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The Asian ApertureChinese Zodiac
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, November 15, 2014    Share

Unstoppable at 60, Jackie Chan is still alive and kicking and thrilling movie audiences internationally with his jaw dropping stunts. You would think Chan would allow a CGI image of himself to be created so he wouldn’t take such a beating. Jackie is back playing the Asian Hawk, a Chinese version of Indiana Jones with a Hong Kong twist, in this reboot of his beloved Armour of God series, which were released in America under the alternative title Operation Condor and also a sequel. Although called Chinese Zodiac, this is really Armour of God III.

It begins with a fantastic series of stunts involving Chan laying on the street, wearing a roller skate suit, performed at a breakneck speed as Jackie is chased by the military. This is an exciting action sequence that only Jackie Chan can deliver. Unfortunately, CZ really drags during the plot set up. This is probably because Chan is a lot older compared to when the first Armour of God was released back in 1986, when he was on fire for the cameras. It is necessary for him to slow down by padding the plot. Sometimes this can drag on and I was taken out of the movie when characters were just sitting around and talking. Still, when Chan does show off his kung fu fighting he is still quick and gets the job down.

In CZ, during the Second Opium War, the Old Summer Palace was looted by British and French soldiers who took 12 bronze animal heads that make up the animals in the Chinese zodiac. In the present time, these animal heads are auctioned off for millions, mainly to private collectors, and are not available for public viewing at any museum.

The MP Corporation hires Jackie, called JC in the movie, to find and locate all 12. This leads to JC meeting the wealthy, Katherine, whose great-great-grandfather was one of the looters and the Captain of one of the ships. This greatly upsets Coco who lashes out at Katherine. JC steps in to smooth over the intense feeling between the two women. Coco is along to help out JC and his team.

The next day, they are on an island seeking out the lost treasures, when they are confronted by pirates. This is a scene designed to be funny that fails. One pirate is dressed up as Jack Sparrow, who has a terrible, fake Johnny Depp parody voice. Another has a huge afro and is just in the movie for comic relief involving a real bad joke that should have been edited out. The action sequence had some highs and lows and was a major let down.

The finale is very typical for Jackie Chan and is mainly fighting inside a warehouse. This has been done in numerous Chan movies and nothing new is seen in CZ. There is a mildly entertaining cat fight between a Chinese woman and a Westerner that lacks the thrill of Uma Thurman and Daryl Hannah in Kill Bill: Volume 2.

Overall, Chinese Zodiac is a mediocre Jackie Chan vehicle. It lacks the power and intensity of the previous two. Mainly it just wasn’t fun to watch. I have grown up on his movies from the old days of Fearless Hyena and Drunken Master where he still could wow you with his unique combo of comedy, traditional kung fu, and gymnastics to his great stunt work from the Police Story series. Sometimes I wish Jackie Chan would go back to a period piece and back to kung fu.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm, Chinese Zodiac become the 3rd highest grossing movie in China.

It is ok for an initial viewing, it just isn’t great. It is the first Jackie Chan movie, in a long time, that had me watching the clock.


2.5 out of 5 Stars for being lukewarm

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2014 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2014 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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