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Jet Li's Meltdown aka. High Risk (1995)
#1

Probably one of my favourite HK films of the 90s. I introduced a chewer to it last night and I'd almost forgotten how much fun the damn thing is.

It's essentially a HK parody of Die Hard with Jet Li playing an ex-bomb disposal expert who now works as a bodyguard/stunt double for Frankie Long (who is essentially a pisstake of Jackie Chan). Frankie gets invited to the unveiling of some new priceless antiques in a skyscraper and gets himself caught in the middle of an armed heist led by a villainous robber/terrorist named the Doctor and his cadre of goons.

What makes the film so great is just how insanely goofy and transgressively violent the entire thing is.

This is a film where Jet Li crashes a helicopter into a building and bisects about a dozen people (mostly hostages) with the rotors.

It's a film where Jet Li reverses a car into an elevator and then drives it up an interior stairwell.

It's a film where half a building gets blown up and the Doctor's goons calmly play the piano amidst the wreckage.

It's a film where the chinese version of Hans Gruber is continually revealed by his insistence on using his catchphrase 'No Risk, No Reward'.

It's a film where the main hero gets menanced by a komodo dragon. It's a film with the immortal line "she's not a lady, she's a bitch".

It's a film where Jet Li beats, strangles, electrocutes, and finally impales one mook.

And all of the elements surprisingly work. Apart from a slow opening it's consistently entertaining. I'm not sure if it's got much of a rep, but if you ever find a version (particularly the dubbed) cheap I'd really recommend picking it up.

It's also got a surprisingly great fight betweeen Jacky Cheun (Frankie Long) and Billy Chau (who is probably best know for playing General Fujita in Fist of Legend).

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#2

Wasn't this made because the director was in a bit of a bitch-fest with Jackie Chan over City Hunter? Because if so it's one of the most entertaining bitch-fests I've ever seen. And I frankly prefer Jet "I'm going to mow down about a billion mooks with an uzi" Li to his calm martial pacifist persona.

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#3

Yeah, when City Hunter was a complete failure Jackie Chan very publically threw Wong Jing under the bus. Wong Jing responded with this and his vision of Jackie Chan is frankly glorious. Then again Wong Jing is kind of like the Michael Bay of HK cinema, critics hate him, audiences tend to respond really well to his films.

And yeah, I prefer fuck y'all, I'm hear to break people Jet Li to stoic Jet Li. It's why I like Fist of Legend so much.

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#4

God Fist of Legend used to be my pump-up video before Kung-Fu lessons, which probably implies that I was going about things the wrong way.

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#5

The film is nuts. Its a great late night weekend flick though.

Its ridiculous but entertaining and yes that matters.

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