting ability he is there in all the hand to hand combat scenes, and is used well seeming as he only gave up 3 to 4 days of his time to the production and the director, Andy Lau gets a chance to play a bad guy, as they all do really, it is good to see the different and how they can act as the opposite from normality. Chung-Hua Tao plays his character very well and adds the level of supposed innocence to the film and there is an emotional scene towards the end that i do not want to mention involving him. The acting is very good overall in this film.

    To give my opinion on the film i find it hard to see why everyone hates this, it is a good film in its own right, so what if it borrowed from another film, its what your watching at the time that matters. I can understand why Jackie Chan disowned the film as it is nothing like his films with the Exception of Crime Story, but why did he give up his time? i think most of it has to do with the end scene which is very emotional, possibly the most emotional scene from a hong kong action movie i have seen, the actors are used well regardless of what a lot of people think. If a lot of people had given their time to the film they would have seen it from a different direction and realised that it is in fact a very good film on many levels. Action, Drama, whatever you wanna call it, it has achieved a different level to most films i see and i think that is why a lot of fans also disregard this film as a waste of time.

    i would highly recommend this, There are scenes of graphic violence, one scene of animal cruelty (however you never see the human kick the animal) and the film is quiet harrowing.

    I would like to give the soundtrack a credit as it added terrific atmosphere to the film and also i would like to mention the great release from Hong Kong Legends, they did us proud again. With one of the worst prints that they have had to work with they made it look like a new movies. Well done.
  • The prisoner is a typical hongkong action movie, with great action but also with exxagerated drama and humour. But if you are a fan like me, you will get used to this if you watch a lot of them. The prisoner is a serious movie with some humour in it. It isn't a jackie chan movie, but it is a movie with jackie chan in it. A serious one, which we don't get to see very often . But in this he is great, especially at the end (Jackie a la John Woo).
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Although Jackie Chan is usually billed as the star, he's actually playing a supporting role here. If you don't expect a typical JC flick, but want a darker, more moving film, you could be unexpectedly pleased.

    There are four major stars in Prison on Fire, so the main plot keeps getting put aside so each one can have a story line and screen time. Some of the prison sequences owe a lot to 'Cool Hand Luke' and there's even a character called Lucas (at least in the dubbed version).

    In spite of being disjointed, the acting and drama carry the film well, especially Samo Hung's moving turn as a man desparate to see his son. There's a real air of danger for the characters, even Jackie Chan, who you never really believe will be killed off in his own films.

    The plot threads are more or less pulled together to give a big shoot-out ending to please the audience, but it isn't a happy one. In spite of the flaws, I was far more impressed with this than I expected. Be prepared for something different and you might be moved too.
  • Rated R for Violence and Language. Quebec Rating:13+ Canadian Home Video Rating:18A

    I saw The Prisoner yesterday night on Showcase Action.I'm surprised at the low rating.It should be in the 6's or 7's.Now I am going to say this now.This is not a Jackie Chan film or a Martial Arts film.The VHS's and DVD's have Jackie Chan's face on the cover and the film is called Jackie Chan's The Prisoner.But Jackie Chan is definitely not the main star of the film.He is a supporting actor who does have some fairly memorable scenes.This was the third film Jackie Chan had to do for actor Jimmy Wang Yu.The first was The Killer Meteors in 1976,then Fantasy Mission Force in 1982 and this film.Out of those three Jackie Chan films I must say that this was the best.Also the film is not a martial arts film.It is a gritty and violent prison film with profanity and violence but it does have some small traces of humor in it.The US release has some obvious scenes cut out.The film has a fairly good storyline.The film is about a man who'se girlfriends father got killed by some thugs.To find out who he must go to prison and explore the prison underworld.He does so by beating up a pimp.While he is there he meets and makes friends and enemies with the prisoners.That is one of the stories of the film.There are three stories related to the film.The second story is about another prisoner(Sammo Hung) who tries to escape from prison to see his son at boarding school.The third story is about a pool hustler(Jackie Chan) who gets into a fight with some triads for not losing.His girlfriend then gets stabbed by one of them.She needs a liver-transplant in 24hrs.So Jackie Chan tries gambling but after th others want to win back their money he gets into a fight with them and he himself ends up in prison.The Prisoner is a very underrated and good prison film with a fairly good storyline.The ending sort of came out of nowhere but whatever.The prisoner is a very good gritty and violent prison film which Jackie Chan is not the star of and I recommend it!

    Runtime:96min

    10/10
  • Film maker Chu Yin-Ping's Island of Fire (1990, Hong Kong) stars Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Andy Lau and Tony Leung and they're all great. Tony plays a cop who goes undercover into one infamous prison in order to search for the truth behind one criminal who was supposed to be dead but seems not to be that way. Jackie plays a sort of lowlife who kills a man and is sent to the prison. Andy plays a violent triad boss who seeks revenge for the man who killed his brother. Sammo is a man who misses his son and occasionally breaks free from the prison in order to see him, and is always badly beaten as a punishment. Living in that prison is dangerous and so are the wardens, and once violence finally reaches a horrific climax mostly because of Leung's character, some new aspects about the prison death sentences and those "killed" are revealed.

    Director Chu has made many films which include a violent and gritty triad film Requital (1992) and Island has some familiar elements from that film, too. Fortunately Island omits all the possible comic situations which too often destroy many otherwise great or noteworthy HK films and make them more than irritating to watch. Island is serious and pretty dark film and that is a great thing.

    There are couple of great and also emotional scenes which include the rice eating scene and Sammo meeting his son scene, but they remain a little separate as they don't, after all, give too much to the whole story, characters and film content and they just serve to give those scenes themselves some touching and dramatic elements without adding anything which would mean something important for the whole film. So this film is pretty shallow and misses any message or themes it may had been able to have. It has some heroic (bloodshed) scenes and scenes depicting the friendship and loyalty between the prisoners and those scenes are among the greatest things this film can give, but they are never handled as far as John Woo does, for example. Also, the ending is pretty non-believable but still great and gritty action scene which also could have meant something more than it now does. The gratuitous final image is there just to make the film look nicer and leave sweeter taste to the mouth, and thus it is pretty commercial and unnecessary, I think.

    The film concentrates on to give us fierce martial arts fights and equally fierce gun battles and as a pure action film this film succeeds and should please the junkies of HK action cinema, but if one prefers films with something more than just action, then Island of Fire isn't among the greatest recommendations. I can appreciate this due to its high impact action and mayhem on screen, again something never/rarely equaled by Western cinema, but still I give this "just" 6/10.

    The British DVD by Hong Kong Legends includes the rare deleted scenes (approx. 30 minutes) which were included only in the Taiwanese version of the film. They give many new aspects to the film character's and in a way improve the film. Also the interview with the director is among the most interesting (albeit brief) extras I've seen in any DVD.
  • I usually don't like martial arts movies, but this one appealed to me for the story line and the fighting scenes. The action was good and the scenes of life in prison seemed real. Prison is a hard place to me. Overall, Chan did a good job of portraying his character and the other aspects of life in prison. I even watched it twice.
  • This is the Chinese version of 'Cool Hand Luke'. I didn't like the Paul Newman version but after seeing this, I've got to give Paul Newman a lot more credit.

    I watch it because I'm a huge Jackie Chan fan. See it if you must, but watch the original first (Cool Hand Luke - 1967). The American version is much more entertaining.

    "Sometimes nothin' is a real cool hand"
  • Tweekums5 May 2018
    These comments are based on watching the English language US version of the film.

    After his friend is assassinated policeman Andy Lau is surprised to discover that the killer's fingerprints match those of a convict who had apparently been executed recently... either something is wrong with the computer records or something is very wrong at the prison. As it doesn't appear to be the former he agrees to go undercover in the prison to uncover the truth. The prison is a brutal place and Andy has nobody to go to if he gets in trouble. In the prison we are introduced to other key characters; John 'Fatty' Liu, who keeps escaping to visit his son; Steve, who is marked for death because he accidentally killed a crime boss's brother and Lucas, the unofficial leader of the convicts.

    I don't know if it was just the version of the film I watched but it certainly seemed rather lacking. The most obvious weakness is that once in prison Andy barely bothers to investigate; he asked a few questions about the late assassin, got in trouble with Lucas, then he was just another prisoner who gets caught up in a few scrapes. Jackie Chan is sold as the lead actor but in reality he plays a secondary character; we do get to see some of his trademark action, which is rather fun, at least. Sammo Hung provides some of the film's more amusing moments as John. There is a reasonable amount of action; the regular fight scenes are pretty good but the shootouts are a bit unrealistic to say the least. The acting looked good enough but the dub is pretty poor; none of the voices really went well with their characters making them hard to believe in. Overall I'd only recommend watching this version of the film if you are desperate to see it and can't find a Chinese version with subtitles.
  • alex07015314 August 2001
    This is a confused mixture of a cop movie, a Kung Fu fight movie, a prison movie and then they decide they need to make a Chinese version of Cool Hand Luke. I love Jackie Chan movies when he is funny, but this is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. It is a total waste of his wonderful talents. Sure, there are fight scenes, but there aren't that many. It looks like they kept changing their mind about what the movie was going to be, but they didn't redo the whole movie, just start the new direction and then splice it all together.
  • This film was a real disappointment to martial art and Jackie Chan films. The film states Jackie Chan's name and even shows only his face on the cover, but in actuality, he is only shown for about 15 minutes of the films duration. He does not play the main character. He is not shown doing his well-known martial arts skill and is mostly shown fight while wielding a weapon. This film could have been improved greatly.
  • meto-ege15 October 2020
    Warning: Spoilers
    One of the Best Films of Jackie Chan. i neve knewed that i watched as a kid everytime the short version.
  • Island Of Fire aka The Prisoner is a Chinese language prison actioner. I have the American version and usually US companies butcher Chinese movies to make them more marketable for action audiences, taking out important plot points and terrible English overdubbing. This movie is no exception to that, however I did find this reasonably entertaining. Tony Leung Ka Fai( who starred in Prison On Fire, The Lover,etc) is the lead here as an undercover cop that goes to prison. He is joined by Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Andy Lau and Jimmy Wang Yu. This ensemble cast did the movie as a favor and out of respect for Jimmy Wang Yu, who was also produced the film as well. The movie comes across a bit clunky as a poor man's Death Warrant, but with much better fight scenes. The movie rips off seemingly every prison movie ever made and the plot seems to drift off and end with a John Woo style shootout at the end. I'm sure the Tawainese version is better and makes more sense, but for action this is not a bad time passer at all. However, if you consider the combined talents of the cast, it was a wasted opportunity to do something great.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Personally, I liked this movie, when I was a kid. However, after rewatching it, as an adult. I can now say, this 1990 movie doesn't hold up! Its plot is all over the place. The film never chooses whether it wants to be a "comedy escapism movie", "life in a prison, gritty melodrama" film, a "smooth and cool hustle & con" movie, or a "over the top hit-man" film. You know that your movie is all directionless, when there is three different versions of this film!! That's pretty sad! First off, you got a 93-minute Hong Kong version, a 96-minute American version and then, 125-minute Taiwanese version which focuses more on character development and plot detail. The best one out of the three is the Taiwanese print. Yet, the version, I watch as a kid was the American version released by Columbia Tristar Home Video in 2000, under the title, 'Jackie Chan is The Prisoner'. Everything about this version was a big fat lie. Directed by Yen-Ping Chu as Lawrence Full, the films tells the story of an undercover cop, Wei Wang/ Andy Lau (Tony Leung Ka Fai) who goes into a deadly prison to infiltrate the establishment, because somebody in a prison is faking the deaths of convicts to later use them as expendable hit men for political targets. Without spoiling the movie, too much, though Jackie Chan is billed as the star of this film, he's actually part of a stellar ensemble cast, along some others including Sammo Hung & Andy Lau. The title is quite misleading, as Jackie Chan doesn't come into the film, until after the 15 minute mark and only stays for 30 minutes after that. It's pretty clear, that Chan is just appearing as a favor to the director, who was in dire financial trouble with some 'dodgy types' as his character clearly serves absolutely no purpose as his story as a pool hustler turn prisoner named Steve Tong really goes nowhere. Even his feud with Mob Boss, Lee/Iron Ball/Lau (Andy Lau), whom brother is accidentally killed by Steve is forgotten, during the middle part of the film. Nor does any of his story get resolve, even in the end. Does his girlfriend ever get the liver transplant?? Who Knows!? The movie never tells us. Also, what is with the out of place, 1986's 'Platoon', downer ending!? After all, I was rooting for comedy relief, Fatty Liu Hsi Chia / John Liu (Sammo Hung) to see his son, again. It's felt like if 1963's 'The Great Escape' kill off, Steven McQueen's character. It's a big mistake, even if the fat jokes don't mesh well with the rest of the film. I kinda like his character. Nevertheless, I also hate that the focus of the film keeps shifting from one character to another, sometimes even focusing too much on minor characters like prison leader, Lucas/ Ki (Yu Wang) or Chiu/ Charlie (Tsung-Hua Tuo) It took nearly half of the movie to establish, why each character was in prison. It really ate a lot of screen time. No wonder, why this movie has pacing issues. Added to the fact, that most of their sub-stories doesn't add much with the overall plot. It's pretty serve as filler. Another thing, why was this movie, even called 'Island of Fire' in Taiwan and Hong Kong and now U.S!?! Yes, I know, it was filmed in island nations of Taiwan & Philippines, but it has little to do, with nationality patriotism themes. Even, the film's theme song, 'The Last Gunshot' by Cui Jian has nothing to do with the plot. As it was written as a response to the 4 June 1989 Tiananmen massacre in Beijing, China. Honestly, if this movie was a political thriller, maybe that title and song would be logical, but here, it makes no sense. Even the brutal action and escape attempts scenes are a bit too unrealistic. Jackie Chan & Sammo Hung's silly scarce elaborate martial arts stunts don't mesh well, with the grittiness, this movie is trying to pull. Surprising, it's was very jarring to see Chan & Hung with guns, later in the film, fighting in an all-out-gun battle. I really don't see them, having to resort to armed weapons, before. It's also odd, that they take out a large amount of heavily armed soldiers with a few handguns, while the police and military oddly mostly miss them. This mindless scene was really unnecessary. Even the prison scenes don't make much sense. After all, what type of prison allows, a known escape-attempt convict, so much, access to material that would help him, escape!? It doesn't add up! Also, what type of prison, allows the brother of a murder victim to hang out with his brother's murderer!? Add to the fact, that this movie thinks that every inmate is a ballsy assassin in the making. Another problem, this movie has, is the English dubbing. Unfortunately, the film does no attempt or effort in matching the actor's lip action. Sometimes, I wasn't even sure, which character was even speaking, since the mouth was closed most of the time and the tone of voice did not match the character's demeanor! Overall: 'Island of Fire' is highly clichés, lost, and dated. I really can't believe, there is a loosely based-sequel to this film, 1997's 'Burning Island 2'. It's also not the best prison movie out there nor martial art film. I really can't recommended watching both of these movies. It's capital punishment.
  • Jackie Chan is not the star of this crazy collage as the video box suggests. I can't believe he made a movie with this much profanity and gratuitous violence. It just doesn't seem to be him. He isn't in the movie very much though. The action in this is very mediocre. It is funny at the end Jackie when Jackie is running around with guns blazing killing people like he is Rambo.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie is not a Jackie Chan movie, despite his name plastered all over the cover.

    But that's the least of it's problems.

    If you want to watch a somewhat nostalgic 90's movie featuring ridiculous Jackie Chan hair, this movie is for you. If you want to watch something coherent, stay far, far away.

    Basically, what we have here is a poor attempt at a prison movie. The plot focuses around a cop who goes undercover in a prison in an attempt to find out details about an inmate who's believed to have faked his own death.

    Simple enough plot. Problem: why in the hell did he have to beat the crap out of someone in order to get thrown in the prison? Couldn't the police just have made arrangements for him, rather than him serving a 2 year sentence to get some basic information? Jackie Chan's "character" is even worse. He gets thrown in the prison for what was clearly a manslaughter in self defense, and hardly appears in the movie at all. His character serves absolutely no purpose.

    There are some other characters along the way, like Sammo Hung, but ultimately the result is a shoddy movie that constantly features innocent men purposely committing crimes to get thrown in prison to fulfill a personal vendetta.

    Of course, that's not all. The last 15 minutes, the four male leads all have their executions faked and are suddenly now killing machines on an assassination mission.

    I don't use the term killing machines lightly - they take out numerous heavily armed soldiers through the use of a few handguns.

    The most comical part comes in the last scene of the movie when the undercover cop (now free) reunites with his girlfriend - the same girlfriend from two years ago when the movie began. The film clearly states that she had no idea he was undercover in prison; so basically, he screwed her over and she's happy to see him.

    To end it all, we have a small blooper reel during the credits which ultimately ends with a freeze frame of Jackie's smiling face, despite the fact he only gets a whopping 20 minutes of screen time.

    In short, avoid. This movie will leave you with more questions than answers, and it's not worth your time to ponder them.

    I don't want to get hung up on the whole "this isn't a Jackie Chan movie" thing, but the reality is that he only appeared in this movie as a favor to the director, who helped Jackie get out of some trouble with triads in the early 80's.

    In fact, Jackie hates this movie so much that he bought it's rights to ensure it's never distributed again (if you look around, you'll notice that it is no longer produced on DVD in any country).
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Spoiler" describes my comments on this movie. If you haven't seen it, don't read this review.

    "Jackie Chan is The Prisoner." Usually when a title has the name of an actor in it, that actor is the main character.

    Not in "The Prisoner". Jackie Chan plays a tiny role, hardly showing his face in a fade-in, fade-out movie.

    Here's the plotline as far as I can tell (most of it is clouded by unnecessary dialogue and boring scenes): a policeman needs to reveal the plans of some guy who is in charge of a prison. In order to do that, he gets himself into trouble and ends up in the prison to go "undercover". First of all, why did he need to get in trouble? Couldn't the police department just stick him in there? Maybe not, but we never find out.

    He makes a friend, and the movie goes on in a hum-drum fashion, having little to do with helping the plot.

    Somehow Jackie Chan gets into a fight with a guy because he is the best pool player around. This man wanted him to lose a billiards game, but Jackie Chan didn't, so the guy tries to kill him and his girlfriend. His girlfriend gets stabbed in the back and needs a liver transplant (???). We never hear about her again with the exception of one line toward the end. He plays one long game of poker or other card game with someone and wins a ton of money, but this guy wants the money back and tries to fight him. Jackie accidentally kills him and ends up in the same prison. What are the chances of that happening?

    The plot moves on unsteadily. One guy constantly tries to escape to see his son and another loves his pet mouse, which we see only once.

    Soon the card gamer's brother gets in trouble and ends up in the same prison (what are the chances of THAT happening?) so he can kill Jackie Chan. They fight and Jackie ends up killing the head commissioner or somebody like that. Like I said, everything is clouded and foggy.

    Jackie and three others undergo a fake execution and must now kill some guy who we've never heard of before. There are a lot of guys in this movie.

    And then they turn invincible. They take on practically an army of guards and military personnel armed with semi-automatic and automatic weapons while they have only handguns. They never miss, yet the military personnel can never hit. Suddenly mass killing ensues.

    At one point, they are all running on a runway while fifty or sixty men are all firing at them. They aren't hit once until they almost reach their plane. Then they all die except the main character who blows open the big bad guy's plot.

    The plot has as many holes as swiss cheese, and the storyline to go with it is lacking exciting events. Nothing fits together, and the viewer is left behind to wonder what exactly is going on. Don't get me wrong. Most Jackie Chan movies have shallow plotlines, but they make it up with the excellently choreographed fight sequences. This one just puts guns to use to make mindless killing and boring fight scenes very unoriginal and useless.

    Nothing you'd expect to see in a Jackie Chan movie.
  • A cast of great actors is wasted in this "do me a favor" movie that Jackie did as a favor to Jimmy Wang Yu for helping Jackie out with triads bothering him. Sammo, Andy Lau,Tony Leung Ka Fai and JC are completely wasted in this poorly made and boring film.
  • bizzyd1825 October 2002
    this is not what you would call an original jc film, the plot alone may turn some fans away. id say watch it before you judge.in some sense it still has some of chan's trademarks. helping defending and honesty,at first the film seems quite boring but after a while i was starting to enjoy it*****not one for the weak hearted*******
  • First of all, this movie doesnt really have main character. There are five of them. Like the original trailer says, "five stories in one", the film is about five main characters, whose life are somehow related to each other. Jackie Chan does a different role in this movie. Role is similiar to Heart of the Dragons. There are only few fight's, but it didnt bother me. I didnt watch this as a Chan movie.

    Movie is touching especially the ending. Surprising is the violence level in this movie. Endings big shootout and some other brutal violence too. The way jail-staff(movie happens in jail)treats the main character's made me wanting them to die. Guards are real a***oles.

    Movie success as a drama too. Samo Hung's character is most touching. He desperately escapes from jail to meet his son and pays for it, with pain. Ending is surprising and shocking. This movie is very very good. I can recommend this movie to every one who likes HK movies. Great actors. Great plot. Great emotions. I loved it.
  • Deranged, but pretty decent prison drama. Jackie's pretty cool in it, playing a somewhat unlikable character. My favorite though is Sammo Hung, who keeps escaping the prison, just to see his son, and the all-star cast is cool to see. It's not really bad, but the ending comes out of nowhere, even though it is cool to see. Jackie did this one to pay back a debt....
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