Bleeding Steel has plenty of stunts from Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan in Bleeding Steel.
Jackie Chan in Bleeding Steel.PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES



107 minutes/Opens on Friday/ 2.5 stars

The story: Special agent Lin Dong (Jackie Chan) suffers a huge personal loss during an assignment to protect a powerful witness. Years later, a group of mysterious robot-like beings come back to haunt him, still angered by what transpired that night.

One of the biggest highlights of any Jackie Chan movie is not in the film itself, but the behind-the-scenes reel that is screened during the closing credits.

It shows the incredible amount of work that the actor, now 63 years young, still puts into every crazily dangerous stunt that he goes through for every film.

That effort alone warrants at least one star in this review.

Without it, it would be hard to love this movie, which cannot decide if it wants to be a modern and edgy sci-fi film or a B-movie flick.

It is not just the premise of the story that fails to convince. The design of the film, from the costumes to the set, is so nonsensical that it becomes unintentionally funny.

It is as if the director borrowed from the most obvious sci-fi movies he has seen, making his robotics-enhanced humans walk around in broad daylight donning shiny patent leather get-ups and motorbike helmets. They stick out like sore thumbs among the human crowds, but no one appears to notice.

Chan, who is a producer of the film, should really just stick to what he is good at and go the traditional action route. Because when he is in his element here - whether he is jumping off the Sydney Opera House or flying out of cars in a speed chase - he shines.

It is all the more exciting as he is portrayed as being far from invincible here - there are a number of times when he gets very close to death in thrilling fight and shoot-out scenes.

As soon as those ridiculous robot men (or are they men-robots?) show up to try to finish him off, that is when it all goes downhill again.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2017, with the headline 'Steel yourself for action and nonsense'. Subscribe