Starring Jackie Chan, Yang Yang, Ai Lun, Mu Qimiya, Xu Ruohan
Directed by Stanley Tong
Jackie Chan’s belated Chinese New Year offering — delayed by the COVID-19 crisis — is a passable, if a little patchy distraction, with Jackie phoning in as the boss of the eponymous private security firm. (Think of Vanguard as the Townsend Agency and Jackie is its Bosley.)
When a client with terrorist ties is in trouble, Jackie and his intrepid crew step in to clean up the mess. Their assignment entails a silly jungle romp in Africa; a lengthy Operation Red Sea-style fire-fight in a fictional part of the Middle East; and a tedious Fast & Furious pursuit in the streets of Dubai.
If Vanguard were made in the heyday of Hongkong Action Cinema, Jackie would be performing, say, 97.99 per cent of the stunts. But this is 2020. Here, the top-billed Jackie leaves the heavy-lifting to younger cohorts Yang Yang, Ai Lun and Mu Qimiya. Even so, the commotion, while abundant, rarely yields genuine excitement. For a big-budget production, some of the SPFX is risible too. (Hello, dodgy CG lion!) (**)