directed by Wong Jing [1995]
High Risk one-sheet

Jet Li's movie from the summer of 1995 is a slam-bang action-adventure. Hong Kong's most prolific director working at this time, Wong Jing has put together a nifty tale about the bodyguard/stunt double of a famous HK film star. Kit[Li], the stuntman, is haunted by the death of his family at the hands of a deadly blackmailer.

Jacky Cheung plays Frankie, a dead ringer for Jackie Chan, who drinks too much and has lost his abilities as a great martial artist. Chingmy Yau plays an aggressive reporter trying to catch Frankie using a double, which is something all his fans know he never does, according to reputation. Frankie is surrounded by sycophants, particularly his manager and his father who propound the myth of the world renowned moviemaker. Jet Li portrays an former military man whose wife and child were killed by the master villain known as Doctor. Li's character is nicknamed Bold, a man consumed by revenge for the murder of his family. Two years pass and Bold is now a civilian employed as a stunt double for Hong Kong's biggest star, Frankie, who is also his cousin.

On the Internet, one reviewer wrote that "HIGH RISK is a hilarious, fast paced movie that doles out a full dose of Jet Li, and a full dose of Jacky Cheung, and more than a little Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee (though neither appears in this movie.) Somehow, Wong Jing and action director Corey Yuen Kwai manage to cram about three films worth of entertainment into one movie."

Besides being a take on Chan and Lee, scenes have been lifted from various American made films which have played to big audiences in Hong Kong; for example, SPEED, BLOWN AWAY, and Renny Harlin's DIE HARD 2 and CLIFFHANGER. In fact, the literal translations of High Risk and Die Hard are very similar.

HIGH RISK contains bits and pieces of all these films, yet the performances of the principle actors keep the film moving at a wonderful pace. This is the best film I've seen Jet Li in since KUNG FU CULT MASTER. Wong knows how to utilize the skills of Li. In HIGH RISK, Jing frames the stoic Jet Li in ways that display this performers excellent skills. Jacky Cheung also fairs very well under action director Corey Yeun Kwai. His take-off of Jackie Chan's and Bruce Lee's martial arts skills is quite an impressive display. Wong Jing's fast-paced editing style is most effective here.

For my $6 HIGH RISK had more thrills per frame than anything Hollywood put out in the summer of 1995!

Copyright © J. Crawford 1995