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Rotary Action - helicopter movies
featuring: Jackie Chan, Zhang Yishan, Yuen Wu, Yuen Wah, and Yuen Qui
director: Jiang Ping and Fang Gangliang
92 minutes (12) 2009
widescreen ratio 16:9
Kaleidoscope DVD Region 2 retail
[released 9 August]
review by James A. Stewart
Jackie Chan & The Kung Fu Kid
What an excellent piece of opportunism by the film's distributor this release is. With the bombardment of press and advertising greeting
The Karate Kid remake, starring martial arts legend Jackie Chan, Kaleidoscope have brought out Jackie Chan And The Kung Fu Kid,
a film which neither stars Jackie Chan nor features very much kung fu.
Now, to be clear, Jackie Chan is in the movie but only fleetingly at the start and end, and his role is more about waving his finger and giving
some moralistic advice in a most condescending way. And, to be fair, the cover does say "featuring Jackie Chan" - the fact that the cover also
has his name in giant letters in the title and his eyes in the imagery is neither here nor there.
This was a massive success at the Chinese box office and is certainly not without merit. However, be warned that if you are expecting a kick-fest
featuring Chan doing loads of crazy stunts and ably aided by a wacky sidekick then you will be disappointed. Indeed, the film's opening sequence
with Chan on set, filming a new movie, actually gives you the (false) impression that this will be an all action title.
All the dialogue is in Mandarin with English subtitles. What this forces the viewer to do is to be aware of the body language and unsaid
acting that goes on and I dearly love Asian releases for this reason. The actors tend to be far more expressive with their actions that
their western counterparts and Jackie Chan And The Kung Fu Kid is no exception.
The plot is as per the original translation of the title (before some rabid marketing types got their hands on it), 'Looking For Jackie'. A
15-year-old boy, Zhang (Zhang Yishan) is hopeless at school, at martial arts and all else. He is obsessed with Jackie Chan and decides to
hotfoot to Beijing to become the great man's pupil.
The story then follows the teenager's journey with a series of moral and ethical
questions being asked and answered in a most haughty way - the film is like one big series of fortune cookies at times with ethics and
behavioural advice for modern China being espoused throughout.
The travails of Zhang allow him to get his priorities straight and in a sickly sweet sort of way what is a good film becomes something of
a sycophantic set of moral guidelines, which is a shame. Zhang's character and spirit are laudable and his energy is what makes the film
Whilst someone trying to land a set of moral guidelines via home entertainment is annoying there are some praiseworthy elements.
The performance of Yishan in what is an eponymous role was enjoyable and as always, Jackie Chan brings a smile to your face. But, in the end
Jackie Chan And The Kung Fu Kid is an average film that smacks of opportunism and comes across as a film made as such.