Blu-ray Review: Bleeding Steel (2017)

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I’m glad I don’t write techno Sci-fi novels. I mean, you never know when a hacker in drag will make their way into your apartment under kinky pretenses before a woman who looks like the evil sister of Trinity from The Matrix breaks in and attacks you, all because the out-of-this-world premise of your new book involving bio-enhanced villains hit a little too close to home.

It's moments like this and in the laughably insane opening sequence of Bleeding Steel where Agent Lin (Jackie Chan) receives two life or death phone calls in the span of five minutes that sum up the problem with Leo Zhang's film.

A virtual choose your own genre moment where each of those calls could've spun off into two completely different movies, Zhang and his co-writers Erica Xia-Hou and Cui Siwei initially decide to lead us in the direction of an action thriller before dropping in a villain that feels like he'd wandered to set after learning his scenes were cut from Marvel's newest Guardians of the Galaxy sequel.

Unsure exactly what it wants to say (or do), Steel's scripters throw every idea they have at the screen at once, resulting in a campy Sci-Fi action thriller comedic drama with a side of slapstick.

Of course, any Jackie Chan fan knows that the uniquely gifted movie star has excelled in every one of those genres in the past (as well as some selection combinations of a few).

Unfortunately, no matter how many times Bleeding Steel literally name drops the actor in his own movie, all the king's horses and all the Jackie Chans can't suddenly force the film about a cop whose daughter is surgically implanted with “a geneticist's lost biochemical invention” to make sense.

Injected with an abundantly high dose of camp, one can't help but think it might've worked infinitely better if they'd given into the action choreographer's penchant for pratfall induced slapstick and played the damn thing for laughs.

Instead, trying to meld this approach with a script built from the plot-points of multiple Philip K. Dick adaptations as well as The Matrix, Star Wars, and Marvel universe doesn't get them, Chan, or the audience very far.

Though it features first rate costume and set design in the hopes of filling your eyes with color to trick your mind into thinking you're having a good time, Steel makes another mistake by relegating Jackie Chan's character to a supporting storyline.

Opening in a car in the middle of traffic before two calls force Chan to put the pedal to the medal, the best thing that can be said for Steel – as it jumps continents from Asia to Australia and gets crazier with every scene – is that at least it moves quickly.

All the same, instead of veering in and out of genres and plotlines, much like those sharing the road with Chan from the start, by Steel's end, we wind up wishing he (or rather the film) would've just picked a damn lane.

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