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New Line Home Video's release of JACKIE CHAN'S FIRST STRIKE ($25) is another DVD that his fans will absolutely want to add to their collections. The first thing one will notice about JACKIE CHAN'S FIRST STRIKE is that this film is more reminiscent of James Bond adventure than a typical Jackie's Chan outing. This is not to say that JACKIE CHAN'S FIRST STRIKE doesn't deliver Chan's patented blend of martial arts and slapstick comedy. JACKIE CHAN'S FIRST STRIKE contains all of the elements that his movies are noted for, plus bigger production values and even more outrageous stunts than usual (just like a James Bond movie). The plot of the film is as thin as tissue paper, but it's all that is required to move the story from one inventive action sequence to the next. Jackie Chan portrays a Hong Kong police detective who is asked to do a little side job for the CIA. All he has to do is follow and observe a beautiful woman on a transcontinental flight. The job goes off without a hitch, and our hero is looking forward to a much-needed vacation. However, when he encounters the woman a second time, our intrepid detective ends up following her right into a Russian Mafia plot to steal a nuclear warhead. JACKIE CHAN'S FIRST STRIKE features a lot of great locations, great action and great comedy. The snowboard chase and shark tank sequences are right out of a James Bond adventure, but Jackie Chan places his own hilarious spin on them.

With JACKIE CHAN'S FIRST STRIKE, New Line Home Video once again delivers a winning DVD. The DVD offers full screen and wide screen presentations on different layers of the disc. However, seeing only half of a Jackie Chan movie is no fun at all, so stick with the 16:9 enhanced wide screen version. Owing to the fact that JACKIE CHAN'S FIRST STRIKE is a Hong Kong production and its cinematography lacks Hollywood "gloss", this DVD doesn’t look as good as some of the state-of-the-art DVDs that come out of New Line. That being said, JACKIE CHAN'S FIRST STRIKE still looks fantastic on DVD. The 2.35:1 Letterboxed image is clean and well defined, while the blacks are fairly accurate and disc offers good contrast. Color reproduction is also quite good, with solid saturation and no traces of chroma noise or bleeding.

Since Jackie Chan movies are dubbed into English for American release, the sound engineers tend to go wild in creating new Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks. JACKIE CHAN'S FIRST STRIKE is no exception to this rule. The mix aggressively uses all of the discrete channels, including the surrounds; to highlight the film's near non-stop action. Sound effects whiz by from every direction, making the soundtrack almost as much fun as the rest of the movie. The soundstage itself is open sounding and bass reproduction is everything one would expect from an action movie. For the English-speaking actors, the dialogue is clean and natural sounding. Additionally, the dubbed dialogue isn't as obvious as it might have been. A French language track, in addition to English, French and Spanish subtitles have been encoded into the DVD.

The interactive menus are straightforward and offer the standard scene and language selection features, plus access to a theatrical trailer and biographies/filmographies for Jackie Chan and director Stanley Tong.

JACKIE CHAN'S FIRST STRIKE contains 100 percent of the recommended daily requirements for entertainment, plus the DVD looks and sounds great. A "must have" for Jackie Chan fans and anyone who enjoys action comedies.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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