Jackie Chan’s First Strike Blu-ray Review
I’ve watched a handful of Jackie Chan action movies and I can honestly say, without a shadow of a doubt, that I don’t remember the plot. I can tell you about specific action sequences, but as to what Jackie Chan’s character was doing or what cause he was fighting for, I’m not sure. JACKIE CHAN’S FIRST STRIKE follows along with that thought process. I know the basics of the story, but I don’t much care for it. But I could gloat endlessly about all the fight scenes, but let’s just stay away from the story.
FIRST STRIKE is a part of a series of movies with a couple of linear characters, but if you’re like me, and you’re just popping the movie in, none of that seems relevant. You also don’t need to have any knowledge of the stories beforehand. Jackie Chan’s mission in this movie is to stop an international arms dealer that’s hell-bent on stealing and selling a Russian nuclear weapon. This journey takes him from one exotic location to another. It’s not sandy warm beaches though, it’s the chilly arctic air of the Ukraine and then to the tourist traps of Australia that FIRST STRIKE takes our hero to.
These movies are much like some of the early James Bond films; it’s all about the eye candy more than the story itself. Instead of Bond girls though, we have more than enough zany fights and scenarios that Jackie Chan finds him in. The acrobatic skiing, the enemies armed with rocket launchers, and the hand-to-hand combat in shark infested waters, are the things you’ll be talking about instead of the weapons dealers. In fact, during a scene where Chan fights multiple people on stilts, I had forgotten the point or purpose behind Chan’s appearance. I was simply lost in the myriad of insanity and that’s perfectly fine.
FIRST STRIKE is non-stop action fun that’s just not seen any more in action movies. I don’t mean to sound like an old foggy, but Jackie Chan is a truly unique individual. He does all his own absurd stunts, and as seen throughout the end credits, can get injured very easily. That quality, along with his general likability, propels him towards levels not seen with your typical action star. He seems like he could be your neighbor, grilling some burgers and inviting you over for a beer. But at the same time, he seems like the first person you’d call in the event of a ninja attack emergency.
FIRST STRIKE, while not without its flaws, serves as a generous reminder that action movies can be highly fun on a small scale. I don’t need giant set pieces to come tumbling down to be amused. FIRST STRIKE highlights Chan’s unique ability to contort and twist our main star until our head is spinning. I remember when I was younger, having a discussion about the greatest action stars and one of my friends being really down on Jackie Chan. His argument was based on how Chan constantly runs from his fights instead of taking his challengers head on.
If anything, he’s a regular guy caught up in extraordinary circumstances, but he rises to the occasion. With that rise, Chan is also a man who understands he’s not impervious to bullets and that there are consequences to prolonged beatings. Jackie Chan’s action film persona appears to be a distant, and still hidden, gem in a sea of action stars that rely too much on computer generated effects to make them superhuman. FIRST STRIKE is a pleasant reminder that you can always have some bloodless fun when blowing things up.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) The picture quality on this blu-ray is inconsistent. At times it’s picturesque and at times it’s grainy.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio quality is a complete turnaround from the picture quality. All the explosions, gunshots, and punches come through clearly.