For people who've discovered Jackie Chan through his American hit Rush Hour
and want to learn what his Hong Kong movies are like, Project A
is an excellent place to start.
Chan plays a sailor in 19th-century Hong Kong; pirates have been terrorizing the seas for months, and all efforts to combat them have been sabotaged by the corrupt chief of police and a criminal gang, who are in cahoots with the pirates. But the plot is hardly the point - a Jackie Chan movie is about astonishingly acrobatic action sequences and breathtaking stunts, and Project A
has plenty. Of particular interest is a bicycle chase that is more suspenseful than any car chase you've ever seen. Chan is joined by Sammo Hung (star of TV's Martial Law
) as a shifty con man who comes through when the chips are down.
also features Yuen Biao, a frequent costar in Chan's movies, who's yet another astounding martial artist. But what separates Jackie Chan movies from other kung fu flicks is his sense of humour; every fight scene is punctuated by something - a clever use of a prop or sudden reversal of your expectations - that will make you bark with laughter. Sometimes it's just so exquisitely choreographed that the entire movie seems to float on a cloud of giddy delight. Purists may object to the movie being dubbed, but given the overall hamminess of the acting, it's not particularly intrusive. Jackie Chan is often compared to the classic silent comedians for his grace and timing; he lives up to it.
An extremely entertaining Hong Kong flick. Prepare be amazed.
takes the standard American mismatched-buddies action comedy formula and turbo-charges it with furious Hong Kong wirework and martial arts. The result is a three-and-a-half million dollar "B" picture which looks like it cost 10 times more.
The perfunctory story crosses Universal Solider
with Rush Hour
as a biologically enhanced Mark Dacascos flees a small army of Hong Kong assassins through California, teaming up with comedian Kadeem Hardison and delivering an almost unbelievable amount of bang per buck. Director Steve Wang stages the action with flair and clarity, the stunts, wirework and fights being exceptionally well-choreographed and shot. With Hardison's patter, two offbeat redneck assassins and a TV show about a frog with Einstein's brain there's abundant surprisingly genial humour, aided by Brittany Murphy's ditzy performance as a Twin Peaks-like teenager with hormones in overdrive.
The cyborg aspect simply justifies the superhuman combat, but nevertheless a huge showdown in a retro-space age club is clearly styled after the "Tech Noir" bar sequence in The Terminator
, adding motorcycle killersstraight out of [I]Rollerball. Drive
captures the rush of Hong Kong action movies yet almost has the feel of a musical, the mayhem replacing song and dance and offering more popcorn entertainment than many a bloated summer blockbuster.
A solid, low budget actioner. Intense and entertaining.