Review: Jackie Chan Delivers an Exciting Dose of Nostalgic Action, Heartfelt Drama & Signature Slapstick in RIDE ON!

Friday, April 7th was action and martial arts icon Jackie Chan’s birthday with the star celebrating his astounding 69th birthday. Chan has been prolific in action films both in Asia and North America for decades now and with his recent birthday, Well Go USA released his newest venture Ride On into select theaters. One time, Jackie was known as the action star who needed no stunt double as he did all of his death defying stunts and fight sequences himself. Some of the stunts, like the almost fatal fall while filming Armor of the Gods, have almost cost him his life or at the very least severe injury. With Chan pushing 70, it is obvious that he doesn’t have all that he did back in the day but he is still delivering a little of that old magic with films like Ride On which sees him starring in a semi-autobiographical movie about an aging stuntman who is nearing the end of his career and will do anything to keep his trusted horse to which he has been with for years.

Ride On isn’t perfect Jackie Chan but it still brings genre audiences some Chan magic with excitingly choreographed fight sequences, physical slapstick and a dash of family drama. This newest project sees Chan doing what he does best and even with its flaws, it still has the fun, humor and action of his days when he reigned supreme as the biggest international action star in the world. Even in his golden years, Jackie is still a force to be reckoned with and Ride On is proof positive that the icon still has some gas left in the tank.

Ride On has Jackie starring as Lao Luo who is an aging stuntman that has seen better days in the movie industry. At one time, Lao was the biggest draw in movies and along with his trusty horse Red Hare, the two were an unmatched duo. Times have changed though, and Lao is in financial hardship as work is no longer there like it was in the past. To make ends meet, Lao offers fans rides on top of Red Hare and photo ops to make their day. It’s a shell of what these two used to do but tough times call for tough measures. Luo’s luck starts to change for the better when he’s recorded taking on a group of money lenders and with this video, newfound fame finds Lao and Red Hare. However, things take a 180 when Luo sees himself back on top, and while both he and Red Hare start to get more stunt work, a couple of nefarious lawyers come knocking and try to take Red Hare away saying that he is the property of someone else.

Now in trouble, Luo seeks out his estranged daughter Xiao Bao (newcomer Liu Haocun) who happens to have a boyfriend named Naihua (Guo Qilin) who is a lawyer and the two team up together in an attempt to prevent Luo from losing his best friend. Of course, while Xiao and her bo work to keep Red Hare, Lao works at repairing the damaged relationship he has with his daughter and thus the heavy handed doses of dram come into play.

The trailer for Ride On would make it seem that the movie is a straight on action-comedy but this is a little misleading as it is more of a family drama with slapstick action and hijinks sprinkled throughout the movie’s running time. Some fans might be put off by this but for those of you who stick it out, you will be rewarded with several on screen fights that deliver some of that old school Jackie Chan magic. If you want full on Jackie style action and slapstick trickery, then you’d best seek out Police Story or Drunken Master instead. If you’re fine with something a little different from the icon, then you will find a lot to like about Ride On.

The action in Ride On doesn’t reinvent the wheel by any stretch of the imagination but they are well choregraphed by fight choreographer Guanhua Han, and Jun He working who is the stunt coordinator. Both men have worked with Chan several times in the past on movies like Chinese Zodiac (2012), Police Story 2013 and Railroad Tigers (2016) so they know how to shoot Jackie in these scenes and even though there is the use of stuntmen and hyper-kinetic editing from time to time to make him look good, Chan still has enough left in the tank to satisfy his followers with multiple sequences of Lao using props and furniture to get the job done. Like I said, Chan is pushing 70 so he needs a little help now from time to time to fill in some spots but make no mistake, a man of his age, he still moves better than a lot of younger actors out there.

The movie employs more drama than anything and I was actually OK with this as Chan has excelled in recent years showing off a more serious side to himself in films like Shinjuku Incident (2009) which actually had next to nothing in terms of action and one of my personal favorite Jackie Chan films which is 2017’s The Foreigner. In this golden era of his career, Chan has almost reinvented himself as a more serious actor and it’s paid off. But unlike those other dramas, Ride On still serves up a lot of humor and signature Chan spectacle that we are used to. If you can accept what is new then you will definitely eat up what is old.

Now adding to the nostalgia factor, director Larry Yang surrounds Chan with such Asian icons as Yu Rongguang (Iron Monkey), Ray Lui, Xing Yu and the one and only Wu Jing from the Wolf Warrior films. Before you get excited, let me point out that Jing and Chan do not fight as this film does not call for it but Jackie does have a standout altercation with Andy On (Abduction) who plays a debt collector.

Yang serves up numerous easter eggs throughout for serious Chan fans which include the star wearing an outfit straight out of Asian Hawk to a training montage that looks like it was lifted from Drunken Master. There’s even a sequence where we see Lao’s stunt work firsthand which is actually Jackie doing stunts from some of his most iconic films. The whole movie basically gives you a wink and a nudge if you’re paying attention and I loved that factor of it.

Now the film wins when Jackie and the cast interact with Red Hare the horse who is one seriously crazy thoroughbred. Red Hare is almost like another human in the movie as he has his own standout personality and offers up most of the film’s funniest moments. Jackie’s chemistry with Red Hare is sincere and it comes off perfectly onscreen. The movie is at its best when the two of them interact and Red Hare gets a lot of standout moments when it comes to the action set pieces as well. The horse is essentially a scene stealer.

Overall, Ride On isn’t a game changer for Jackie Chan and many will be put off by the heavy doses of drama that takes away from the action and lighthearted humor and slapstick moments. Jackie is in a new era of his life and with it he’s doing different things and even though this isn’t vintage Jackie Chan per say, there is still a lot of that which made him famous. There’s the beware of your surroundings action set pieces, numerous sight gags and some of that old school charm that made Jackie who he is today.

It’s nostalgic from start to finish with Chan basically making a love letter to his career and fans. It’s bittersweet as just like Lao Luo, Jackie won’t be doing this forever. If we get more movies like Ride On in the future be thankful because that means, we are still getting signature Jackie Chan to the best of his ability. Ride On is an extreme step up from some off his other films like Vanguard and Kung Fu Yoga. With Jackie being at the twilight of his illustrious career, it’s still nothing short of kick ass seeing what he does best and that’s entertain on a whole other level.

VERDICT: 3.5 Out of 5 Stars

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


Jackie Chan might be older and needs the occasional stuntman, but he still has that star power, charisma and fighting moves to entertain the masses!

Ride On is now playing in theaters from Well Go USA!

When debt collectors try—and fail—to seize a horse from a stuntman (Jackie Chan), video of the attempt goes viral. Furious, the debt collectors return, leading to hilarious, action-packed antics that outdo even the pair’s most daring acts.

Directed by:
Larry Yang (Adoring, Mountain Cry)

Jackie Chan (Rush Hour franchise, Drunken MasterThe Karate Kid)
Liu Haocun (Zhang Yimou’s Cliff Walkers )
Kevin Guo(Adoring)
Wu Jing (The Wandering Earth, Wolf Warrior)


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