No matter if you are a fan of the martial arts or not everyone knows Jackie Chan. His status as both an actor and stuntman has become legendary at this point giving fans an expectation of what they will be getting with each film. Back in 1991 he debuted his film Operation Condor aka Fei ying gai wak about an Indiana Jones type adventurer with martial arts action that featured some of the most amazing stunts and action ever. Now he is returning to that character in a reboot of sorts with his latest film Chinese Zodiac, but does this more mature Chan plan to bring the same over the top action to this series or will he finally feel the need to tone it down?
Chinese Zodiac follows a mercenary and his team who set out to recover several lost artifacts from the Old Summer Palace, the bronze heads of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals which was looted by foreigners in the 1800s. Assisted by a Chinese student and a Parisian lady, Hawk stops at nothing to accomplish the mission. When the film begins it jumps right into the insane action using wild technology that has become expected from this series. It sets a tone that you are walking right into an old school Chan film and instantly gets you excited for what’s in store. Then as it shifts to the bigger picture of the story it slows down to a crawl. It looks as though Chan is working to create a more story driven adventure, which is fine and works great, but knowing what you expect from Chan will likely lose some. Make no mistake, there are some huge action pieces in the film, they are just spaced out pretty far apart and never quite live up to those in the past, but that could be just because of the high standard Chan is held too at this point. The second half of the film takes fans into a more familiar territory bringing all the fun that they are used to including a great sequence involving skydiving and a volcano. The fight sequences that are here are all great and while not all as hardcore as some of his past he has not missed a step and still manage to be some of the best out there.
This is not the usual insane Jackie Chan action epic that fans are used to, but instead a more story driven with bigger action pieces in an attempt to make a broader film. Some fans may not get it and that’s fine, they can always refer back to his awesome catalog of films while the rest of us let this new chapter in Chan’s career play out to see where it is heading.