Monday, November 16, 2020

Vanguard Review: Jackie Chan is Back In A World Trotting Fight Extravaganza

Jackie Chan	...	Tang Huating Yang Yang	Yang Yang	...	Lei Zhenyu Miya Muqi	Miya Muqi	...	Mi Ya Lun Ai	Lun Ai	...	Zhang Kaixuan Ruohan Xu	Ruohan Xu	...	Fareeda Zhengting Zhu	Zhengting Zhu	...	Shendiao Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Desmond Aldridge	Desmond Aldridge	...	Yago Nicole Atalla	Nicole Atalla		 Can Aydin	Can Aydin	...	Silver Fox Sayed Badreya	Sayed Badreya	...	Abati Ilez Badurgov	Ilez Badurgov	...	Jackal / Bodyguard Brahim Chab	Brahim Chab	...	Broto Barret Coates	Barret Coates	...	Black Bear Keith Dallison	Keith Dallison	...	Wheelchair Man Diego Dati	Diego Dati	...	Blue Dog

In Theaters: November 20, 2020
Run Time: 108 Minutes
Starring: Jackie Chan, Yang Yang, Miya Muqi, Lun Ai, Ruohan XuZhengting Zhu
Director: Stanley Tong

Covert security company Vanguard is the last hope of survival for an accountant after he is targeted by the world's deadliest mercenary organization.  The accountant must trust the leader of Vanguard Tang Huating (Chan) with his and his family's life.  But when the mercenary organization sends more and more after them, can Vanguard keep them safe while keeping their own team alive?

Vanguard is Jackie Chan's latest action movie, and the film does a lot to evoke the classic Jackie Chan style.  The film has some very good martial arts action, with high flying stunts, great choreography, and interesting fights.  But it also has Chan's signature style throughout, with a level of humor injected into each encounter.  Punches are occasionally interrupted by funny facial expressions or quips, and sometimes the fighters will bumble their way into a positive outcome.  And this isn't limited to Chan's action scenes; all the martial artists get in on this style and it makes for exciting and entertaining fight sequences.  And the action is not limited to simply hand to hand fighting; Vanguard features gun fights and vehicle action as well.  One of the most exciting and elaborate sequences occurs with aquatic vehicles, and I can't imagine how difficult this was to film (though you get a glimpse of it in the making of sequences that play during the credits).

Director: Stanley Tong Writers: Stanley Tong (screenplay by), Tiffany Alycia Tong (english dialogue)     Jwanwat Ahriyavraromp	...	executive producer Guy Allon	...	Line Producer: UK Unit Katy Chen	...	co-producer Edward Cheng	...	executive producer Yue Chuanjiang	...	executive producer Maxine De Vere	...	line producer: Dubai Junming Deng	...	executive producer Ruoqing Fu	...	general consultant Jiao Hongfen	...	executive producer Feng Hu	...	co-executive producer Xiaoping Jiang	...	co-executive producer Jackson Pat	...	Producer: UK Unit Stanley Tong	...	executive producer / producer Barbie Tung	...	producer Chunlin Wang	...	co-executive producer Eddie Wong	...	producer Yunhe Wu	...	co-executive producer Tao Xu	...	co-executive producer Yu Xu	...	co-executive producer Xi Yang	...	co-executive producer Wanghu Zhang	...	co-executive producer Yong Zhang	...	executive producer Yong Zhang	...	co-executive producer / co-producer Yuehui Zhao	...	co-executive producer Baolin Zhou	...	producer Maofei Zhou	...	co-executive producer
And speaking of how difficult it was to film, you can tell that the crew put a ton of effort into this.  You can see this effort in the previously mentioned making of clips that play during the credits, another signature of Jackie Chan movies, showing bloopers and painful mishaps that happened during choreography.  You can tell that the whole crew was committed to this and fought through, even during some difficult conditions and painful accidents.  But the payoff is fights that are tight and elaborate taking place in a variety of fight locations.  And throughout this, Vanguard has a generally bright, colorful style.  Scenes pop and again, it ensures that you stay interested in the overall action.  And for the United States release, there is a brand new dubbed version of the film.  Although I watched the movie in the original Chinese with English subtitles, I did spend a little bit of time with the new dub and it sounded fine.  It was not distracting and it appeared that the translation was lovingly done, even changing some aspects of the subtitled version to flow more naturally.

However, Vanguard is an action spectacle that will keep your attention but the story itself is less than fulfilling.  It feels like simply a vehicle to setup fights and have the team go to a variety of places, but this makes the story hard to follow.  Also, in some scenes wave after wave of enemies are thrown at the heroes, which makes for exciting, but somewhat ridiculous encounters.  And the movie has some ridiculous CGI, especially involving animals and cars.  I understand why they did this to save on cost but it is really distracting.  It pulls you out of the movie to see a large animal move around unrealistically or see a car that sticks to the pavement a little too closely.  And Vanguard has some less than stellar depictions of other cultures, but nothing that was offensive.  But overall, come for the action and to see Jackie Chan in another entertaining and humorous action film, just don't expect to be blown away outside of the explosions themselves. 

Vanguard is a signature Jackie Chan movie, with some elite martial artists engaged in exciting and humorous action in a variety of beautiful and entertaining locales.

Rent it.

Jackie Chan martial arts kung fu action explosions gunplay fighting fight choreography exciting elaborate martial arts
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Vanguard is available in theaters on November 20, 2020.  For showtimes, click here.

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