Chinese Zodiac (2012) Movie Review

CZ12CZ12 / Chinese Zodiac

  • Rating – NA
  • December 2012 (Hong Kong)
  • Director – Jackie Chan
  • Jackie Chan – JC (Hawk in previous series)
  • Kwan Sang Woo – Simon
  • Liao Fan – Fan
  • Zhang Lan Xin – Bonnie
  • Yao Xing Tong –Coco

 

Show Me

Now this is the 3rd installment of the Armour of God series and supposedly Jackie Chan’s last big action movie.  With this movie, he managed to break 2 Guinness World Records, and won for “Best Action Choreography” at 32nd Hong Film Awards.   The 2 Guinness World Records were “Most Stunts Performed by a Living Actor” and “Most Credits in One Movie”.  Learning this information I was pretty excited in seeing Chan’s swan song to his fans.   I was a big fan of Chan’s older movies like Drunken Master, Armour of God, and Rumble in the Bronx.  Chan was well known not to use any wires, do all his own stunts, and just destroy everybody on screen with his Kung Fu skills.  Of course he had some misfires:  The Tuxedo, The Medallion, Spy Next Door, and Around the World in 80 Days.  Let see if Chan returns to his old style with his third movie in his popular Armour of God series or if it is another misfire.

JC roller suit
Money, Money, Money

The film is setup by a narrator explaining that during the 2nd Opium War in 1800s, a place located in Beijing called Old Summer Palace (aka Imperial Gardens) was invaded by the British and French.  The British and French took many artifacts including bronze statue heads that represents the Chinese Zodiac animals.  These rare artifacts were thought to be lost.

Fast forward to the present, the bronze statues are starting to appear during public auctions, by the MP Corporation.  The MP Corporation tells JC (Jackie Chan) to find out where the rest of the Zodiac animals are and retrieve them.  He gets a bonus if he finds all of them, including the elusive dragon head.

JC sees a man named Professor Guan, who has made detailed replicas of the statues to study.  JC introduces himself as a reporter named Martin who is from the National Geographic.  Professor Guan points him to go to Paris and meet a woman named Coco (Yao Xing Tong).  We find out that Coco has information where two bronze heads are located and her purpose is to recover rare artifacts to return them to China.  Will JC find the bronze heads?  What will happen when JC’s true intention is revealed to Coco?  What is the fate of the bronze heads?

Bonnie vs Katie
I Am On Holiday

After watching the movie, I can say this was extremely boring.  I kept waiting for Jackie to do what he does best, which was beat up every body by using background props.  His first and only big fight scene doesn’t happen till the end.  Grant it, I haven’t seen this type of action choreography recently in any Hollywood movies, but it definitely is not Chan’s best.  This fight scene seemed more of a warm up compared to his glory days.  Remember, there is only one fight scene and this is a Jackie Chan film.

The problem was that Chan was trying to do too much and ended up with an overstuffed movie.  Chan was the writer, director, producer, part of the cinematography crew, the star and more.  You can tell that Chan did make a valiant effort in trying to have a little bit of everything in this movie: action, stunts, drama, beautiful locations, interesting story, Kung Fu, and comedy.  The problem was that the story didn’t really feel cohesive because of the way it put together.  Each scene just seemed to be crow barred in to add that certain element in the movie.  It just seemed like a bunch of randomness.  This caused the movie to have major pace issues, an uninteresting story, weak characters, poor dialogue and lack of action scenes.

The acting was bearable to poor.  I’m sure the bad dialogue didn’t help actors either.  I didn’t even find Chan as likable as he was in his previous installments in the franchise.  His iconic catching gum move didn’t do anything for me either.  Normally when he does it, it adds to his playfulness / goofiness, here it just felt forced in there.

JC kicking
Show Me What You Got

I’m a big Jackie Chan fan and will always be one.  With that being said, I can not recommend this movie, even if turns up free on basic cable.  If you’re not a Chan fan, but want to see what he is about, you should check out his older stuff below, and avoid this one at all costs.  A dull story with too many forced elements, little action, and uninteresting characters makes this one of his more forgettable movies even with his 2 Guinness World Records for this film.  Also Chan was well known for having no wires or green screen, Chinese Zodiac had both, which was a little disappointing.  In Chan’s defense, he was 58 when he made this movie and at this point his career, he has nothing to prove.  He has given us many memorable crazy action, wireless, green screen less, Kung Fu movies, this is just not one of them.

Random Info I got from this File:
  • Jack Sparrow has a Chinese cousin
  • Pirates need sun hats too
  • Rockets can get stuck in vines
  • Colored smoke will scare a group of pirates away
Other Files to check:
  • Rumble in the Bronx
  • First Strike
  • Super Cop
  • Police Story
  • Drunken Master
File Status:3 out of 10
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Roach
Roach
Graphic designer by day, and movie blogger whenever I can. Been watching films in the 80s and never lost the love for it. Started Movie Case Files in 2012, and kept writing random reviews ever since. Besides movies, I like watching UFC, collecting retro video games, spending time with the wife, and bacon.

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