I love Jackie Chan’s early work, Project A, Wheels on Meals, Police Story, Gorgeous, there are so many great movies with amazing fights in them. As Chan has got older, he is obviously less able than he used to be. Hidden Strike is a movie that shows this.
When I first saw the trailer, I immediately noticed the lack of fighting in it. Chan is known for fighting in his movies, it’s his trademark. Hidden Strike does have fighting in it, but it’s not well done.
The main plot is straightforward:
Two ex-special forces soldiers must escort a group of civilians along Baghdad’s “Highway of Death” to the safety of the Green Zone.
We meet Dragon, played by Chan, as a private security agent and his team head to a Chinese oil refinery in Iraq. I want to make a joke about a red flag, but I’m not going to. You never know who’s listening.
The oil refinery is being attacked by mercenaries and everyone needs to be rescued. Dragon, and the team, need to drive them to safety through the Highway of Death. They can’t fly them out, because the plot has to happen.
One of the mercenaries is the brother to Chris Van Horne, played by John Cena. His brother convinces him to attack the convoy to get revenge on a man who had attacked them years ago. Also, with the money they would make, Chris could give the money to his local village and provide them with water. This makes Chris out to be a merc with a heart of gold. You can guess where this goes later.
They attack the convoy and take prisoners, one of who has the codes for the oil refinery. Turns out, Chris’ brother is working for a bad guy, he gets shot and Chris must get revenge. Then he meets up with Dragon and you’ll never guess what? They become best friends and save the day. The end.
The action in this movie is terrible. There is more green screen than sand, all of the fights are generic, bordering on ridiculous. There was one fight on a bus with a member of Dragon’s team and a merc and the camera pans around them and up and down and all over the place. It’s meant to look engaging, but it was bloody stupid.
Chan does fight in the movie and there are a couple of decent moments, but the overall movie is really weak. There is a fight at the end with Chan and some random bad guy. Yet for some reason, the room fills with foam, so you can’t really see anything.
Chan is known for his complex fight sequences, usually filmed in one shot, from a distance, and look amazing. In Hidden Strike, the ‘big fight’ looked like an Ibiza foam party.
He does have a fight with Cena when they first meet, and it’s a paint-by-numbers affair. Cena does some wrestling moves, Chan does some stunts. Repeat. The director doesn’t let Jackie be Jackie. As I said, he is getting older, but he could still do it if he was given the chance. The bad news is that the director of this is also helming the new Expendables 4.
The main issue with this movie is that it’s all about Chinese propaganda. Chan is Chinese and that’s not his fault, but Hidden Strike sees Dragon saving Chinese people from the oil refinery, having been sent there by the government like the Chinese authorities really care about their people.
Cena’s really selling out here as he helps Chan rescue the same people. A little while ago, silly old Cena said that Taiwan was a country and that seemed to upset some people over in that part of the world. As we all know, Taiwan is a part of greater China!
This movie was just an excuse for Cena to apologize, again, about his comments. OK, so he did get to work with Jackie Chan, but at what cost John? At what cost?
This isn’t a Jackie Chan movie, it’s a cheap Chinese knock-off, ironically. The action is dull and all green screen, Chan didn’t break any bones and it’s just a mess of a story.
At the beginning of Hidden Strike, as Dragon is driving the buses of people through the Valley of the Gwangi, Cena and his mercs use a jet engine, strapped to a lorry, to create a (CGI) sand storm. Literally, moments earlier, Cena was saying that $100,000 could save his village.
I don’t know how much jet engines cost to procure, or to modify them to strap them to a lorry to make sandstorms, but I’m pretty sure if Cena had the money to buy a jet engine, he could have made a water pump in his village? But I’m no expert.
The story is very predictable all the way through. You know that Chan and Cena are going to end up as mates. It was as obvious as Disney side-lining a male character in their own TV show.
Hidden Strike gets 0.5 out of 5 stars. Go through Chan’s back catalog of movies and find something better instead.
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