If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is. You’ve seen it in countless action movies. Jack also has a problem with authority, jurisdiction, and playing nice with others, as he takes the Bauer (another Jack) approach to law enforcement and tortures without reason. And if you assumed he puts the job first and his family second, you get a prize.
Meanwhile, Jet Li just smirks his way through every scene, content with not having to do anything exciting.
Jack is an FBI agent searching for the mysterious assassin that killed his partner three years before. He wants justice. He wants answers. He wants vengeance. And other staccato lines that are laced with machismo.
The quick criticism for actions movies is always simply, “there was no plot, just action.” Action fans cry out that critics don’t get it. “Pure action is all it’s about.”
Well, this time it’s the opposite. If you’re looking for wall-to-wall action and zero plot, you’re searching in the wrong place. Instead you’ll get a formulaic, overdone plot and very little action. The story drags on and on, arbitrarily moving the characters around. Like the rookie writers got bored with their paint-by-number. An unnecessary car chase scene is inserted here. A random shootout placed there. At least I can relate to being bored.
For a movie that touts itself as the showdown between two international action stars, it might have been a good idea to have a decent showdown in the movie. When they aren’t randomly killing people for no reason, the two characters gruffly deliver poorly written lines to move it along to the inevitable. They do finally collide, but by then no one cares and the fight is as forgettable as the build up.
Even recognizable action lady Devon Aoki shows up to whisper sinister things to menacing men. At one point she holds a gun and a knife to two men without reason, and then asks for a chef salad… That’s your comic relief? After that I was just rooting for all the characters to die. At least that would have been original.
The film does, however, attempt to jolt something new after an endless barrage of similar scenes by attempting a twist ending. But even that we’ve seen in a Bond movie already. It didn’t make any sense in that either.