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Review High Risk a.k.a. Meltdown a.k.a. Shu dan long wei (1995): Die Hard with Jet Li!

genre: die hard clone, action, martial arts, crime






Writer / producer / director Wong Jing doesn't like to be tied to one genre. That is why most of his films are mixes of different genres. That doesn't always make sense but often leads to weird and insane results. High Risk is no different. But from all his films this might be the most conventional to a certain degree.

After former cop Jet Li failed to save his family he has become a bodyguard / stunt double for Frankie Lone (played by Jackie Cheung). Frankie Lone dresses up as Bruce Li but it's it's obvious he is supposed to mimic Jackie Chan. Frankie also claims to do all of his stunts while he never does. He seems to be pretty moronic and a womanizer. I am not sure if Wong Jing is just spoofing the icon Jackie to pay tribute to him or that he has some beef with him. In any case Frankie is a pretty annoying character who somewhat redeems himself at the end. Now Wong Jing could have made a whole film about this premise. And I would have been fine with it to some extent. (I read somewhere that he made fun of Jackie Chan because of a falling out with him during City Hunter. If that is true this makes Wong Jing a very petty man.) 

Except he wouldn't be Wong Jing if he wouldn't complicate matters even further. Hence the Die Hard plot. And I got to say. This is when events shift into the fifth gear and the film becomes utterly crazy. Tension and suspense is replaced with high octane action sequences that are quite ludicrous but fun. Next to the usual gun play and martial arts scenes there also is a lot of stunt work involved that nowadays only would be made with CGI. Don' think for one second you will be spared as a viewer since some people really die in horrible ways. For a film that sometimes has a light tone the amount of blood and gore is pretty substantial. Corey Yuen was responsible for the choreography of the action which shows since it does look like almost all of the people (actors and stunt men) got hurt. He is quite demanding and wants his actors to be as hands on as possible. Most of the time this leads to wonderful results especially if the actors involved are capable of what he asks of them. Plot wise High Risk isn't always cohesive. Then again it would only distract from the action.

But you know what, it all works. High Risk is easily one of the better Die Hard Clones that very successfully spoofs the action genre and at the same time is a good action film itself. So definitely one I can recommend.



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