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Review Bleeding Steel (2017): I admire the ambition but unfortunately that is simply not enough!

genre: action, science fiction

Bleeding Steel certainly is not the worst Jackie Chan has been involved in. I might even say that compared to most of his recent outings this one is one of the decent ones. However that doesn't negate the issues that prevent this from being a good film.

First of all, science fiction and Jackie Chan don't go together. At least not in this way. Apart from one plot element I am not even sure why they went this route. Especially since the film is quite afraid to go over the top and make a real spectacle of it. I mean what use is a super powered villain if he isn't given the chance to play. Although I am glad to see that Callan Mulvey is making quite a career for himself. Still I would have really liked it had they actually made him more essential to the plot and be more of a threat. Instead they let his subordinate called The Woman in Black (Tess Haubrich) do all the work.  Tess looks a bit like Eva Green so I constantly was wondering why she looked so familiar. And I must admit Tess was a believable henchwoman.

The script is awful. It tries to be clever and surprising while it is painfully obvious from the start how events will play out. To a point where the charade is just insulting to the audience. But I did like that one plot element anybody with a heart can relate to. Although it also exposes an issue. That Bleeding Steel takes itself far too seriously. Even with the comic relief mostly provided by Show Lo as Leeson there is not that much to laugh at.

Now complaining about the plot in a Jackie Chan film might be a little ridiculous since most of his films don't rely on story that much. Still most of the Jackie Chan classics have strong narratives and more important great direction. Here is where Bleeding Steel fails completely. For some reason they thought that inexperienced writer / director Leo Zhang would be able to handle such a big and ambitious project. And to be honest it could have been far worse. Only does beg the question why they didn't ask more experienced directors to do this project. They had a real big opportunity to make a film that is appealing to a large international audience. But it is far too lacking to make a real impression.

Last but not least the action. It's solid. With here and there a hint of spectacular. Only it's never the super exciting and adrenaline pumping kind. They purposely toned down the violence and made it more cartoonish which I think was a big mistake. The big action sequence in the beginning of the film needed to make an impact and at times it was close but director Leo Zhang refused to. A bit more stylish bloodshed would have made me a believer for sure. I am also clueless who this film is made for. I don't think a lot of older Jackie Chan fans like me would appreciate this. Kids wouldn't like this either since action and spectacle wise it's not big enough.

Not super bad but it simply didn't do it for me. But I do have to add that Jackie Chan is still capable of kicking ass. Let us only hope that he will pick better projects in future before he stops doing action.

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