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Chinese language cinema

Film review: Bleeding Steel – globe-trotting Jackie Chan sci-fi action caper is utter nonsense

You can’t fault Hong Kong actor’s work ethic, but he should be more discerning; burdened with a nonsensical script and packed with risible English dialogue and even worse performances, this film feels like a lazy cash grab

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 December, 2017, 7:02am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 December, 2017, 7:02am

0.5/5 stars

The recent prolific output of Hong Kong action legend Jackie Chan continues, as audiences in China flock to see his films in unprecedented numbers. The quality of Chan’s films has, however, varied wildly, and with this one he hits a new low in terms of the nonsensical garbage he is willing to put his name to.

Ostensibly an Australian-Chinese co-production, Bleeding Steel is a globetrotting sci-fi action caper that sees Chan play a former UN security officer who must rescue his estranged daughter from the clutches of a mutated super soldier and his army of space robots. And it gets worse.

Officer Lin (Chan) is grieving the apparent death of his daughter Xixi from leukaemia, while simultaneously licking his wounds after failing to protect a game-changing scientist. Thirteen years later, the publication of a sci-fi novel precisely detailing the biotech Lin’s charge was working on attracts a variety of interested parties to Sydney, leading to all manner of nefarious shenanigans.

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Chan finds himself partnered with Taiwanese pop star Show Luo (The Mermaid), whose shady thief is also looking for the tech. New Zealand-born Australian actor Callan Mulvey plays a vengeful test subject, whose mutated physique now resembles a Borg from Star Trek. Their investigations all lead to a young Chinese student called Nancy (cellist-turned actress Nana Ou-yang), who turns out to be Lin’s daughter.

Short on action, humour or logic, Bleeding Steel is incoherent from the get-go, with all the narrative clarity of an excitable toddler. Chan’s stand-off with Tess Haubrich’s deadly henchwoman on the roof of the Sydney Opera House should have been a memorable action set-piece, but falls flat, thanks to bland choreography and Leo Zhang Lijia’s disinterested direction.

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Packed with risible English dialogue and even worse performances, the film feels like a lazy, contemptuous cash grab from start to finish, as Chan hopes to make a quick buck off his enduring popularity without offering audiences an ounce of entertainment in return.

Bleeding Steel opens on December 28

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