Friday 28 July 2023

REVIEW: Hidden Strike (2023) - Starring Jackie Chan and John Cena

Review by Jon Donnis
Starring Jackie Chan and John Cena, this thrilling Chinese-American action film combines the classic buddy cop dynamic, exemplified by Jackie Chan's iconic style, with masterful fighting choreography, creating an exhilarating cinematic experience.

Directed by Scott Waugh, the story revolves around two elite soldiers who are entrusted with the perilous task of leading a group of civilians through a treacherous path filled with gunfire and explosions in Baghdad's infamous "Highway of Death," known as one of the world's most dangerous roadways. Jackie Chan portrays Luo Feng, a military officer turned private security contractor, while John Cena plays Chris Van Horne, a former Marine.

The plot thickens as Luo Feng discovers that an assault on a Chinese-owned oil refinery is just a part of a larger scheme to steal valuable oil resources. As fate would have it, Van Horne's was unwittingly part of a team that hijacks two buses from Luo Feng's convoy on the same deadly highway. This encounter sets them against each other, but they soon realize they share a common enemy. Forced to confront their misconceptions, they form an unlikely partnership as they unite to thwart the sinister plan.

Under the direction of Scott Waugh, the film seamlessly blends heart-pounding action, camaraderie, and high-octane sequences, delivering an entertaining and adrenaline-pumping watch for action enthusiasts.

With John Cena getting to show off his Chinese speaking abilities, we get the expected miscommunications that language barriers always create.

The first 45 minutes of the film is quite a serious affair, and it is not until Cena and Chan partner up, do we get the kind of buddy cop type humour that you would expect.

Jackie Chan gets some classic set pieces and fight scenes that he is famous for, and John Cena gets some of the smarter one liners.

There is a good dynamic between the two, and if developed further, they could make a great pairing if future films.

There is quite a lot of background CGI, which unfortunately is a bit obvious at times, and that's a shame as it does distract somewhat. I think the same kind of film could have been made without the CGI if filmed in a simple location.

The Good
Jackie Chan gets to do what he does best, and what we all pay to see, some classic well-choreographed kung fu scenes with imaginative use of the surrounding. John Cena is his usual charming funny self, and he has now cemented himself as a top star.

Yes, there are some "in-credits" out takes, which are always fun in Jackie Chan films.

The Bad
That damned CGI looks a bit naff at times. I think the storyline was a bit too grand for the budget.

I am a massive fan of Jackie Chan, and I do enjoy John Cena too. The film has enough of both to satisfy, and although the plot is silly at times and the CGI not the best, I still enjoyed it. I would like to see more of Cena and Chan, will we get more films with these two? Who knows.

I score Hidden Strike a really generous 8/10.

Out now on Netflix at