It’s hard to believe Jackie Chan is in his early 60’s and still doing his best to pull off crazy stunts that he’s known for, and trying to stay relevant among today’s young and upcoming movie stars. After producing the sci-fi film Reset last year, he decides to jump into the fray with Bleeding Steel, which tries a bit too hard to hang with today’s high-octane, special effects-heavy films as the effects here aren’t all that special. Even still, Jackie Chan and his younger co-stars manage to scrape by with a decent sci-fi action flick that’s good for watching while munching on some snacks.
The story is a bit of a convoluted mess, but it follows special agent Lin Dong (Jackie Chan) whose daughter is dying from cancer while he does whatever he can to visit her and keep her alive. Sadly his job keeps him busy, namely with trying to protect a scientist that has somehow made superhuman cyborgs with one of them (Callan Mulvey) going crazy and wanting the scientist to give him a special mechanical heart that will give him ultimate power.
Dong manages to stop him from getting the heart, but loses his daughter while on the mission as we skip ahead thirteen years later where a young lady named Nancy (Nana Ou-yang) and a young man named Li Sen (Show Lo) come into the picture. It’s not long before we find out that Nancy has the heart inside her, and of course the evil cyborg guy returns somehow to try and get it. It falls on Dong and these two young people to stop the heart from falling into the wrong hands.
I don’t want to say anymore than that as I’d hate to spoil the “twist” the film tries to pull off (most will figure it out right away). While it’s not one of Jackie Chan’s best or a good sci-fi action piece, it’s entertaining enough as long as you’re expectations are in check. Chan still does his best to razzle-dazzle viewers with his trademark improv martial arts action and stunts, but it’s clear he’s getting up there in age and has to leave most of the heavy lifting up to his young co-stars.
I really wish the special effects and costumes were better, as most times it feels like you’re watching a bad cosplay film mixed with a Saturday morning kids show going on. Even if it had good effects and costumes, the convoluted story and pacing don’t help things either and will have most viewers scratching their heads trying to make sense of what they’re seeing.
I managed to get some entertainment from Bleeding Steel, but others’ mileage will vary for sure. I really wanted to like this film more than I did, but it’s hard to recommend thanks to a jumbled story, odd pacing, and so-so CGI all over the place. If you’re a hardcore Chan fan like me, you’ll still find yourself enjoying it while wishing it were better, but others might want to find their sci-fi action elsewhere.