Review: Cyberpunk actioner ‘Bleeding Steel’ is not Jackie Chan’s finest moment

Jackie Chan in the film "Bleeding Steel."
(Lionsgate Premiere)

Legendary Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan is having his full “Taken” moment. His last major release, “The Foreigner,” featured Chan as a grieving man seeking vengeance for his daughter’s death, and in “Bleeding Steel” he does daddy duty again, protecting a daughter who has no memory of him. But where “The Foreigner” was restrained, “Bleeding Steel” is a cartoonishly crazy, completely nonsensical cyberpunk action flick that is torturous to behold, and well below Chan’s caliber.

Directed by Leo Zhang and written by Zhang, Siwei Cui and Erica Xia-Hou, the film was released in China last December and has been retrofitted for a U.S. release, seemingly with almost every character’s lines dubbed, adding to the sense of low-budget surreality. The plot is so convoluted it is nearly impossible to explain in brief. It involves biomechanical human experimentation, evil cyborgs hungry for Chan’s daughter Nancy’s medically enhanced regenerative blood, male hackers who pass as female strippers, a henchwoman in a vinyl trench coat straight out of “The Matrix,” mean Australian skaters, and a steampunk Criss Angel-style magician.

Even with all that, much of the film’s nearly two-hour running time is dedicated to long, extended fights, because, well, Jackie Chan. But watching Chan in shootouts and car chases against armored cyborgs with firepower is not why we buy a ticket to a Jackie Chan movie. Wacky can be fun, but “Bleeding Steel” is just a mess.



‘Bleeding Steel’

Rated: R, for violence and some language

Running time: 1 hour, 49 minutes

Playing: Starting Friday, Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills; also on VOD

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