With Stanley Tong, Jackie Chan found the perfect match. In the early 1990s, the director signed on to several popular professional burlesque hits, like Police Story 3 and 4 or Jackie Chan right in the Bronx. Now, the friends have aged well, but they want to remain the two happiest young men of the genre. The proof is with this semi-blockbuster Chinese film eyeing 1980s Chan and Mission: Impossible: Vanguard, available on Amazon Prime Video.
29% on Rotten Tomatoes, 34/100 on Metacritic, 3.6/10 on our national CriticalSense: it is an understatement to say that this new adventure has not convinced the Western public. And for good reason: from the first minute, we felt mercantilism take hold, via a photo that agreed to skip the MoDem campaign clip for the next Darius Khondji, a piece of music that vows to escape royalty-free compilations (and we didn’t even tell you about the song from film, which Chan himself presented), strawberry sound design, and bold editing for a penny.
Everything was calculated to guarantee a prosperous star, who would pocket most of the budget for his participation, an important, but comfortable place, and introduce a succession of much younger and more dashing. Hence Yang Yang, the celebrity from television, who took the lead role, leaving his esteemed senior for the role of the wise muscular boss, at the head of the bodyguard organization who hardly cares about labor laws or his hardship clauses.
There’s no need to think beyond that on the Vanguard storyline, which would fit in a footnote. Without the slightest bit of narrative or emotional stakes, unable to distinguish his own character, he’s just a pretext for the chain action scenes and obligatory romance stuffed into the backhoe loader. The feature film appears to have been inspired by a certain 1980s blockbuster, or the Misson: Impossible saga. The action sequences and locations are well thought out beforehand, then awkwardly linked thanks to a fine narrative thread.
Its wit is almost as compelling as its artistic direction, as the plot is on autopilot. The writing handicap resulting from this permanent readjustment exercise brings certain scenes to nanardesque borders. From the seduction of Africans perched on Marsupilami’s lair to episodes of cars that are all gold plated … except for the ones the hero will use, absurdity parades between every shot of money. And let’s not even talk about the antagonists, whose weaknesses are only matched by their lack of characterization.
How about the action scenes? If Vanguard has been beaten by legions of moviegoers, it still offers a very generous show. Certain scenes are sure to be remembered, like the famous final chase or the descent of the river, which are classics here very clean. Clashes are of course powered by CGI that ranges from the righteous (lions) to disastrous (cars), but we can’t blame them for any laziness. It was shot dead, beaten, rose and rose by any means, in a fireworks display as shaky as its amusement.
However, there’s a sense of restraint, inherited from the director’s lack of madness, that doesn’t spoil the casting, but doesn’t magnify it either. Blame the editing, mowing the grass a little under the feet of a barely effective performance. The company is too mechanical to conform to the film restraints of Chan whose ambitions he wants to emulate. For example, the action is more of a gathering than comedy, as the narrative never leaves time and space for the actors to showcase their comic talents.
In addition, it is better to warn fans of the Chinese master hero that despite the promotion, there is only a lavish supporting role , ironically about his past glory to further leave room for the new generation far from it. . Like Bruce Willis, Jackie Chan now fits in with the “too old for this shit” action star, and his filmography adapts.
Out of a desire to tease the actor’s fans while at the same time dealing with his age and such production requirements, Vanguard ended up appearing quite anonymous, an agreed-upon pastime that wouldn’t have lost much without him. . It therefore has a place entirely on Amazon Prime Video, where this disproportionately budget B series accumulates, utterly lame, albeit perfect for a rainy Sunday night.