Despite an unusual and somewhat convoluted trajectory, Hidden Strike, a long-anticipated action-comedy film starring Jackie Chan and John Cena, has finally premiered on Netflix, where it's been rapidly climbing the rankings since its release in July.
The streaming giant has already showcased a formidable slate of original content this year, including Extraction 2, yet Hidden Strike is the latest feature to generate buzz, promptly claiming Netflix's number one spot. The film, though not a Netflix original, had been trapped in post-production purgatory for over half a decade.
John Cena stepped into the role initially earmarked for Sylvester Stallone, who had to withdraw due to commitments with Creed II. Yet, despite the production struggles, Hidden Strike emerges as a perfect contender for Netflix's roster, a testament to the charisma and allure of its lead actors.
Hidden Strike's Unexpected Twist
However, Hidden Strike isn't your typical action comedy. The humor only kicks in after about 40 minutes, following an intense and explosive "protect the convoy" segment. In the film, Jackie Chan embodies the role of Dragon Luo Feng, a commander charged with the task of escorting oil refinery workers across the treacherous "Highway of Death" in Iraq.
Cena's character, Chris Van Horne, is a former mercenary residing in an Iraqi village, who's been manipulated by his brother to intercept Dragon's convoy. The movie has its share of blemishes, mainly a tonal inconsistency and questionable backdrop choices, likely the remnants of its post-production troubles.
However, when Chan and Cena share screen time, the movie morphs into an easygoing, enjoyably goofy experience. Both Chan and Cena are seasoned action-comedy actors with distinct, unique physical capabilities. Director Scott Waugh skillfully juxtaposes Cena's raw power against Chan's impressive acrobatic prowess and comedic timing.
A running joke about miscommunication through hand signals adds an extra layer of hilarity. Waugh, formerly a stunt performer and brother of director Ric Roman Waugh, is acclaimed for films like Act of Valor and Need for Speed.
His expertise is evident in Hidden Strike's intricate action scenes, especially a spectacular convoy hijacking sequence. All in all, Hidden Strike harkens back to the golden era of Chan's Hong Kong action comedies. It's a welcome return to form that is bound to entertain audiences despite its rocky path to release.
With laughter, thrills, and a delightful blooper reel, it serves as a reminder of why we cherish this genre. It's a worthy addition to Netflix's array of entertaining content, even if it took a while to get here.