By: John M Jerva

Video Reviews By: The Arty Dans

Welcome to the first installment of the Asian Action Hot List which is a special series of articles I am doing with The Arty Dans at Asian Film Fans! These articles will delve deep into Asian action cinema and we will be covering lists that include top movies from the region old and new as well as the major players in the genre like Donnie Yen and Iko Uwais and many more.

First up, we start with the icon himself Jackie Chan in a series of Rapid Fire Reviews and here we are covering his last five film attempts in recent years. Some are good while others not so much but one thing is certain and that Chan can elevate any film he is in even to this day whether it be good or bad. Chan will next be seen starring alongside WWE super star turned actor John Cena in Project: X-Traction AKA Snafu so before that film hits, lets take a look at Jackie’s last five theatrical efforts!

Let’s get this inaugural entry started and directly below, check out the special video from Action-Flix contributor The Arty Dans as he gives his thoughts on the same five films and then by all means continue to scroll down and read below and hear my thoughts on how Chan has been doing in his older years. Enjoy!

1) The Foreigner (2017)

The story of humble London businessman Quan (Chan), whose long-buried past erupts in a revenge-fueled vendetta when the only person left for him to love – his teenage daughter – is taken from him in a senseless act of politically-motivated terrorism. In his relentless search for the identity of the terrorists, Quan is forced into a cat- and-mouse conflict with a Irish government official (Brosnan), whose own past may hold clues to the identities of the elusive killers.

With a career spanning multiple decades and mostly known for delivering hyper paced martial arts excitement with a comedic twist, a much older and wiser Jackie Chan gets serious with this 2017 action-thriller which teams him up with Pierce Brosnon. The film is a tight, taught nail biter with Chan delivering one of his best dramatic performances to date and in his 60’s, he shows audiences that he can still deliver the bone crunching goods. Gone is the humorous, extended action sequences and instead, fans get to see the Chan Man dish out some brutal close quarters fight sequences. Throw in James Bond himself and this is one awesome thriller with Chan demonstrating that he’s still got it when it comes to exhilarating fight scene action!

4.5 Out Of 5 Stars- ACTION FLIX APPROVED!

2) Bleeding Steel (2017)

Hong Kong police inspector Lin Dong learns that a biochemical invention has been surgically implanted into his missing daughter. With help from a hacker, Lin tries to connect the dots between the device, a sinister army and a strange phenomenon.

Never one to label himself in the genre that he helped build throughout the years, international action star Jackie Chan switches it up a little with this sci-fi action effort which relies heavily on CGI infused special effects. This one is a mixed bag as the movie suffers from unfunny jokes, poorly used CGI, characters you don’t really care about and a plot that is all over the place. The good news is that it still features some pretty fierce action set pieces and once again, in his 60’s, Chan is still proving that he is the one and only master of onscreen fight action as he executes numerous fisticuffs snd stunts like he’s still young. Forget about the rest of the movie and just stay for Chan still doing what he does best!

2.5 Out of 5 Stars

3) Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang (2019)

A legendary demon hunter investigates the disappearance of young girls from a village.

Chan delivers his fan base a fantasy epic here and those expecting a slam bang fight fest will surely be disappointed as this one is more about the fantasy, adventure and once again CGI fueled mayhem. Some of the versions of this film suffer from poor translations but it still has Chan and his charisma all over it and even though this is more of a wire-fu spectacle then a Jackie Chan jaw dropping stunt and action fest, it still is worth a watch if you’re in the mood for this type of flick. The ending is way over the top and I expected to see giant robots come out at one point with all the special effects but Chan’s presence elevates what would be a forgettable film without his involvement.

2.5 Out of 5 Stars

4) Iron Mask (2019)

For the first time ever, screen legends Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan face off against each other in the epic fantasy-adventure Iron Mask, premiering everywhere on Digital and On Demand November 20th and on Blu-ray and DVD November 24th from Lionsgate. In order to save his homeland from certain doom, a kung fu master (Chan) must escape from the maniacal James Hook (Schwarzenegger) in order to send his daughter a secret talisman that will allow her to control a massive and mythical dragon. This larger-than-life, globe-trotting tale – ranging from the impenetrable Tower of London to the fabled Silk Road and China’s Great Wall – also stars Rutger Hauer in one of the screen icon’s final performances.

This entry is a curious one as it is a co-production from Russia and China and it pretty much has everything thrown into it including the kitchen sink. There’s martial arts action, pirates, monsters snd a lot of WTF moments in it snd if you turn your brain off and I do mean way off, it might serve as a 2 hour time burner. The advertising is false here though as Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger are top billed and all over the marketing campaign snd while they are in it snd they do tangle, they a more than cameos here with other actors you probably haven’t heard of being the main characters. It’s ambitious and a mess but the two action legends do make an impression in what little screen time they have.

2 Out of 5 Stars

5) Vanguard (2020)

When a client of the international “Vanguard” security agency is kidnapped during Chinatown’s famous Lunar celebrations in London, this elite team (led by Chan) is sent to the rescue, taking them on a wildly ambitious mission all over the world. The adventure takes them from the rivers of Africa, to a heavily guarded fort in India, and an exhilarating car chase in Dubai, all the while unravelling a global conspiracy.

This year, Jackie was back in a big way in the big budgeted globetrotting action adventure Vanguard which reunited Chan with director Stanley Tong who directed him in such classics like Rumble in the Bronx. Unfortunately here, Vanguard is an absolute mess with some of the worst CGI seen lately (the tiger was horrible) and action scenes that were so over the top, it almost became a comic book. Chan is more of a co-star here as the younger stars like Yang Yang take over and while he’s the brightest spot of the film delivering the best action sequences, it’s not saying a lot. Coming from Chan and Tong, one would expect a lot more in return but here it’s a severe missed opportunity. This one is for Jackie Chan super fans only.

2 Out of 5 Stars

As we wrap up this inaugural entry of the Asian Action Hot List, it’s also important to remember that Jackie did appear in more films in this time span which included “Naimya” and “The Climbers” which starred Wu Jing. The latter was a blink and miss cameo while the other one was more of the same.

These last five efforts have been severely hit or miss but I feel that Jackie should give us more of what he did in The Foreigner. He’s older now and that type of action suits him much better these days. He’s still got a lot of gas left in the tank so hopefully Project: X-Traction (Snafu) will deliver the goods. I’m hoping for great chemistry between Chan and Cena combined with exhilarating action set pieces from the two accomplished ass kickers and Jackie proving once again why he’s an icon in the genre.

There you have it! The first Asian Action Hot List! Check back in the future as we will cover it all from the world of Asian Action Cinema. The best films and most influential stars will be covered courtesy of Action-Flix.com and Asian Film Fans!

Keep it locked and loaded right here as we are your destination for everything in Asian Action Cinema!

Action-Flix.com has partnered with the awesome website and YouTube channel Asian Film Fans to bring you the best in Asian action, horror, fantasy and comedy. All info and trailers are courtesy of AFF.

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