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"When you get home, write a detailed report. But keep it simple" is the last line of dialog in Jackie Chan's First Strike. It is also the final joke of the flick, which is just as bewildering as Mission Impossible, but a lot more enjoyable.
Lest anything that follows sound like I'm dissing the movie, I'm not. Jackie Chan's First Strike is all five of the Three Stooges rolled up into one (that would be Jackie). It's terrifically funny and the action sequences rock.
Friends of mine lament the fact that the amount of martial arts action has dropped precipitously in the most recent Chan films; chalk it up to age and a body that doesn't heal all that quickly from suffering it's own stunt injuries. Chan has taken the intelligent, alternative path by going heavy on the gags and saving the martial arts for a few spectacularly choreographed battles.
Spectacular they are, whether in mid-air, on snow covered mountains or underwater -- and Chan takes on all three, plus utilizing ladders and stilts in two more -- they are enough to keep your mind off the obvious. Even with characters explaining what has happened several times during the course of JCFS, it still doesn't make a lot of sense.
Friends, it doesn't matter. Have a wonderful, goofy time. "It's like James Bond without the gorgeous girls!" says Hong Kong policeman Jackie to his boss via telephone from an 8000 square foot luxury apartment somewhere in Australia. He's got a suitcase full of designer label clothes, a pet koala, and a story which takes him from Hong Kong to the Ukraine to Russia and finally to said apartment; that's one country for each of the four writers involved in the project.
This time out, cop Jackie is attached to a CIA surveillance team. He does so well that he's given one last assignment. He is to follow a woman into the Ukraine, keeping tabs on her every move on an airplane. Once on the ground he is to make a report, hand off his surveillance to a Russian based team, and take a well earned vacation.
Would that it were that simple. Before you know it, Jackie finds himself at a ski resort being followed by bad guys on snowmobiles and in rocket equipped helicopters. Chan has only a polar bear faced hat for protection as he skis and tumbles down a mountain.
In short order Jackie finds himself assigned to the Russian government's police, or maybe he's been hoodwinked by the Russian Mafia. There's a black market in nuclear weapons, the Australian Chinese mob and lots of man eating sharks tossed in for good measure. If "Jackie Chan Fights For America," as is said in the television commercials, I missed it. But it's probably in there somewhere.
I just want to know where he gets clothes that are water soaked in one scene and dry as bone in the next.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Jackie Chan's First Strike, he would have paid...
Jackie Chan's First Strike is a very enjoyable, heavy emphasis on the very, 88 minutes in a darkened theater.
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