Jackie Chan goes sci-fi in this very strange action film that if you miss even a second of it, it will prove to be confusing.
Lin Dong is a Chinese police officer who lost his daughter to leukemia on the day he is set to begin a mission to move Dr. James, a bioengineering pioneer, to a safe military base. One of Dr. James’ creations, a bioroid named Andre, has been causing havoc and has killed a major arms dealer. Andre wants to harness James’ bioengine heart and chemical infusers, which when entering the bloodstream, can cause rapid healing. When Andre arrives, he nearly decimates everyone, and Lin makes a fateful decision that nearly costs him his life.
Thirteen years later, an author named Rick Rogers has unveiled a new book called “Bleeding Steel”. The novel attracts the attention of a mysterious woman in black, who kills the author as well as a mysterious computer hacker who goes undercover to gather the information. However, a second mystery man is able to distract the woman and it is none other than Lin, who not only survived the attack, but is now able to heal rapidly. The hacker, Leeson, upon seeing the information, comes across a young girl named Nancy, with whom he decides to track down. Lin has also been keeping his eyes on Nancy and protects her when she is in danger. However, there is someone else waiting for Nancy and it is the bioroid Andre, who seeks to complete his mission. What does Nancy have to do with Lin, Leeson, and Andre?
There is a lot that goes on in this sci-fi action film from newcomer Leo Zhang, who co-wrote the film with co-star Erica Xia-Hou and Cui Siwei. This is one of those films that may be confusing if you miss a second of it as there is a connection between the characters involved, but it is the story that can be confusing to viewers. The film’s theme has a similarity to the cult classic 1997 sci-fi action film Drive in which Mark Dacascos’ character has a bioengine heart. This film uses that element and adds a chemical infuser that allows the person to become the next Deadpool/Wolverine with the power of rapid healing.
Jackie Chan’s Lin Dong is the former Chinese cop assigned with a new identity after the mindblowing and action-packed first ten minutes of the film who is there whenever there is something involving all that had happened before and when he is there to protect young Nancy, played by Nana Ou Yang. Nancy does bring a sense of enigma to the story, but most will likely figure out about her right away. As for Show Lo, if one has seen The Mermaid, you know what to expect as Lo is the comic relief of the film, as a computer hacker whose intentions may not seem clear at first until one line says it all.
Add to the mix Australian actors Callan Mulvey and Tess Haubrich as the villains of the piece, Andre and the Woman in Black. Mulvey, who has been seen in both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, makes the most of his role as the bioroid Andre, giving him the ability to perform his own stunts and convey that villain style characterization to a tee. Haubrich, as the Woman in Black, may be more known for her acting skills but thanks to the likes of Max Huang, who this time leads the JC Stunt Team’s action for this film, Haubrich is able to perform her action scenes well, including taking on Chan at the famed Opera House in Sydney. Huang also makes Erica Xia-Hou, as Lin’s former partner Susan, look impressive (with some doubling) with some excellent knife-fighting skills and superkicking skills.
In the end, Bleeding Steel has a few flaws in the mix, but altogether not a wasted effort. It just happens to be one of those films you may need a second viewing to actually get the story.
WFG RATING: C+
Lionsgate Home Entertainment and Grindstone Entertainment Group presents a Swen Asia production in association with 58 Pictures, Dadi Film Group, Heyi Pictures, Sparkle Roll Media, and WanDa Pictures. Director: Leo Zhang. Producers: Javier Zhang, Aileen Li, and Paul Currie. Writers: Leo Zhang, Erica Xia-Hou, and Cui Siwei. Cinematography: Tony Cheung and Jack Jian. Editing: Kwong Chi-Leung and Leo Zhang.
Cast: Jackie Chan, Show Lo, Nana Ou Yang, Erica Xia-Hou, Callan Mulvey, Tess Haubrich, Kim Gyngell, Damian Garvey, Elena Cai, Gillian Jones, Sammy.