Hidden Strike (2023)

Hidden Strike (2023)



A predictable action thriller that fails to appreciate the great chemistry between its big-star leads



China, United States of America
English, Mandarin, Portuguese
Action, Action & Adventure, Adventure, Thriller
Amadeus Serafini, Gong Jun, Hani Adel
103 min


One hour and forty-two minutes of wishing I was watching Rush Hour instead.

What it's about

A Chinese soldier (Jackie Chan) and an American mercenary (John Cena) strike an unlikely partnership as they protect their family against dangerous raiders deep in a Middle Eastern desert.

The take

There’s little to like in Hidden Strike, a shoddy action thriller riddled with dodgy CGI, melodramatic performances, and ultra-predictable plotlines. You could even play a drinking game spotting all the action cliches present in the film (take a shot every time the patriotic hero dedicates a killing to his countrymen). Mostly, it’s laughable and complex for all the wrong reasons, but there are rare moments when Chan and Cena’s partnership works. They’re pockets of humor that feel like actual breathers, a respite in a film that’s ultimately tiresome to watch. 

What stands out

It’s this partnership that stands out in the film. Cena and Chan have an effortless rapport that surfaces whenever they joke around. In one of their first scenes together, Chan greets the French bad guy, “Bonjour.” “You speak French?” Cena asks. “That’s all I know,” Chan says. It’s a small deadpan joke but it’s like a light finally broke through the film’s cold exterior. I’m suddenly reminded of all the buddy-cop comedies Chan used to do years ago and how buoyant he was back then. Hidden Strike is no Rush Hour, but it could be if it fleshed out the script and understood that the chemistry Chan has with Cena is the best part of the film, not the showboat fighting, which is devoid of personality anyway.


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