High Risk (1995)
Reviewed by: Waiguoren99 on 2002-07-10
Summary: Action film and cruel parody of action superstar
Hong Kong category II (equivalent to R) for graphic violence, adult situations, adult language, and full frontal nudity (close-up shot of male urinating). Comedy/Action.

After failing to stop a bomb from killing his wife and son along with a busload of children, former police officer Li Kit (Jet Li) has become the bodyguard and stunt double to international action superstar Frankie Lone AKA Long Wei (Jackie Cheung). Frankie, who is famous for doing all his own stunts but is actually a drunken, crudely womanizing coward, is being stalked by a TV reporter (Chingmy Yau) determined to "out" him on her program. When Frankie is invited to an exclusive party in a high-rise hotel showing the Russian crown jewels, the reporter follows. Kit discovers that the same gang that caused his family's death has targeted the jewels, and he, the reporter, and Frankie must try to foil the robbery and rescue the guests.

Half of this film is a fine over - the - top action drama (Die Hard raised to the nth power, with amazing special effects, terrific martial arts, and extremely graphic violence) and half is a merciless but very funny send-up of a certain reigning Hong Kong action superstar famous for doing all his own stunts. And the more you know about this particular star the closer, funnier, and crueler the parody becomes. Parents (or any others) who object to male full frontal nudity take warning: there is a close-up shot of Frankie urinating; the insult here is particularly crude. Director Wong Jing made this film after reported "difficulties" with the star in question on the set of CITY HUNTER; and HIS intentions are fairly clear, I think, especially when you see that the original Chinese title translates as "Mouse Courage Long Wei". Cheung has studied his subject and does a very fine and instantly recognizable take - off, although his fighting style is pure Bruce Lee. He puts his considerable comic talents to good use as Frankie, the cowardly superstar, but portrays his transformation into a reluctant hero very well. Li is excellent as Frankie's stuntman and bodyguard with a tragic past history, and Yau has a lot of fun with the "Hard Copy" - like TV reporter who develops an outspoken yen for the brave bodyguard. Special mention goes to veteran character actor Wu Ma, who plays Jacki ... oops, er, Frankie's father with panache and humor. This film is so well-done, so humorous, and so much fun that it is only its extreme mean - spiritedness that keeps the rating down -- if it wasn't about a real person, it would rate considerably higher. Gee, and people wonder why Jet Li hasn't worked with the other reigning king of action yet .... 3 out of 5 thumbs - up.

Note: memories of the events of September 11, 2001 may make one scene particularly painful.

In 2001, Columbia - Tristar released an Enlish - language version, re-titled MELTDOWN. The dubbing and a few cuts have made several significant changes in the film which amplify the insults and reduce the comedy, and thus the enjoyment.
Reviewer Score: 6