Monday, May 24, 2010


I just watched Jackie Chan's "Thunderbolt" - an under-the-radar illegal street racing film of his from 1995.

Despite its horrible dub, and it being one of the bigger commercials I've seen since "Mac and Me", it had some surprisingly good stuff.

The stakes are higher in this film than what Western audiences are probably used to seeing in a Chan film. Sure, there are some trademark funny moments, but the tone is, overall, darker, more urgent, than (say) "Rumble in the Bronx" or "Drunken Master".

There is a prison break scene that rivals Western 90s films like the later "Lethal Weapons", and a villainous attack on Chan and his family that is insidiously innovative, and genuinely tough to watch.

My favorite scene may be Chan's destructive rampage through a pachinko parlor. It's not his best choreography, but there is an anger - a wanton, destructive abandon - that's surprising, and pretty compelling.

There are also some nice, quiet moments, like the sweepers prepping a recognized track in the pre-dawn hours. These kinds of things can be common in Eastern films, but but so much the more globally accessible ones.

Overall, I can see why I've missed this flick in the past; but I am glad I finally caught up to it.