VideoVista logo
MONTHLY WEB-ZINE OF  
DVD & BLU-RAY REVIEWS
 
action | adventure | art | cartoon | comedy | cult | disaster | docu | drama | fantasy | horror | kung fu | monster | musical | parody | romance | satire | sequel | SF | sport | spy | surreal | 3D | thriller | TV | war | western
VideoVista covers rental and retail titles in all genres and movie or TV categories, with filmmaker interviews, auteur profiles, top 10 lists, plus regular prize draws.

HOME PAGE
INDEX OF ALL REVIEWS
SEARCH THIS SITE
COMPETITIONS
FORTHCOMING REVIEWS
TOP 10 LISTS
INTERVIEWS & PROFILES
RETRO REVIEWS SECTION
ABOUT OUR CONTRIBUTORS
READERS' COMMENTS
SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER
SITE MAP
LINKS


SUPPORT THIS SITE -
SHOP USING THESE LINKS

In Association with Amazon.com


visit other Pigasus Press sites...
The ZONE - genre nonfiction
Soundchecks - music reviews
Rotary Action - helicopter movies

August 2010

Jackie Chan and The Kung Fu Kid

featuring: Jackie Chan, Zhang Yishan, Yuen Wu, Yuen Wah, and Yuen Qui
director: Jiang Ping and Fang Gangliang

92 minutes (12) 2009
widescreen ratio 16:9
Kaleidoscope DVD Region 2 retail
[released 9 August]

RATING: 5/10
review by James A. Stewart

Jackie Chan & The Kung Fu Kid

What an excellent piece of opportunism by the film's distributor this release is. With the bombardment of press and advertising greeting The Karate Kid remake, starring martial arts legend Jackie Chan, Kaleidoscope have brought out Jackie Chan And The Kung Fu Kid, a film which neither stars Jackie Chan nor features very much kung fu.

Now, to be clear, Jackie Chan is in the movie but only fleetingly at the start and end, and his role is more about waving his finger and giving some moralistic advice in a most condescending way. And, to be fair, the cover does say "featuring Jackie Chan" - the fact that the cover also has his name in giant letters in the title and his eyes in the imagery is neither here nor there.

This was a massive success at the Chinese box office and is certainly not without merit. However, be warned that if you are expecting a kick-fest featuring Chan doing loads of crazy stunts and ably aided by a wacky sidekick then you will be disappointed. Indeed, the film's opening sequence with Chan on set, filming a new movie, actually gives you the (false) impression that this will be an all action title.

All the dialogue is in Mandarin with English subtitles. What this forces the viewer to do is to be aware of the body language and unsaid acting that goes on and I dearly love Asian releases for this reason. The actors tend to be far more expressive with their actions that their western counterparts and Jackie Chan And The Kung Fu Kid is no exception.

The plot is as per the original translation of the title (before some rabid marketing types got their hands on it), 'Looking For Jackie'. A 15-year-old boy, Zhang (Zhang Yishan) is hopeless at school, at martial arts and all else. He is obsessed with Jackie Chan and decides to hotfoot to Beijing to become the great man's pupil.

The story then follows the teenager's journey with a series of moral and ethical questions being asked and answered in a most haughty way - the film is like one big series of fortune cookies at times with ethics and behavioural advice for modern China being espoused throughout.

The travails of Zhang allow him to get his priorities straight and in a sickly sweet sort of way what is a good film becomes something of a sycophantic set of moral guidelines, which is a shame. Zhang's character and spirit are laudable and his energy is what makes the film tick along.

Whilst someone trying to land a set of moral guidelines via home entertainment is annoying there are some praiseworthy elements. The performance of Yishan in what is an eponymous role was enjoyable and as always, Jackie Chan brings a smile to your face. But, in the end Jackie Chan And The Kung Fu Kid is an average film that smacks of opportunism and comes across as a film made as such.



Premonitions in paperback - click to order

VideoVista copyright © 2001 - is published by PIGASUS Press