Saturday, August 23, 2008

Movie Review: The Killer Meteors

Fourth up on the Jackie Chan Film Festival is The Killer Meteors, another early supporting role for Jackie that is prominently marketed with his name, even though he isn't the hero and really only has a couple of scenes. 

Here, Yu Wang (Master of the Flying Guillotine) plays the titular Killer Meteor, a man so bad-ass that criminals chop off their own fingers rather than take him on. Killer Meteor is also the name of his secret weapon (which we are teased about many times before its appearance, and it's every bit as cheesy as it sounds). This is one of those "epic" stories where everyone has fancy names and supernatural skills (Iron Fist, Lightning Swords, Killer Meteor). He is hired by Wa Wu-Bin (played by "Jacky" Chan), an "immortal" who is being poisoned by his wife, Madame Tempest (probably should have known at the wedding based on that name that there was trouble ahead). He wants Killer Meteor to kill his wife, but he's also working for the local governor, and then there's Lady Phoenix who may or may not be working for Lady Tempest, and a criminal gang....there are inexplicable double crosses, characters introduced out of nowhere, and so on. Suffice it to say, this isn't the most coherent script ever written.

The fight scenes here aren't too bad. There is some imagination given to their staging, given that most of the characters have vaguely supernatural abilities. It's not quite the full-out flying around as in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon type films (for one thing, the budget is a lot less), but it does mean we get more than just men standing around in courtyards or clearings beating up on each other. We also see some different camera angles for a change too, including some nice overhead shots. And the ending fight taking place on poles - always a favorite, but why do they always agree to do it?

Not much for the Jackie Chan fan, though; one fairly nice fight scene early on, and then he disappears for quite a while before being summarily killed least for a while. Come to think of it, lots of characters are summarily killed off...for a while. Oh well.

Sadly, the overly convoluted plot line, especially early on, throws out any good flow from the overall concept and fight scenes. It's definitely a strange movie with good individual moments, more entertaining than the previous New Fist Of Fury or Eagle Shadow Fist, but still not a particularly good film. I'll be generous and give it two stars, but it's a low two stars. Next up: Jackie moves back into a starring role in Shaolin Wooden Men.

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