Tuesday 8 January 2013

Chinese Zodiac (CZ12) Movie Review!!!

Possibly Jackie's last action outing! Is this the Jackie Chan movie we've all been waiting for?? And who's his stunning new female co-star??? Read on to find out.

First of all I have to apologize for the lateness of this review.  I saw CZ12 back on release day in Singapore but had such mixed feelings about it that I just kept delaying it.  

I’m a huge huge Jackie Chan fan!  Police Story, Project-A, Armour of God, Dragons Forever, Thunderbolt, Rumble in the Bronx, City Hunter, Wheels on Meals, Who Am I, Mr. Nice Guy, Gorgeous, Rob-B-Hood, Shanghai Noon, Karate Kid and even the Rush Hour movies! I think they all rock!  If you haven’t seen them then do yourself a favour and check them out!  All great movies following Jackie’s special formula and mix of action and humour, not to mention the crazy crazy stunts!  The guy is fearless and that’s why I reckon he could’ve taken both Bruce & Jet.  He has and never will have an equal.

So how does CZ12 compare to these classics?  Not that well I’m afraid.  Undeniably it’s great seeing Jackie back on the big screen.  The moment you see his big nose and cheeky grin you can’t help smiling.

The story follows Jackie as he tries to recover twelve bronze animal statue heads representing the animals of the Chinese Zodiac (Dragon, Snake, Tiger, Monkey etc).  Stolen by British forces (shame on you) from China in the 1860s, these heads start popping up at auctions fetching crazy amounts of money.  Jackie, an archeology thief as in the previous Armour of God movies, is initially employed to track down these heads with his motley crew of thieves.  But soon it comes to mean much more to him than just another job as he learns to appreciate the significance they have to the people around him and also to the heritage of China.

We are introduced to the members of Jackie’s team early on.  Zhang Lanxin is bound to keep the boys happy.  A China national Taekwondo champion (meaning she could kick Yaw’s butt), her first scene is reminiscent of Maggie-Q’s Lamborghini scene in Mission Impossible 3 but turned up a notch thanks to some pretty nifty splits action.  A real female fighter with scorching looks, it will be exciting to see what movies she does next.

Crazy kick!!

Her fight scene towards the end is also one of the highlights of the movie, at times even detracting from some of Jackie’s own hand-to-hand combat.  The rest of the team, unfortunately, is completely forgettable.  They have no chemistry with Jackie making it hard to believe he would every really trust and depend on such people.  There is a token white woman in the vein of previous Armour of God movies but she is never anything other than completely annoying.

The action shows brief glimpses of what we love about Jackie Chan movies but never reaches that level we want.  Too much obvious CGI and fake stunts really distract and make serious scenes unintentionally laugh worthy.  Even the main big fight with a rival thief never really takes off.  I left the movie thinking Jackie didn’t actually have any proper fights in this film.

The ending, although a spectacle, is so CGI heavy that it just becomes unbelievable.  I never thought I’d be comparing a Jackie Chan movie to a Tom Cruise movie – but after seeing Cruise jump out of a tower in Dubai, the finale in this feels dishearteningly lackluster. 

There are plenty of guest appearances and the usual gag real at the end to draw out a few smiles and laughs but on the whole this is still quite a forgettable movie. 

Jackie still has it, I’m sure of it!  I’m sure without all the CGI and with a better story we can still get a real Jackie Chan movie but this isn’t it.  Need a Jackie Chan fix then check it out – just make sure you go in with appropriate expectations.

Rating 3 out of 5


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