Hidden Strike

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(Redirected from Project X-Traction)

Hidden Strike
Promotional poster
Directed byScott Waugh
Written byArash Amel
Produced by
CinematographyTony Cheung
Edited byScott Waugh
Music byNathan Furst
Changchun Film Studio
  • XYZ Films
  • FilmsHuaxia Film Distribution
  • Epitome
  • Talent International Media
  • Flame Pictures Company
Distributed byXYZ Films (United States)
Netflix (International)
Release dates
  • 6 July 2023 (2023-07-06) (United Arab Emirates)
  • 28 July 2023 (2023-07-28) (United States)
Running time
102 minutes
  • China
  • United States
Budget$80 million[1]
Box office$917,381[2]

Hidden Strike (also known as Project X-Traction in some markets) is a 2023 action-adventure comedy film directed and edited by Scott Waugh and written by Arash Amel. The film stars Jackie Chan, John Cena, Ma Chunrui, and Pilou Asbaek.

Hidden Strike was released on 6 July 2023 in the United Arab Emirates and then it was released on 28 July 2023 in the United States and internationally via Netflix. It received mixed reviews from critics.


An oil refinery in Iraq owned by Chinese firm Unicorp gets attacked by mercenaries led by Owen Paddock, ex-special forces soldier. "Dragon" Luo Feng leads his private security company in an effort to evacuate the civilian employees in a convoy consisting of eleven buses along the Highway of Death to the safety of the Green Zone. Before entering the Highway of Death, Feng talks to his daughter, Mei about protecting her, but she resents him because he wasn't there by his wife's side during her death due to a top secret mission. Although Feng ensures Mei he was protecting his country and family, she still says that he wasn't there and that she will never forgive him for it.

Meanwhile, needing money to fix a well in a rural village, former US Marine Chris Van Horne reluctantly joins his mercenary brother, Henry in attacking the convoy, who claim they are tracking down a man responsible for attacking them years earlier. The mercenaries create a massive sandstorm by using a rocket truck and use it to cover their attack, in which they steal two of the eleven buses. After Feng's convoy fends them off and clears the sandstorm, Feng discovers that five civilians of his have been kidnapped from Bus 8, including Professor Chang and her son.

Chris confronts Henry and Owen concerning the kidnapping, the latter telling him that he intends to reactivate the refinery and profit off the oil trade as Unicorp wouldn't give them anything after nine years. After an enraged Chris leaves, Owen shoots Henry for failing to kill Feng along with two other merceries who were loyal to Chris. Feng tracks down Chris and confronts him, but learns about his intentions in taking the job and helping the children in his village after finding out his father had been killed in a rebel ambush that Chris had encouraged as a private security group at the Highway of Death.

After Owen scares Professor Chang into cooperating by killing one of the hostages and threatening her son, he sends his men to find her bag which contains the codes, which Chris accidentally took with him earlier. Feng talks to his daughter by saying that he knows he can trust Chris as he reminded him that the village is his family now. Hiding the children after Feng hears some footsteps, Chris and Feng try to fight their way to get rid of Owen's men. However, Chris gives up what Owen's men are looking for to protect the village. Chris and Feng return to the refinery after hearing the bag contains the codes that Owen needs to do the biggest oil heist known to man by putting the oil in tankers so that he can deliver them to a ship by the real perpetrators.

Chris pursues Owen and his group with Mei as she discreetly tailed him from the village in one of Chris's cars, with Feng following closely in the rocket truck. Going off road, Mei accidentally crashes Chris's car and Mei & Chris get picked up by Feng. In the ensuring battle, Owen's plans are foiled after the rocket truck blows up one of the truck tankers which causes a chain reaction between the other ones.

Owen is killed in an ensuing car chase after beating the paddle on his atv, thinking he would be able to get out at the side of a cliff. Feng & Mei mourn Chris's death after making amends to each other but in the midst of it all, it's revealed that Chris had survived. After getting picked up by Feng's soldiers, Feng's team arrest the perpetrators behind the oil heist on the ship. At the village, Chris and Feng fix the well and are informed of a new mission in which Feng offers Chris to join. Chris accepts the offer, setting off on a new adventure.



The movie was originally planned as a collaboration between Jackie Chan and Sylvester Stallone, but Stallone backed out and was replaced by John Cena.[5][6] It was filmed in 2018,[7] with locations in China standing in for the Middle East.[8]

The film had been known under several potential titles including Ex-Baghdad, Project X, Project X-Traction, and SNAFU before settling on Hidden Strike.[8][5]


A trailer for the film was released on 30 May 2023.[9]

The film was released theatrically on 6 July 2023, in the United Arab Emirates and select international markets, and on 28 July 2023, in the United States and internationally on Netflix.[10] The film became the most viewed on Netflix worldwide in its launch weekend, charting as the number 1 movie in the U.S. and 53 other countries, without any promotion from the platform.[11] It remained as the U.S. and global number 1 movie on Netflix for 2 weeks, registering 56.8 million views worldwide in its first 28 days of release.[12]


Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 24% of 17 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review.[13]

Chase Hutchinson of Collider gave the film a 'D' grade, criticizing the plot, action and overuse of computer generated effects, and the lack of chemistry between Chan and Cena.[3] James Marsh of the South China Morning Post, who gave the film 1 out of 5 stars, also noted the lack of chemistry between the two stars, and said the story was "a tired, by-the-numbers affair" with "underwhelming" action.[14]

Other critics gave more favorable reviews. Si Jia of Geek Culture gave the film 6.1 out of 10 and wrote "Come for the action, stay for the delightful chemistry between Chan and Cena – but not much else. While Hidden Strike has its fair share of charm, it’s ultimately a forgettable jaunt that serves as sheer popcorn entertainment, and will likely become a distant memory a few months down the road."[15] Neil Soans of The Times of India gave 3 out of 5 stars and wrote "Neither star is expendable because of their sheer drawing power, but that’s expected from such a celeb-driven blockbuster that’s likely to lead to a sequel if this one does well enough. A brain-dead yet amusing flick, Hidden Strike makes the most of Chan and Cena’s abilities to entertain on-screen."[16]


  1. ^ a b Although these characters were reported to have the last name "Feng",[3] they are listed in the end credits as "Dragon Luo" and "Mei", respectively.
  2. ^ a b Although these characters were reported to have the last name "Van Horne",[4] they are listed in the end credits as "Chris" and "Henry", respectively.
  3. ^ Although his character was reported to have the first name "Owen",[4] he is listed in the end credits as "Paddock".


  1. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (12 May 2017). "Jackie Chan, Sylvester Stallone Team For Scott Waugh-Directed 'Ex-Baghdad'".
  2. ^ "Hidden Strike". The Numbers. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  3. ^ a b "'Hidden Strike' Review: John Cena and Jackie Chan Are Trapped in a CGI Desert Purgatory". Collider. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  4. ^ a b "Hidden Strike". Empire. 8 July 2023.
  5. ^ a b "John Cena And Jackie Chan Team Up In Trailer For Action-Comedy Hidden Strike". Empire.
  6. ^ McNary, Dave (12 June 2018). "John Cena to Replace Sylvester Stallone in Jackie Chan's Action-Thriller 'Project X'".
  7. ^ "John Cena Once Shared He Fell Into Depression After Doing A Film With Jackie Chan: "It Was Like I'm Losing Everything That I Worked On For 30 Years!"". Koimoi.
  8. ^ a b "John Cena and Jackie Chan Made a Movie Together That We May Never See". Collider.
  9. ^ "Hidden Strike trailer out: Jackie Chan and John Cena unite for action-comedy film, fans call it 'freakin sick'". Pinkvilla.
  10. ^ "'Hidden Strike': Jackie Chan and John Cena-starrer action-comedy to arrive on Netflix in July 2023". The Economic Times.
  11. ^ "New Jackie Chan and John Cena Debuts at Number One on Netflix Top 10". Comicbook.com.
  12. ^ "Netflix Top 10". Netflix.com.
  13. ^ "Hidden Strike". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  14. ^ "Netflix movie review: Hidden Strike – Jackie Chan, John Cena in dreadful 1-star Netflix 'thriller'". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  15. ^ "Geek Review: Hidden Strike (狂怒沙暴)". Geek Culture.
  16. ^ "Hidden Strike Review : Exactly as advertised". The Times of India.

External links[edit]

Hidden Strike at IMDb Edit this at Wikidata