CZ12 Chinese Zodiac 十二生肖 (2012) – Hong Kong / China

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 4th March 2013

Starring: Jackie Chan, Kwon Sang-woo, Liao Fan, Yao Xing Tong, Zhang Lan Xin
Directed by: Jackie Chan

Hong Kong Box Office Takings: HK$11,710,110

Available on DVD and Blu Ray on March 7th 2013.

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The good news is that Jackie Chan is back to what he does best that is delivering quality action stunts and physical comedy. The bad news is that “CZ12” is not the next “Armour of God”, but for that is just fine as the latest Chan’s film manages to be one of his better action comedy in recent years and revokes his 90s effort. At the ripe old age of 58, nothing seems to be stopping Chan and the extended fight scenes in the final quarter of an hour is not something we have seen from Chan since the 90s. “CZ12” also marks as Chan’s first directorial effort since 1998’s “Who am I?” and while the film is by no means flawless and possesses a rather messy plot, the film never seem to stop and the result is one of Chan’s better films in recent years.

Sure, we have all enjoyed Chan’s wonderful display of comic timing in “Little Big Soldier” and steady restrain in “The Karate Kid”, but one must admit that he has not been the best drama actor in films like “Shinjuku Incident”, “1911 Revolution” or even “New Police Story”, therefore, it is actually refreshing to see Chan goes back to his 90s roots and produce a film with qualities that initially made him a star. With Hong Kong cinema at a strive, it is all the more important that big names like Chan, Stephow Chow, Chow Yun Fat and Jet Li continues to thrill the audience back to the cinemas and in “CZ12”, it has all the ingredients of a winter blockbuster event.

As with most Chan’s films, the English actors are terrible and even laughably bad and in this film, the same can be said of Oliver Platt and French actress Laura Weissbecker as I do not whom comes off worse. Popular Korean actor Sang-woo Kwon (“71: Into the Fire”) appears for next to no reason and possesses zero character in a role designated to draw in the Korean market and nothing more. Newcomer Yao Xingtong flairs better as Coco as she is given more screen time and dialogue to boot and 2004 (China) National Women’s Taekwondo winner Zhang Lanxin gets to show her moves in an extended fight scene and trading blows with “World Champion Martial Artist” Caitlin Dechelle. While promising actor Fan Liao (“Ocean Flame”) appears as one of Chan’s sidekick, little is known of his character.

All in all, “CZ12” is essentially another Jackie Chan’s starring vehicle, meaning that other actors are usually regulated in the background and that is absolutely fine with me. As always, Chan possess an irresistible screen presence and plenty of charm and there are few in the action comedy that can rival the man. In “CZ12” we see more of the same from the master and that is not necessary a bad thing. The audience have been starve of quality action blockbuster and while “CZ12” may not offer anything new, it delivers exactly what they set out to do. If “CZ12” is the direction that Chan intents to take, one cannot blame him for doing more of the same, as it is essentially what he does best and probably no one else can do better either. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 7/10

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