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DVD Review

DVD cover

Jackie Chan & the Kung Fu Kid


Starring: Jackie Chan and Yishan Zhang
Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 12
Available 09 August 2010

At fifteen, life in Indonesia isn’t a great deal of fun for Zhang Yishan. He is lousy at school, not even scoring well in his Chinese lessons, and gets picked on mercilessly by the other children. Yishan's solution to this problem is to set off in search of his idol, Jackie Chan, in the hopes of becoming his student. However along the way Yishan falls foul of kidnappers, but learns some valuable lessons about life...

Jackie Chan and the Kung Fu Kid (2009 - 1 hr, 25 min) is a martial arts comedy directed by Gangliang Fang and Ping Jiang. For those of you expecting to see much of Jackie Chan you're about to be majorly disappointed. Apart for a quick cameo at the beginning of the film he hardly appears. I presume that changing the name of the film from Looking for Jackie is an attempt to cash in on the new version of The Karate Kid (2010), which would account for the notice on the DVD cover that the film only features Chan.

Whereas you would expect the film to follow the well worn path of other teenage martial arts films - endless training leading to more special moves as the film progresses - this is not the case. Yishan may have the desire to be Chan’s apprentice, but is even too feckless to train. Instead he heads off, supposedly to visit his grandmother only to encounter one incident after another which teaches him life lessons. This is very much the same sort of moralistic clap trap that Disney used to produce.

The film is obviously designed for quite young children as there is little peril and even the violence is significantly toned down, removing any serious threat from the film. This wouldn’t be a particular problem if the central character was either interesting or charismatic; unfortunately Yishan is a complete idiot, who spends his time bumbling around the countryside, which leads to an amount of unintended humour. Still, when he was kidnapped by the gang with a tragic past - nobody is irredeemable or wholly evil in the film - I was quite hoping to see him having a few fingers cut off, just for being so annoying.

In its native country the film was quite a hit, though whether this will translate successfully is a little doubtful.

It is difficult to say what e final DVD will look like, the one supplied was just a file and whilst the picture was clear it wasn’t particularly impressive. Obviously there were no menus or extras.

So, if you like stories about feckless youths who learn the true value of their Chinese heritage then this might be for you, just don’t expect much Chan or Kung Fu.


Charles Packer

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