×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Thunderbolt

Plot-light story has Chan as a Hong Kong mechanic who can tell the make and faults of a car simply by hearing it pass by. He and his crew, led by avuncular Uncle Tung (vet director Chor Yuen), are busy towing away illegally souped-up cars when hit man-cum-racing enthusiast Cougar (Thorsten Nickel) gives his private batmobile a nocturnal workout on the colony's highways.

With:
Chan Foh-to (Jackie) ... Jackie Chan Amy Ip ... Anita Yuen Steve Cannon ... Michael Wong Cougar ... Thorsten Nickel Uncle Tung ... Chor Yuen

Plot-light story has Chan as a Hong Kong mechanic who can tell the make and faults of a car simply by hearing it pass by. He and his crew, led by avuncular Uncle Tung (vet director Chor Yuen), are busy towing away illegally souped-up cars when hit man-cum-racing enthusiast Cougar (Thorsten Nickel) gives his private batmobile a nocturnal workout on the colony’s highways.

When Chan beats Cougar in an impromptu race, and the psycho is hauled in by Interpol agent Steve Cannon (Eurasian Michael Wong), the revenge scenario is set in motion. In a breathtakingly dangerous sequence (shot in blurred slo-mo) that ranks as a classic even by Chan’s standards, Cougar trashes Chan’s workplace and kidnaps his two sisters, challenging our hero to meet him on the racetrack in Japan.

TX: TX:A New Line release (in U.S.) of a Golden Harvest production. (International sales: Miramax Intl.) Produced by Leonard C.H. Ho. Executive producer, Chua Lam. TX:Directed by Gordon Chan. Screenplay, Chan, Chan Hing-ka, Kwok Wai-chung. Observing events from the sidelines is perky, micro-skirted news anchor Amy Ip (popular Anita Yuen, from “C’est la Vie, Mon Cheri”), who wants to turn the publicity-shy Chan into a local hero. She gets her chance by sinking her savings into financing a race car for Chan.

With Chan in more dramatic mode, and with an uncomplicated plot that is basically a long lead-up to a final confrontation with the villain, the pic makes far less use of the character comedy that drove “Rumble” and far more use of various ingenious fight sequences. Aside from the above-mentioned, there’s a snappily choreographed kickfest in a Japanese pachinko arcade, plus several smaller boutsthat show Chan, now in his early 40s, has lost none of his agility.

The fingerprints of two highly experienced action choreographers, both directors in their own rights, are clearly visible throughout the movie: Sammo Hung in the seriocomic fight sequences and Frankie Chan in the car stunts. The latter, especially, makes good use of the wide screen and shows a profligate disregard for autos.

Like Chan’s earlier “City Hunter,” the film is clearly tailored to his vast Japanese audience — from the second half set entirely in Japan to bevies of Nipponese babes urging Jackie to victory. In that respect, “Thunderbolt” doesn’t have quite the international appeal of pics such as “Rumble” or “First Strike.” And though she’s cute enough to eat, the elfin-faced Yuen isn’t given as meaty a role as, say, comedian Anita Mui in “Rumble.” Largely relegated to the sidelines , she establishes no special screen chemistry with the star.

Though largely unsmiling, Chan handles his chores with elan and is given the most stylish framework by young director Gordon Chan since the Kirk Wong-directed “Crime Story.” In sheer helming technique, “Thunderbolt” is streets ahead of the work by Chan’s regular action director, Stanley Tung, despite having no less than six cameramen credited.

Pic was reportedly the most expensive H.K. production ever, clocking in at almost $ 30 million, twice the cost of “Rumble.” On local release last August, it racked up a super but not record-breaking $ 6 million, lower than both “Rumble” and “First Strike.”

Thunderbolt

Production: Thunderbolt (PIKLIK FO) (Hong Kong -- Action -- Color)

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen) , Chan Kwong-yan, Lam Kwok-wah, Wong Wing-hang, Tseng Tsiu-keung, Lau Hung-chun, Kwan Chi-ching; editor, Peter Cheung; art direction, Ma Kwong-yung; costume design, Cheung Sai-kit; sound, in Dolby Stereo; post-production supervisor, Liang Chih-hua; stunt director, Sammo Hung; car stunts director, Frankie Chan; stunt coordinators, Jackie Chan's Stunt Team, Sammo Hung's Stunt Team. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Market), May 12, 1996. Running time: 108 min.

With: Chan Foh-to (Jackie) ... Jackie Chan Amy Ip ... Anita Yuen Steve Cannon ... Michael Wong Cougar ... Thorsten Nickel Uncle Tung ... Chor YuenWith: Yuzo Kazama, Mari Eguro, Sing Kuei-on, Yuen Kuei. (Cantonese, English and Japanese dialogue) Jackie Chan sheds much of his boyish charm in "Thunderbolt," a darker, more serious stuntfest than the U.S.-set "Rumble in the Bronx" and the Bond-like "First Strike," between which it was shot. A stylishly directed, straight-arrow actioner set in the world of racing cars, the movie is a tony ride for fight geeks and piston fanatics, though New Line may have a tougher time selling this less-humorous entry in North America.

More Film

  • Captain Marvel

    Box Office: 'Captain Marvel' Shatters $900 Million Milestone

    Brie Larson’s “Captain Marvel” continues to do heroic business. In its latest box office milestone, the female-fronted superhero tentpole zoomed past $900 million in ticket sales worldwide. “Captain Marvel” brought in a mighty $87 million globally this weekend, including $52 million from international territories. It has now generated $589 million overseas for a global haul [...]

  • Us - Lupita Nyong’o - cr:

    Box Office: Jordan Peele's 'Us' Stuns With $70 Million Opening Weekend

    Talk about scary good. Universal’s “Us,” the second directorial effort from Jordan Peele, pulled off a stunning debut, generating $70 million from 3,741 North American locations. That haul is enough to land it the second-best opening weekend of the year behind just Disney’s “Captain Marvel” ($153 million). The psychological thriller about a family confronted by [...]

  • 'Shazam!' Review: Zachary Levi is Pure

    Film Review: 'Shazam!'

    In “Shazam!,” Zachary Levi brings off something so winning it’s irresistible. He plays a square-jawed, rippling-muscled man of might, with a cheesy Day-Glo lighting bolt affixed to his chest, who projects an insanely wholesome and old-fashioned idea of what a superhero can be. But he’s also playing a breathless teenage kid on the inside, and [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Showrunners, Screenwriters Back WGA in Agency Battle, Sides to Meet Again Tuesday

    More than 750 showrunners and screenwriters have backed the WGA’s battle against talent agencies taking packaging fees and other changes to the rules governing the business relationship between agents and writers. The letter of support issued Saturday is significant because of the immense clout showrunners and prominent screenwriters possess in Hollywood. Several showrunners had recently [...]

  • Doppelgänger Red (Lupita Nyong'o) and Adelaide

    Box Office: 'Us' on Track for Second-Highest Debut of 2019 With $67 Million

    Jordan Peele’s “Us” is on its way to scaring up one of the biggest debuts of 2019, with an estimated $67 million from 3,741 North American locations. Should estimates hold, “Us” will be able to claim several milestones: the highest debut for an original horror movie (the biggest launch for any horror pic goes to [...]

  • NF_D_JGN-D6-2160.cr2

    Film Review: 'The Dirt'

    A long time ago, the words sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll carried a hint of danger. The lifestyle did, too, but I’m talking about the phrase. It used to sound cool (back around the time the word “cool” sounded cool). But sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll has long since passed into the realm [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content