Vanguard – Review by Jamie Matthew MacDonald

It is a rip roaring globetrotting martial arts action movie extravaganza and a race for Jackie and his Vanguard to save the world.

Martial Arts film legend Jackie Chan stars as Tang Huatang the leader of covert security firm Vanguard, who protect the rich and elite. They foil an attack on Qin (Jackson Lau) and his wife by a group known as Artic Wolves, hired guns, led by Broto played by the incredibly talented Brahim Chab. They learn that Broto is working for Omar and his group, Brotherhood. Qin was their accountant until he refused to help them buy weapons of mass destruction. Now, Omar wants his revenge on Qin for his betrayal of his father, he also wants his father`s money back. His next move is to send Broto and his men to kidnap Qin`s daughter Fareeda (Ruohan Xu as leverage against Qin. Now it`s a race for Tang and his team Lei (Yang Yang) Zhang Kaixuan (Lun Ai) & Miya (Miya Muqi ) and the rest of the Vanguard to rescue Qin`s daughter plus keep Qin and his wife safe from the hands of Broto and his Artic Wolves…

The Pre title sequence introduces the Vanguard so well, as they rescue Qin from Broto and his men. Yang Yang`s Lei, has to a nice little exchange with Brahim Chab`s Broto. We are introduced to Kaixuan`s wife and son within the opening as well, family man of the Vanguard. MIya gets a nice intro to the film driving a limo through London`s busy roads, as Lei and Kaixuan make their escape from their first encounter with Broto and his men. Jackie Chan`s character Yang, we first meet him stuck behind a desk getting told of the abduction of Qin. His character is reminiscent of George Cowley from the Professionals, for me anyway. The film is structured very well; the first 2 acts are paced at a breathtakingly speed, going furiously from one set piece to another. There is a few little cringe moments, like the CGI hyenas during the rescue of Freeda in Africa. Then the CGI lions are really well done, lifelike in look and movement. I enjoyed the fact that Jackie pokes fun at his age in a few class little moments (I`d say my favourite bits off the film) He lets the younger talent shine here. All of whom showcase their acting talent as well as their action skills. Great respect to him for doing so, it must be every action movie stars dream to be in a film with Jackie Chan. He can still bust a move, though here Jackie takes more of a back seat. When we get to the finale, after all that build up, there seems to be a bit of a lull for some reason. It is still enjoyable, but I was expecting maybe a Chan film like of old and it ending with a twenty minute final fight with Jackie fighting multiple opponents. This is my issue though. It is a completely different style of film, where Chan and his group rely on technology rather than just their hands and feet. It is a rip roaring globetrotting martial arts action movie extravaganza and a race for Jackie and his Vanguard to save the world.

Vanguard out now on DVD and Blu Ray

Writer/director Stanley Tong & Jackie Chan team up for Vanguard. Do they recapture the magic of past glories? Is Vanguard a return to form for Jackie Chan? I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the spectacle of the film. Different types of action and the beautiful locations all blend together well. I think that the finale could`ve been a bit tighter, but it`s still enjoyable. So I`m going to say yes it is a wee bit of a return to form for Jackie Chan!

CineAsia presents Vanguard in Selected Cinemas and On Demand 8th January and Blu-ray & DVD 11th January 2021

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