Jackie Chan's First StrikeJackie Chan steps into another sequel of the popular Police Story franchise with First Strike.  This time Jackie still plays Chan Ka-Kui, but in the English language version his name is simply ‘Jackie Chan’.

Our man Jackie has been working for the CIA,  keeping a close eye on a Nuclear smuggling case.  He is told to follow a woman to Ukraine who might be a strong lead, when following this woman she is suddenly arrested and Jackie must follow her to where she makes the next connection – a man named Jackson Lou.  After a few things go wrong and fire fight breaks out at the scene, Jackson flees.  Jackie wakes up in a Russian hospital afterwards, but makes a quick recovery and heads to Australia, to meet up with Jackson’s sister to get more info.

Once he is in Australia, Jackson catches up with Jackie and reveals that he is being used and could be in danger.  Jackie walks away from the men who hired him, but then they go after him and frame him for the murder of Jackson’s father.  So Jackie is on the run and as he was taken to Australia illegally, everyone around him is a potential enemy.

Gigantic enemies

A lot of fun!

Nothing new here, Jackie’s movies are always a heap of fun!

Seeing him get about in Australia cuddling koalas, wearing a koala hat and (as you’d find out in the movie) wearing koala underwear!  He seems to be living the life of a tourist whilst trying to crack his case (initially).  Things get a little more serious toward the end but he still keeps the energy high, with a few good jokes and some nice stunt & fight work.

As usual though Jackie is the underdog, being played by a larger organization and not being taken seriously by his enemies (haven’t they seen the previous 3 movies? :P).  It’s interesting that while in Australia he’s being chased by some quite massive guys, played by giants such as Nathan Jones (think the massive guy Jet Li fought in the ring in Fearless), who stands a staggering 6’11, packed with muscle.

It does seem to me that they tried to make this movie very ‘on the fence’ – aiming it at both Asian and English speaking audiences by crossing over to Australia.  A lot of what he does is a bit gimmicky and adds puts Jackie’s character and physical performance up against a Western backdrop – creating a nice contrast between him and a generalized Western culture.  Maybe they should have called it ‘Jackie Chan goes to Australia‘  (or not, maybe that’s a bad idea).

The Ladder Scene

The Action & Martial Arts

There’s really only one real fight scene in this movie worth mentioning, as this movie seems to have a lot of top physical performances and stunts more that fights.

We get to see Jackie snowboarding, jumping from exploding helicopters into freezing water, effortlessly climbing buildings and, as Nathan Jones’ character states ‘moving like a monkey!’.  His ability to move is an art to watch, as it seems he has no real boundaries and simply finds away around or over any obstacle.

But what I really enjoyed was the ‘family feud’ toward the end of the film, when Jackie fights Jackson’s family whilst pleading his innocence (they attack him).  It’s a constant and entertaining array of precise movement and stunt work mixed with some basic fighting moves.  Just wait until you see him use the ladder to evade his attackers!  It’s really impressive.

There is more fighting after this, but it’s mostly underwater and is a little boring in comparison.  Jackie uses normal Martial Arts and Acrobatic movements underwater and it doesn’t have the same effect.   This in no way ruins the movie though, but the best action is in the middle of the film and less so at the end.

The Verdict?

A classic!  Not his best but definitely fun and entertaining.  Check it out if you’ve never seen it!

On DVD –

Region 1 (US & Canada)
Jackie Chan’s First Strike

Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
First Strike [DVD] [1997]

More info on Movie Regions here.

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