Tai Seng VHS cover

High Risk

AKA: Meltdown

1995

Director: Wong Jing

Writer: Wong Jing

Producer: Wong Jing

Martial arts director: Corey Yuen

Action director: Bruce Law

Stars: Jet Li, Jacky Cheung, Chingmy Yau, Kelvin Wong, Billy Chow, Valerie Chow, Charlie Yueng, Wu Ma, Ben Lam

Jet Li stars as Kit Li, a tough anti-terrorist soldier who retires after one particularly nasty terrorist (Kelvin Wong) blows up a bus with his wife and kid on it. He takes on the job of being the bodyguard for Frankie Lane (played by Cheung), a movie star who supposedly does all his own stunts but spends so much time drinking and womanizing, Kit ends up doing the dirty work (hmm, do you see a shot at Jackie Chan here?). Chingmy Yau (looking as good as ever) plays a snoopy reporter out to uncover Frankie's secret. While Frankie is attending a high-class party in a skyscraper, terrorists capture the building, and it's up to Kit to save the day.

Well, what can you say? Very obviously, the majority of the plot is ripped off from Die Hard (in fact, the Chinese title of High Risk is almost the same as the Chinese name of Die Hard), but High Risk attains a manic pacing that even the great Die Hard couldn't match if Bruce Willis was hopped up on speed. One sequence has Li driving a car through a hotel lobby, which in itself is really not that over-the-top, but then he drives it into an elevator, takes it up a few floors and commences to wax some more bad guys!

If you're looking for realistic action, you won't find it here. But if you want slamming action delivered at a jackhammer's pace, coupled with some great kung fu (Corey Yuen, responsible for some of Li's best work, assisted on the film), you can't go wrong with High Risk, though it does help to be a long-time fan of HK movies to get some of the jokes. (Wong Jing and Jackie Chan didn't get along during the filming of City Hunter, so Wong spares no expense in roasting Chan in this movie, even going as far as putting in dead-on impersonations of Chan's father and manager.)

RATING: 8.5

A review of the DVD for this movie can be found here

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