HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Gwen
   
 
Newest Articles
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
   
 
  High Risk Jacky's phoney but Jet dies hard speedily with snakes in a skyscraperBuy this film here.
Year: 1995
Director: Wong Jing
Stars: Jet Li, Jacky Cheung, Chingamy Yau, Valerie Chow, Kelvin Wong Siu, Charlie Yeung, Yeung Chung-Hin, Suki Kwan Sau-Mei, Billy Chow, Wu Ma, Charlie Cho Cha-Lee, Lam Kwok-Bun, Lee Lik-Chi, Vincent Kok Tak-Chiu, William Duen Wai-Lun, Lo Hung, Yuen Tak
Genre: Comedy, Action, Thriller, Martial Arts, Weirdo
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Bomb disposal cop Kit Li (Jet Li) loses his wife and son when ruthless capitalist terrorists trap a slew of schoolchildren aboard a runaway bus rigged to expload when it exceeds a certain speed. Sound familiar? Yup, High Risk is a shameless rip-off of the then-recent bomb-on-a-bus action film Speed (1994). But that is just the first ten minutes. Traumatized by this tragedy, Kit quits the police force and disappears. Two years later, sexy reporter Helen (Chingamy Yau) chases a scoop on international action star Frankie Lone (Jacky Cheung), whom she discovers is a fraud. While Frankie claims to do his own stunts, in reality it is his bodyguard Kit risking life and limb and indulging a death wish.

Meanwhile the villainous “Doctor” (Kelvin Wong Siu), the man behind the school bus tragedy, assembles a crack squad of muscular mercenaries for the ultimate jewel heist. His sultry psycho girlfriend Fai Fai (Valerie Chow) poses as a staff member at a glitzy high-rise hotel where sweet receptionist Jayce (Charlie Yeung) has trouble dealing with her nerdy cop boyfriend Chow (Yeung Chung-Hing). Eventually all the characters converge on the hotel just as the heavily-armed jewel thieves gatecrash the party. Kit swings into action, guided by text messages from a captive Jayce while Helen tries to stay alive long enough to land the scoop of a lifetime and Frankie finds his fans expect him to play the hero, for real.

Known as Meltdown in the US - one of the generic titles bestowed on many Jet Li vehicles by distributors Miramax, though presumably to avoid confusion with the 1981 James Brolin thriller - High Risk was arguably Jet’s wildest collaboration with infamous schlock writer-producer-director Wong Jing. Three years before, Wong made the vaguely similarly plotted Jackie Chan vehicle City Hunter (1992). Jackie had been rather vocal about his supposed shortcomings as a director (although the finished film ranks among both men’s most entertaining efforts), so Wong sought revenge by savaging the clown prince of kung fu with the parodic Frankie: a cowardly, lecherous action star who lies about performing his own stunts.

In case Hong Kong moviegoers had any doubts about who was being spoofed, Wong also mocks Jackie’s famously flamboyant manager Willie Chan, here depicted as a self-serving homosexual who is slung off the skyscraper after trying to sacrifice innocent people to save his own skin. Also veteran star Wu Ma plays Frankie’s father and bears an uncanny resemblance to Jackie’s real-life paterfamilias. Whilst some of the spoofery is mean-spirited, a good deal of it is wickedly funny. Jacky Cheung steals the show from ostensible star Jet Li with his exuberant performance, skulking away when a terrorist pretends to hold Fai Fai hostage and donning that iconic yellow and black tracksuit worn by Bruce Lee in Game of Death (1978) for a rip-roaring kung fu fight with a villain called Mr. Bond! Possibly taking its cue from The Hard Way (1991), pampered movie star Frankie learns to be a real hero and earns the respect of his father.

Of course, in typical Wong Jing fashion - and let’s face it, in keeping with ninety percent of Hong Kong movies - High Risk does not settle for one genre or plotline, but encompasses dozens including the shameless lifting of ideas, scenes and even lighting set-ups from Die Hard (1988). However, the film actually anticipates (and betters) Snakes on a Plane (2006) - which was at one point set to be a Hong Kong style movie directed by Ronny Yu - when the terrorists unleash a slew of poisonous serpents on the hostages, precipitating the classic line: “Monster love eating pretty woman! Why bite my ass?” Overloaded with characters and soap opera subplots, plus a snippet of wholly unecessary male full frontal nudity (!), in spite of the schizophrenic switches in tone the action is off-the-wall with excellent shootouts and stunts choreographed by Corey Yuen Kwai. Most notably an amazing sequence where Jet Li ploughs his car through the hotel lobby, machineguns a bunch of terrorists and zooms inside the elevator, only to be met by flamethrowers on the next floor. He leaps out in the nick of time as the flaming auto falls off the top of the ten-story building. Amazing stuff. The finale with Kit struggling to free Helen from an explosive vest is more prosaic by comparison, but delivers an inspired bit of poetic justice for the suave villain while Jacky Cheung’s frenetic fight with Mr. Bond is a sublime slice of slapstick buffoonery. Goodness knows what Jackie Chan thought of it, though.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1540 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: