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CompleteMartialArts.com - Thunderbolt

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Starring: Jackie Chan, Anita Yuen, Michael Wong, Thorsten Nickel, Yuen Chor
Directed By: Gordon Chan Kar-Sheung
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5

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Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Binding: Video Download
Release Date: 2007-11-09
Running Time: 111
Studio: New Line Cinema
Theatrical Release Date: 1995-02-01

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Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Jackie "Mr. Action" Chan is great!!!!
Comment: This film has a lot of fast cars, criminals, and of course Mr. Chan, himself. There are some slow parts but this is still a great movie.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5
Summary: Good action and stunts, but a mindless story
Comment: Jackie Chan is a tow truck driver and lives with his dad and sisters at their junkyard. He also enjoys race car driving and helps the police capture a killer who also likes to race cars. When Jackie outdrives the killer and helps the police catch him, the killer tells Jackie that he wants a real race. In a couple of very illogical scenes the killer gets broken out of prison and kidnaps Jackie's sister. Jackie has to race him to get his sister back. The story is really bad and the only good thing about the movie is the action, but even that has its flaws.

There is one very long action sequence where Jackie tries to rescue his sister. Jackie fights about 20 people including Ken Lo who gets to show off his amazing kicking skills. Jackie is doubled a lot, but it is the wirework and the way they shoot the scene that bugged me. They use a weird frame rate and this action scene is way too stylized for my tastes. On the positive side, there is some great stuntwork in this scene and a fantastic finsish.

There is a lot of car racing and the car stunts are done very well. Most Jackie Chan movies have a big final fight at the end, but this one ends with a mildly exciting car race. But this race would have been a lot more exciting if it was better directed and if the story had more thought put into it. This was a hard movie to sit through.


Picture quality on the New Line DVD is perfect. Both the English and Cantonese tracks sound perfect. SUbtitles are well written.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: New Line gets it right
Comment: I have to agree with others that this is the definitive version of Thunderbolt. I first saw it years ago on TNT edited down to 90 minutes and dubbed. So I bought the Taiwan version years ago. The setback of that one (like most Asian DVDs of old films) was that everyone was dubbed over in Mandarin by different actors, the picture looks old, and the subtitles are so-so. With the New Line DVD, you get the entire film, original dialogue, and better subtitling. On top of that, the picture is clean. The only thing that has been replaced are the opening and closing credits (and that is understanable since the original credits are in Chinese).

It's a top notch DVD.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Understand chinsese Movie
Comment: Thunderbolt is made in 1994, not 1995, I'm not chinese, but I saw the movie when I was 4 years. Thi s movie is all about action and drama. Chinese people like to make movie that have action and drama, they pretty much don't care about how the viewer understand the story, but understand the action, not the words. This movie is rent if you can find them at blockbuster, but why not spent $17.99 without looking for it. If you saw the Fast and Furious, this movie made before the Fast and Furious, and they use no special effect, and the best racing movie I've ever see. But forget about the racing, is the action is very Hollywood like, not joking, it the truth. Shooting and moving house is had very good action-effect realistic movie. The moving house is when Jackie Chan's in a Truck storage and sleep in it. The Bad guy pick his room up and crush to his Father and sister roomes. But most chinese movie had few or no good guy die in the movie, because if they did have alot of good guy die in the movie,than is not chinese movie and end up like making very sucky Hollywood movie that were made by the chinese. This movie is worth your time. See it! Buy or rent's your choice. It's all about racing, fighting, shooting, Japanese gambleming, and coolest.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: Not your typical Jackie Chan vehicle
Comment: Here be SPOILERS.

Made in 1995, THUNDERBOLT is the redheaded stepchild of Jackie Chan's film oeuvre; it's not your typical happy-go-lucky Jackie Chan flick. This film spews out a vigorous blend of frenetic car chases, pulse-pounding fight sequences, and, oddly enough, a dramatic acting turn by Jackie Chan. THUNDERBOLT tells the story of former race car champion Chan Foh To (Jackie Chan) who ends up on a gangster's crap list. It all starts when Foh, now an auto repair mechanic, accompanies his father, who, every now and then, is called upon by the police to identify specially modified cars which are then towed away on suspicion of illegal street drag racing. On one such occasion, Foh witnesses a speed racer who evades capture and fatally runs down a policeman. Later, Foh engages the same speedster in a hazardous street race and manages to lead him straight to the police, where he is summarily apprehended.

Things get even more serious when it's discovered that the speed freak is none other than Warner "Cougar" Krugman, an influential criminal wanted by Interpol. A bribery attempt by Cougar's henchmen fails to dissuade Foh from coming forward as a witness against Cougar. However, Cougar means to get his vengeance on against Foh and, furthermore, aims to get another shot at racing him. With those intentions in mind, he kidnaps Foh's two younger sisters. But Cougar underestimates the resiliency and determination, not to mention the driving skills and arse-whoopin' talent, of Chan Foh To...

Don't mistake THUNDERBOLT for one of Jackie's patented, lighthearted comedy-action romps. He's pretty serious here as he and the dramatic storyline dismiss all tendencies to go for the giggles. As apropos to Jackie Chan's films, the action sequences are again exhilarating to watch. I understand that some if not most of the stunts are, this time, performed by a double as Jackie had incurred an ankle injury in his prior feature RUMBLE IN THE BRONX and wasn't able to fully step up to the plate. But the stunts mostly don't suffer for it as we get to murmur appreciatively at the high standard sequences in Foh's garage and in the pachinko parlor (for pachinko, think pinball machines). One complaint is that, at times, the action director resorted to that disjointed, blurry, slo-mo stuff - I'm not impressed. Meanwhile, the film's somber tone really sinks in during Cougar's traumatic razing of Foh's residence and place of business. I had never seen Jackie so beat up and so vulnerable as in that sequence and also in the ensuing emotionally wracked scenes at the hospital. Jackie has never invested so much emoting than when he was grieving over his cardiac-arrested father or, subsequently, when he is questioned by intrepid Interpol agent Steve Cannon (Michael Wong, who, by the way, doesn't really look Caucasian).

Another move off the beaten path for Chan (or, at least, in my viewing experience of his flicks) is the minutiae in which he involves the viewer regarding race car driving. This movie contains a decided element of THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, which THUNDERBOLT does precede. There are two races showcased here: a fairly exciting one early on which takes place in the streets of Hong Kong, the other an extended (it's friggin' 13 minutes long!) official race car competition on a Japanese speedway. Now, NASCAR fans might warm to the auto chases, but, to me, it only meant that a bit of human kinetic vitality was drained away to make room for the vroom-vroom! energy of the film and, now, there's even less time for further fight scenes.

As mentioned, Jackie's acting is above par this time, and I must say the audience's viewing experience will be enchanced by screening the film in sub-title format, rather than in dub. Jackie, like most actors, instantaneously improves as an actor when seen and heard in his native language. Anita Yuen is the half-hearted romantic interest/obligatory female fluff here and plays the annoying, go-getter reporter Amy Yip, who kinda redeems herself at the end. Thorsten Nickel portrays the villain Cougar the same way a cabbage would portray the villain Cougar, and he unwittingly provides most of the rare humor that's in the film. Nickel's pretty dang abysmal.

I'm giving THUNDERBOLT three stars. I feel the only things that hold it up are Jackie's unusual foray into serious drama (which might draw in the curious) and the always reliable chop-socky beatdowns. The plot is blah, the pace of the film is jarring at times, and there aren't enough good acting performances. It's also the fact that I found out Jackie didn't do all his stunts this time out. And, maybe, in the end, I really was too disconcerted by the lack of Jackie's brand of over-the-top comedy. Yeah, maybe that's it.

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