Veteran action star Jackie Chan has had two releases this past month. His more recent feature film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, where he voices the character of Master Splinter is getting positive reviews. However, his live-action film Hidden Strike, which co-stars John Cena, has received a terrible response.
Opening to a disastrous 0% score on Rotten Tomatoes, the Netflix film has received mostly negative reviews. The action film is deemed one of the legendary star’s more forgettable offerings.
Troubles On Hidden Strike
Hidden Strike was directed by Scott Waugh, who is known for the film adaptation of Need For Speed. He will also be directing the upcoming action film Expend4bles, the fourth film in the Expendables franchise.
The Jackie Chan and John Cena starrer Hidden Strike was actually filmed back in 2018. An action comedy, the film follows the story of Luo Feng and Chris Horne as they team up to fight a group of mercenaries in an ‘oil war’. The film is an action comedy combining the talents of the legendary Jackie Chan and current action-star John Cena.
The film underwent many troubles to secure its release. Despite wrapping production in 2018, the film did not secure any distributors for five years. It underwent many title changes including Project X, Project X-Traction, SNAFU, and Ex-Baghdad. The film was finally released in cinemas on July 28 in limited theatres, after which it immediately started streaming on Netflix.
Apart from the well-executed stunts by Jackie Chan, which is usually the highlight of his films, Hidden Strike received abysmal reviews from critics around the world. The film opened to 0% on Rotten Tomatoes and has since risen to 17%. Critics pointed out that the underwhelming action from John Cena, missed comedic timing, and poor storytelling, as the causes for the film’s bomb.
Lack Of Chemistry And Poor CGI
One of the common elements the critics have focussed on is the extensive use of CGI and the lack of chemistry between the leads. Billed as a buddy comedy, John Cena and Jackie Chan seem to not share the same charm that Chan has shared with previous American action stars in films like Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon. A review by Collider talks about Jackie Chan,
“When the duo then splits up to try to stop the heist to save the day or whatever, the sequences with Chan aren’t terrible as he takes part in a leaping battle of stunts. Even if it isn’t the most well-edited action scene you’re ever likely to see, with its cuts hiding some of the rough edges and breaking the immersion we have with the fight, at least it feels like there was something resembling a vision to its staging.”
However, the same review heavily criticizes John Cena’s action sequences,
“The one with Cena? More of the same with poor effects that never for a second create any sense of investment. That this becomes the culmination of the movie, the supposed big finale, is a testament to just how tepid the whole film was.”
Critics also pointed out the similarities and inspirations that the fim takes from George Miller’s epic post-apocalyptic film Mad Max: Fury Road and how it does not hold up the film.
Many critics pointed out the poor use of CGI in the desert sequences. The film is supposed to take place in Iraq and the VFX background of the desert is said to be underwhelming. A review stated,
“…we see John Cena’s Chris Van Horne standing by a car for a deal with a group of armed characters in the middle of the desert. Did I say dessert? What I should have said was one of the most cartoonish CGI approximations of one where it doesn’t feel like the characters are even in the same room, let alone actually talking to each other. If only this had been more integral to the otherwise standard film.”
The film finally started streaming on Netflix and debuted at No.1 in the USA, mostly because of the fresh star cast. Audience reviews have been divisive, with some calling it a run-off-the-mill action film with its own charm while others agree with critics.