Plot: What’s it about?
Even after the fall of Soviet Russia, forces within the region seek to cause trouble and wreak havoc on the world. In this case, the Russian mafia has managed to steal a nuclear missile, by pretending to be KGB agents. This is not good news for the free world, since the consequences of that missile could be lethal to millions upon millions of innocent people. Of course, the leaders of the world know something must be done, those responsible must be tracked down and the missile recovered and returned. While that may seem like simple enough of a proposition, finding an agent who is willing and able to carry out the mission is not as simple. But the right man for the mission is selected, and he is the best chance the world has as stopping these terrorists, he is Jackie (Jackie Chan), master martial artist and skilled agent. Jackie begins a trek of global proportions, as he hunts down the nuclear warhead and tries to upend the mafia thugs who attempt to thwart his efforts. He must brave frigid temperatures, underwater battles, and of course, a whole host of guys who want him dead. If anyone can pull of this mission and save the day, it’s Jackie…but can even he manage this one?
This is one hell of a movie, not only one of my favorite Jackie Chan movies, but one of my favorite movies period. This is a secret agent type movie, which almost parodies the James Bond films at times, to fantastic results. But I feel a comparison is unjust, as no matter how many guns and gadgets James Bond has, Jackie would always kick his ass, no two ways about it. While this movie has some excellent martial arts sequences as per usual with Chan’s movies, there are also many incredible stunt scenes, such as an escapade where Jackie ends up submerged in freezing waters, which makes for one explosive ride. But going back to the bread and butter of Chan movies, martial arts, there is a sequence is awe inspiring, where Chan battles some bad guys with a ladder and some poles. This is my all time favorite Chan scene, and among the most impressive sequences on film. If you’re a Jackie Chan fan, casual or hard-core, this is one movie you simply cannot miss, the same goes for those who like action and martial arts films. I give this film my highest recommendation, and encourage all readers to rent or purchase this action classic.
The director of this film has plenty of experience working with this genre, as he has made several movies with the lead actor, Jackie Chan. The director is Stanley Tong, who also directed Chan flicks Rumble In The Bronx, Supercop, and Supercop 2, although Chan had a very small role in the second Supercop film. While you might not expect much direction in a Jackie Chan movie, you’d be wrong. The stunts and martial arts battles would be worthless unless a director used the camera effectively, which Tong does. The star of this show is martial arts master Jackie Chan, who is one of my favorite performers. Chan is a true legend in the genre, performing all his own stunts and creating some of the most powerful action sequences in cinema history. Chan’s resume reads like a greatest hits of martial arts movies, such as Police Story, Drunken Master II, Mr. Nice Guy, Operation Condor, and the American sensation, Rush Hour, among many, many more. This is one his best performances, driven to the edge of stunts and action. The supporting cast includes performances by Bill Tung (Rumble in the Bronx, Drunken Master II), Jackson Lou, John Eaves (White Magic), Terry Woo, and Annie Wu (Final Fantasy: The Movie).
Video: How does it look?
Jackie Chan’s First Strike is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame version also included on this dual layered disc. As has become the norm with New Line, this visual transfer looks excellent, free of compression errors and print wear or damage. The image looks sharp and slick, which suits the film to perfection. The colors are varied as can be here, but the transfer always comes through, with vibrant hues and natural flesh tones. The contrast levels are accurate, whether the white snows of the Ukraine or the darkest shadow underwater is on screen.
Audio: How does it sound?
If you’re looking for a kick ass audio experience, look no more, because is one awesome audio track! There are many intense action sequences, and during those the surrounds will be alive and kicking, every speaker in the place will be thumping. Even during the calmer scenes, subtle surround use and localized effects will be present, which sets an excellent audio atmosphere for the film. Not to be counted out, the dialogue doesn’t get bogged down, staying crisp and clear throughout.
Supplements: What are the extras?
On this disc, you’ll find talent files and the original theatrical trailer.