Chinese Zodiac [十二生肖] (2012)
AKA CZ12, Armour of God III (unofficial)
Starring Jackie Chan, Kwon Sang-Woo, Liao Fan, Yao Xingtong, Zhang Lan-Xin, Laura Weissbecker, Alaa Safi, Rosario Amadeo, Caitlin Dechelle, Marc Canonizado, Oliver Platt, Vincent Sze
Directed by Jackie Chan
Expectations: All the excitement.
The couch & warehouse fights:
The real question on everyone’s minds about Chinese Zodiac is whether it recaptures the Jackie magic of old, so I’ll just get right down to it. It does, without a doubt, but the problem is that while Jackie can still clearly perform and choreograph incredible action sequences, he’s only got enough juice left for two fights in the entire runtime of the film. And those two fights come within minutes of each other, so they’re almost like one big sequence. There’s also another fight between Zhang Lan-Xin and Caitlin Dechelle happening during the second Jackie fight, and that one is also all kinds of awesome. So yeah, Chinese Zodiac has some great action, but it’s pretty much all packed into one small section of the film. There are a couple of other martial arts moments, but the key word there is “moments.” It’s frustrating too, as there are situations throughout the film that would easily lead to memorable fights in any other martial arts film. Chinese Zodiac is not so much a classic Jackie film, as it is one that contains elements of Jackie’s greatness sprinkled throughout. You could argue that the idea behind this is the old “quality over quantity” argument, but I dunno… I wanted more fights. 🙂
Then there are the stunts… lots of stunts. Any Jackie fans knows what the man was once capable of, and to a large degree this legacy works against Chinese Zodiac. This incredibly high bar makes it so that even when Jackie Chan does something absolutely incredible, the Jackie fans won’t be all that impressed because they’ve all seen him do better. I don’t want to make it sound like the stunts here aren’t impressive, because they really are, I just think that it’s easy to cross your arms and watch Chinese Zodiac with a scowl because Jackie isn’t exactly doing what he promised he would with Chinese Zodiac. Well, at least it’s not what everyone interpreted his words to mean when he announced the premise of the film.