Review: Thunderbolt – Lick Pik Feng (1995)

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Thunderbolt – Lick Pik Feng (1995)

Directed by: Gordon Chan | 110 minutes | action | Actors: Jackie Chan, Thorsten Nickel, Anita Yuen, Michael Wong, Yuen Chor, Oi-Yan Wu, Chung-Han Man

You will watch a Jackie Chan film because the film guarantees a simple story with humor, action and choreographically well-crafted fight scenes. Anyone who goes to watch ‘Thunderbolt’ with this thought will be disappointed. In the first place you are presented with a very simple story, even by Jackie Chan standards. He takes on the role of car mechanic Chan Foh To who works in his father’s company, which builds and repairs sports cars. He does everything he can to avoid getting into trouble. Together with his father, he also tows cars, which are confiscated by the police during speed checks. When hit man and race car driver Warner “Cougar” Kaugman (Thorsten Nickel) races through the streets of Hong Kong, Chan Foh To is the only one who can keep up with him. After his arrest and release due to a legal error, Warner challenges Chan to race him on a track. Chan refuses and only springs into action when Warner kidnaps his sisters.

The action in ‘Thunderbolt’ can be divided into two types: the car races and the fight scenes. The car races often take too long. Whether racing through the streets of Hong Kong or on the circuit in Japan, the viewer quickly gets bored. An additional problem with the race scenes on the track was caused by production problems: at the time of shooting there was excessive rainfall in Japan, forcing people to move to the Malaysian track. In Malaysia, people were afraid that there would be injuries during the filming and so the drivers were not allowed to drive fast. The recordings made there have been edited in an accelerated manner, making it seem as if the cars are driving very fast. It’s a contrived solution that looks amateurish. You also alternately look at a very wet or a very dry race track. The fight scenes are well choreographed, but unfortunately almost all of them are done by stuntmen. On ‘Rumble in the Bronx’, Jackie Chan, who normally does his stunts himself, suffered a foot injury that left him unable to play himself. To prevent the attentive viewer from noticing this, director and screenwriter Gordon Chan has chosen to use strange camera angles, close-ups and out-of-focus focuses. Unfortunately, part of Sammo Hung Kam-bo’s choreography is also lost as a result.

The attention of the cameraman and actors also wanes every now and then. Jackie Chan is then addressed by his colleagues by his real name instead of the name of his character and on the race track we see pit crew running with their jackets “Jackie Chan Racing”. With ‘Thunderbolt’ Jackie Chan will not win new fans. It’s time for a short pit stop and after that he has to make another good film like lightning.

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