Jackie Chan’s North by Northwest
Directed by Jackie Chan
Starring Jackie Chan, Harvey Kietel, Emma Thompson
Written by Alfred Hitchcock
There are only two Jackie Chan plots: Bad Guys chase Jackie, and Jackie chases Bad Guys. This remake of the classic Hitchcock thriller is the former, enough said on that topic. What Mr. Chan lacks in dramatic depth he more than compensates for in stunt action. We open in a corn field lost in the nowhere of north central Indiana. Jackie’s Daihatsu breaks down, so he attempts to flag a passing cropduster, which proceeds to chase him up and down the corn rows. This ticks him off, and he catches the plane by the landing gear, climbs up over the wing to the cockpit, chop sockies the pilot to a pulp, then flies off to find a tow truck. Superb. Another great chase occurs in a child’s play park. In your youth, you wondered if you could swing al the way over the top of the swing set. Jackie can. The final scene isn’t just a cliffhanger. Battling for his life, Right, and the Hong Kong Opera School way, Jackie and evil Harvey Kietel swing from ropes on the partially completed Crazy Horse statue like two Tarzans in a stone yard. Watch out for that finger, Harvey… oooh! Too late.
Acting is wooden, plot convoluted, and stunts to die for. Gone is Hitchcock’s psychological nuance, replaced with flying fists of action. Emma Thompson produces a reasonable Femme Fatale, and good old Harvey shows the goods one more time. Catch this one on video, so you can fast forward through the talk, and slow mo through the falls. It’s amazing this boy is still alive.