First Strike (film)

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First Strike
FirstStrike Poster.jpg
Hong Kong theatrical poster
Traditional警察故事4之簡單任務
Simplified警察故事4之简单任务
MandarinJǐngchá Gùshì Sì zhi Jiǎndān Rènwu
CantoneseGing2 Chaat3 Gu3 Si3 Sei3 Zi1 Gaan2 Daan1 Yam6 Mou6
Directed byStanley Tong
Produced byBarbie Tung
Screenplay byStanley Tong
Nick Tramontane
Greg Mellott
Elliot Tong
Starring
Music byNathan Wang (Hong Kong cut)
J. Peter Robinson (U.S. cut)
CinematographyJingle Ma
Edited byPeter Cheung
Yau Chi-wai
Production
company
Distributed byGolden Harvest (Hong Kong)
New Line Cinema (United States)
Release date
  • 10 February 1996 (1996-02-10)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryHong Kong
LanguageCantonese
English
Russian
Box officeHong Kong:
HK $57.5 million
United States:
US $15.3 million[1]

First Strike (Chinese: 警察故事4之簡單任務), also known as Jackie Chan's First Strike or Police Story 4: First Strike, is a 1996 Hong Kong action comedy film directed and co-written by Stanley Tong, and starring Jackie Chan, Jackson Lou, Annie Wu, Bill Tung, Yuri Petrov, and Nonna Grishayeva. It is the fourth film in the Police Story series. Chan plays Jackie, a Hong Kong police officer who works for the CIA to track down and arrest an illegal weapons dealer. Jackie realizes that things are not as simple as they appear and soon finds himself a pawn of an organization posing as Russian intelligence.[2] The film was shot partially in Brisbane in Queensland, Australia. Chinatown, Brisbane in Fortitude Valley and Underwater World on the Sunshine Coast were also used. Filming took place from August to November 1995. To advertise First Strike, Jackie recorded the song 怎麼會 Zenme Hui and also made a music video for it. As is typical with Chan's pictures, the US version does not feature the theme song. The film was released in Hong Kong on 10 February 1996.

Plot[edit]

Whilst working for the CIA, Jackie (Jackie Chan) is assigned to follow leads of a nuclear smuggling case. One of the tasks the CIA gives him is simple enough: watch a woman named Natasha while on a plane from Hong Kong to Ukraine and record her movements. Jackie arrives in Ukraine and the CIA, partnered with local Ukraine security, take over the task of following Natasha. However, the CIA operation almost falls apart when the Ukrainian Strike Force arrest Natasha. Luckily for the CIA, Jackie spots Natasha being driven away and he discreetly follows her. During the chase, Jackie discovers that Natasha is working with unknown male partner, who actually called in the Strike Force to prevent Natasha from being followed. Natasha and the unknown male are also romantically involved. Jackie decides to follow the unknown male to a remote lodge in the Ukrainian mountains, and informs the CIA of his location. The unknown male is apparently meeting with Russian mafia members who are interested in a nuclear bomb that's in his possession. The criminals are on high alert when they spot Jackie and agents of Ukrainian security and the CIA arriving. A gunfight ensues. During the battle, the unknown male is identified as Jackson Tsui (Jackson Lou), a Chinese-American nuclear scientist with CIA links, suspected of stealing a nuclear warhead. Jackie finds a briefcase which contained evidence from Tsui, but as he is chased by mafia forces, Jackie loses the briefcase as he falls into frozen waters, and the mafia takes the briefcase.

When he recovers in Russian military hospital, he meets Colonel Gregor Yegorov (Yuriy Petrov) of the FSB, who explains the situation. Jackie goes with him to Moscow where he discovers he has been assigned to work with Gregor to solve a similar case involving nuclear weapons being smuggled out of Ukraine. His task is to track Tsui, who disappeared after their last encounter. He is smuggled into Brisbane, Australia by a Russian submarine. In order to find out where Jackson is, Jackie befriends his younger sister Annie (Wu Chen-chun), who works at an aquarium doing shark shows. Jackie pretends to be Jackson's "sworn brother". Chan's deception is successful, and he eventually meets Uncle 7 (Terry Woo), the Tsuis' father and the local Triad boss. Uncle 7 is seriously ill and will be getting surgery soon. While meeting Uncle 7, Jackie reveals the true nature of his visit to both Uncle 7 and Annie and informs them of Jackson's criminal activities. Jackie then meets with Gregor to report his findings. He tells Gregor that if Uncle 7 dies, Jackson will surely show up. Unknown to Jackie, Jackson is hiding at the hospital and has given a nuclear warhead (disguised as a small oxygen tank) to Annie, who hides it at the aquarium.

While following Annie, Jackie gets held up by Jackson, who claims to have a deal with Gregor. He also reveals to Jackie that Gregor has secretly put audio bugs in several of the objects the FSB gave him. After realizing he has been used by Gregor for nefarious purposes, Jackie decides to return home and write a full report to both of their superiors. Two men are sent to kill him, and he is framed for the murder of Uncle 7. He attempts to clear his name by going to see Annie at the memorial hall, but he is (unsurprisingly) unwelcome, having to fight the family's bodyguards until Jackson arrives to clear Jackie's name. Jackson explains that Gregor caught him on a CIA assignment three years before, and forced him to turn into a triple agent: a CIA agent ostensibly turned by the FSB, but in reality serving Gregor's private criminal schemes. Gregor uses the nuclear warheads to secure stakes in oil franchises in the Middle East. Jackson was trying to get money from Gregor for the warhead.

Annie, Jackie, and Tsui decide to work together to find Gregor and bring him in. Uncle 7's elaborate Chinatown funeral becomes the scene for a complex shootout between the various parties. Annie and Jackie attempt to retrieve the stolen warhead from the shark pool (so that they can return it to the police), but Gregor and his men follow them, leading to a climactic confrontation underwater. During the fight, Gregor shoots the aquarium tank and shatters the glass, which releases the killer shark. During the confusion, Gregor escapes with the warhead and kidnaps Annie to a getaway boat. Jackie saves the tourists from the shark and then pursues Gregor. While Gregor escapes in the getaway boat, Jackie finds and drives a Mitsubishi FTO display car onto the boat. The car pins Gregor, allowing Jackie to successfully retrieve the warhead and save Annie.

Gregor and Jackson are apprehended by the Australian police and turned over to Russian authorities. The case is solved, and Jackie is thanked for his work by the FSB and returns to his work in Hong Kong.

Cast[edit]

Box office[edit]

First Strike was an enormous box office success in Hong Kong, grossing HK $57,518,795 during its theatrical run. It remains Jackie Chan's highest-grossing film in Hong Kong and the third highest grossing domestic film in Hong Kong film history.

The film was released on 10 January 1997 in 1,344 North American theatres, grossing US $5,778,933 ($4,299 per screen) in its opening weekend. Its total North American box office gross was US $15,318,863.

Critical reception[edit]

The version of the film released in North American cinemas by New Line was met with an overall positive critical response. It currently has a 57% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[3]

Mike LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle was among the most enthusiastic of the reviewers:

One of the pleasures of being alive at this period of history is Jackie Chan. There are other pleasures, of course, and other movie pleasures, too. But few things in film today are as reliable as a Jackie Chan movie.

Even if the picture is weak, Chan is never disappointing. Watching him in Jackie Chan's First Strike, a brand-new effort opening today, there's no doubt that this is a lovable original and a great popular artist.

So this time Chan swims with sharks. He climbs from balcony to balcony on the top floor of a tall hotel building. He even -- get this -- drops 100 feet from a helicopter into a frozen lake, just as the helicopter explodes.

[4]

Distribution[edit]

New Line Cinema re-edited the film, making the following changes: new opening credits sequence with Hong Kong scenery, removal of over 20 minutes of footage, new music, almost all the multi-lingual dialogue (English, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Russian) dubbed into English while J. Peter Robinson serves as composer for the English dub version.

All Mei Ah Entertainment releases, the Japanese Warner Home Video DVD and the Towa laserdisc are the only versions to date that contain the film uncut and without the language dubbing. The Mei Ah releases feature English subtitles.

Awards and nominations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ First Strike at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ "First Strike,' Jackie Chan's Out". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Lasalle, Mick (10 January 1997). "Chan Keeps It Thrilling". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2 November 2010.

External links[edit]