First Hit: Entertaining and nice to see Jackie Chan back in action.
This film is in the same bucket as Liam Neeson’s Taken series of films. Here, Quan Ngoc Minh (Chan), runs a restaurant which supports him, his daughter Fan (Katie Leung), and Lam (Tao Liu) who runs the day-to-day of the restaurant.
Quan takes his daughter to select and buy her homecoming dress and while she’s in the store the “Authentic IRA” bombs a department store that kills Fan. Quan, a former special forces operator from Vietnam, is heartbroken and distraught because Fan was his last living relative. After grieving for a short period of time, we know he’s going to make someone pay.
We get a back story of his losing his wife and other daughter when they fled Vietnam and now all he has are a couple pictures and a lot of sadness.
The good part is that at 60+ years old Chan can still fight and he makes it all look good and appropriate for his age and skill set.
His protagonist is the Irish Deputy Minister Liam Hennessy (Pierce Bronson) who led the IRA for years and now curries favor from the British Government for keeping the peace between the IRA operatives and Britain. Holding this peaceful co-existence together means he has compromised his Irish independence values and, per some of his peers, he’s gone soft towards the British Government.
Quan presses Hennessy for the names of the bombers and adds that he will not stop his quest until he has their names. He plans to revenge his daughter’s loss and exercise his demons for the all the losses he’s had.
Hennessy is also trying to find out who bombed the store and then it gets worse when they bomb a bus loaded with people. The peace in Ireland and his cushy job are in jeopardy.
The film becomes a cat and mouse game and Quan holds his own while following through on his objective. Hennessy also follows through on his goal to clean everything up and his ruthlessness comes through. In one of the last scenes in the film he directs his nephew to tie up one last loose end.
Chan is strong in this role and uses his impressive skills appropriately. What didn’t quite work was the use of the same sad face as his primary go-to for dramatic effect. It was a look that was suppose to express his deep sadness for his losses in life and that he was about to explode like a volcano. Bronson was very good in this role. He created a right level of being settled into a bureaucratic job, but still having the fire of being an IRA patriot. Niall McNamee as Hennessy’s nephew Patrick O’Reilly, was excellent. Appropriately responsive to his powerful uncle’s requests. Liu was wonderful as Chan’s restaurant assistant and friend. Her honorable sweetness stood out. Dermot Crowley as former IRA leader Hugh McGrath was very good. I loved how his anger towards the state of the IRA peace pact with Britain was expressed. David Marconi did a great job of writing a script that worked for all the characters. Martin Campbell directed this film with a good eye towards using the skills and strengths of his actors in this story.
Overall: It was an entertaining film.