" Oh come come now. Just because you sold your soul to the devil, that needn’t make you a teetotaler. "
— Edward Arnold, The Devil and Daniel Webster

MRQE Top Critic

The Great Train Robbery

(review...)

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If Jackie Chan had written, directed and starred in Raiders of the Lost Ark, this would be the result.

Chan plays a secret agent named Jackie, also called Condor. His mission is to retrieve gold stolen by the Nazis during World War II and hidden in North Africa.

After this mercifully brief plot setup, Chan heads to the Sahara with two female sidekicks. Along the way they bicker, get themselves into several comic situations and encounter various bad guys for Jackie to fight off. The action sequences are fast and furious and always entertaining, including the finale in a wind tunnel.

The broad, slapstick humor is awfully silly at times but it’s part of the fun spirit of the movie. The female characters fill the usual role of women in action movies (give Jackie someone to rescue) but they do add to the many comic moments. The stereotypes of Arabs are not much better than those seen in American action movies, but the two who show up throughout the movie as comic relief at least have some humanity.

Like all of Chan’s movies I have seen, the appeal is Chan himself. There is a lightheartedness to his movies and the action is delivered with a wink to the audience. The anticipation of wondering what he’s going to try next overcomes any reservations about the formulaic plots and stilted dialogue. Chan’s screen persona coupled with his physical prowess and stunts never fail to thrill.