First Strike (1996) — Jackie Chan as only Chan can

“I feel almost like James Bond. Except no gorgeous girls.”

Kym’s rating: Four out of four super-charged punches

Kym’s review: I loved this movie! Once again, Jackie Chan delivers exciting, awe-inspiring stunts in First Strike. For those of you that don’t know anything about Jackie, he does all of his own stunts and nothing you see is fake. He has broken just about every bone in his body and is one of the best action heroes around.

The plot of this movie has to do with nuclear bombs, the Russian Mafia, the CIA, and others, but honestly, who cares? It’s enough for me just to watch Jackie doing his stuff. Plus, in this film, there’s a ton of animals from adorable koala bears to man-eating sharks. I really just enjoyed kicking back, suspending disbelief, laughing my head off, and having a great time. Do yourself a favor and rent this one.

Justin’s rating: One thumb up, Jackie Chan-style

Justin’s review: This installation of Jackie Chan’s library of films was the first that promised not to dub its main character. This didn’t turn out to be entirely true, but back to that later. First Strike has a plot, I think, that involves nuclear weapons, the CIA, Russia, Australia, Russian Mafia, and the Hong Kong police, but just forget all that. My brother tried following this during the first fifteen minutes, gave up, and I told him to “just accept that Jackie’s the good guy.”

And who watches Jackie’s movies for plot anyway? Jackie Chan plays the cleverly-named “Jackie,” a Hong Kong cop who discovers a Very Bad Plot to Kill a Lot of People. So Jackie does what Jackie does best: run around with wide, comical eyes, use terrific body language, act like a hyperactive chipmunk given espresso, and kick the stuffing out of the bad guys.

Humor is used so well in this film that you can see why it was a second career for Jackie Chan. I’d hate for him to give up those terrific martial-arts scenes in which he does all his own stunts, though. You’ll be dazzled watching him and feel like a slug afterward.

As for the dubbing issue, most of it isn’t dubbed, though sometimes Jackie is and sometimes he isn’t, and some of the other characters are and some aren’t. Three must-sees abound in this movie: a specially designed brand of underwear, Jackie singing, and the end credits, in which they show all the outtakes of Jackie doing his stunts. Jackie, you’re the man.

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