HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Jackie Chan's First Strike
HTS Overall Score:70
We don’t just get ONE Jackie Chan movie from Warner this week, we actually get TWO of them! One more horribly dubbed Jackie Chan movie to fill out our collections of 1990’s action films thank you very much. I have to admit that I really love these movies, even if we don’t get the original language track that many of these had in an international market. The stories are beyond cheesy, but no one really cares, as they are just filler time between fight scenes and Jackie doing acrobatic stunts all over the place. “Jackie Chan’s First Strike” is another in a long list of his films that is just slowly coming out on Blu-ray and I’m only sad that we haven’t seen “Who am I” or “Mr. Nice Guy” on the horizon anytime soon.
Hong Kong Police Officer Jackie (Jackie Chan) is given on assignment to the CIA to track down an international arms deal going on in the Ukraine, only to find out that there is much more to this than meets the eye. He tracks down Natasha (Nonna Grishaeva), the suspect, but then discovers that her contact is an ex CIA agent named Jackson Tsui (Jackson Liu). Guns go off, Jackie has to open a can on some bad guys and Tsui gets away. Transferred once more by his superiors to the FSB to continue the operation, Jackie is sent over to Australia to sit on Tsui’s sister, Annie (Annie Wu) in hopes that the rogue agent will pop his head up. Especially considering that his father is dying in an Australian hospital and can act as double bait.
Arriving in Australia, Things turn dicey real quickly, as Jackie soon learns that his Russian friends aren’t on the up and up. It turns out that his FSB contact is actually part of the Russian Mafia, and that Tsui has been forced to work for him under duress. Sick and tired of the games and subterfuge, Tsui agrees to help Jackie bring in this rogue Russian agent and stop him from making this international deal of death.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=54826[/img]Yeah, the story is pretty much trash, and the acting is just as bad. The awful dubbing job adds to it and the whole plot is basically a joke inside of a joke used to pad the movie out between fight scenes. Those deficiencies, as horrible as they may be for a normal film, isn’t even a slight hindrance for those of you wanting to watch a Jackie Chan film. I mean, none of us go into this type of film expecting much. We’re all here to watch the incredible action star beat up his own body with ridiculous stunts and high flying martial arts action, and there is PLENTY of stunts and action. We’ve got a snowboarding/snowmobile action scene where guys on snowmobiles and skis engage in high speed pursuit of our hero down a snow capped mountain, shooting machine guns at him the whole time. Then we have a kung-fu fight involving long sticks, a giant A-frame ladder and scaffolding equipment. Then of course there’s the famous finale where Jackie engages a cadre of Russian behemoths….underwater….in a shark tank. And that’s just half of the fight scenes.
“First Strike” is almost as good as “Rumble in the Bronx” in my opinion. So much so that I actually have a hard time ranking one above the other. The fights are awesome, the dubbing terrible, and Jackie Chan’s trademark humor is hysterical. There’s only a few things that really puzzle me about the direction of the movie, as Jackson Liu runs around 99% of the time with a horrible blond set of wigs that wouldn’t fool a monkey, let alone a living breathing human being. I’d expect a top level CIA agent to actually put some effort into his disguise instead of looking like he just came out of a 99 cent story in the half off clearance section. The fights are plain awesome, but his first American/International releases like this and “Rumble In the Bronx” feel a little less polished than Jackie’s younger days in Hong Kong as well as his later American movies like “Rush Hour” and the like. Still, entertaining as all get out.
Rated PG-13 for plentiful action/violence
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=54834[/img]“Jackie Chan’s First Strike” is very similar looking, in terms of print quality, as “Rumble in the Bronx” is. It has a nice healthy layer of grain to the image, and it's actually from a new 2K print. There’s some print smudges here and there, a bit of striations on the image and it occasionally flickers, but colors are very solid, showing off some great white snow, as well as wonderful blues and natural yellows in Australia. Contrasts are decent, but skin tones look a bit ruddy at times. Blacks are good to great, although I noticed some crush in the shadows. Fine detail is very impressive at times, but the image does suffer from bouts of softness and even a bit of haloing at times. It’s a decent transfer, and definitely a big upgrade from my old New Line DVD lying around my house, just not a stellar remastering done.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=54842[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA English track is rather well done, though. Dialog is crisp and clear (despite the awful dubbing), and there is some rather decent surround usage during the action sequences. Bullets whiz around from all directions and the fisticuffs and body impacts add to the dimensionality of the track. The overly hot LFE issue from “Rumble in the Bronx” doesn’t plague “First Strike”, and is actually quite nice. There’s never any hugely bassy moments, but it adds some nice weight to the fight scenes. Like "Rumble in the Bronx" all the secondary audio tracks actually are DTS-HD MA lossless as well, instead of the usual Dolby Digital Lossy audio, which is a nice surprise.
“First Strike” is a total hoot of an action film, blending copious amounts of humor along with an incredible array of Chan’s trademark stunts. I’ve become so used to stunt men doing all the leg work and quick camera cuts to make it seem like the actors are totally awesome ninjas, but watching “First Strike” made me shake my head in pure amazement as the actor’s amazing use of his body. THIS is what action films were like back in the day, and I truly miss the long shots that allow you to see the full fights instead of a blur of action meant to trick your brain into thinking you saw a fight scene. Audio and video are decent, the side effect of an older master, and there is no real extras besides a trailer, but again. It’s a $9.98 MSRP film, which I can’t complain, considering “First Strike” very well may not have been released at all.
Starring: Jackie Chan, Bill Tung, Greg Mellott, Elliot Tong
Directed by: Stanley Tong
Written by: Edward Tang, Fibe Ma
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish (Castllian), Spanish (Hispanic), Thai, German DTS-HD MA 2.0
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 84 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: September 6th 2015
Buy Jackie Chan's First Strike On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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