Saturday, July 24, 2010

'Thunderbolt' is a darker effort for Chan

Thunderbolt (1996)
Starring: Jackie Chan, Anita Yuen, and Thorsten Nickel
Director: Gordon Chan
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

When mechanic and race-car dirver Foh (Chan) crosses a street-racer who also happens to be an enforcer for a major international crime syndicate (Nickel), his world is torn apart, and he finds himself forced to race for the life of his young sister.

"Thunderbolt" is another fine action flick from Jackie Chan, with lots of action, drama, and fabulously staged fight scenes. The film is darker and more intense than most of his movies--the violence is more realistic and obviously deadly, and the villains are unredeemingly and savagely evil.

In fact, the grimmer tone of the film causes an otherwise fairly typical Jackie Chan bizarro fight location--on banners/trampolines extended over a Pachinko arcade in a Japanese city--to seem out of place and distracting. It's almost as if they forgot this film is markedly different from the likes of "Miracles" and "Police Story". Despite the one major misstep, I think there can be little argument that "Thunderbolt" ranks among Chan's best films. Fans may be a little shocked by the film's intensity, however. (The crane scene in the wrecking yard and its outcome was certainly not one I'd expected in a Jackie Chan movie!)

"Thunderbolt" is currently out of print, but it can be had used, or can be downloaded directly to your PC or Tivo through

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