Bleeding Steel


Reviewed by: Jane Fae

Bleeding Steel
"This is a sci-fi action romp with a sense of humour and tongue firmly in cheek."

What a load of absolute, utter....! No. I mustn't.

But honestly: Bleeding Steel achieves new heights on the nonsensical hokum scale...something to do with genetic engineering and creating unstoppable armies of immortal 'bioroids', which appear to be a step-up from androids!...and that's OK by me. If you're the sort of viewer who wants to know just how our heroes escaped from the inescapable trap, or if you have to turn to your partner and explain that someone falling out of a plane is not going to be saved by bouncing off the parachute of the person below them, then this film is not for you.

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On the other hand, if you enjoy things exploding, ridiculous displays of martial arts prowess, and seriously dodgy latex outfits on a totally kick-ass villainess, you'll get on with it. You might not even bother to wonder why the evil soldier-of-fortune-cum-mad scientist at the heart of it all – an albino guy, natch – just happens to keep a vat of molten metal in his lab into which various people fall or get tossed at key points in the action.

The film opens with a set-up that is all cliché. Lin Dong (Jackie Chan) is screeching through traffic on his way to join daughter Nancy (Na-na Ou-Yang), who is in a life or death situation on the operating table: “Daddy...I know you'll keep your promise!”

But daddy also happens to be an officer of a super-secret-squirrel organisation that might or might not be attached to the UN and just as he is almost there, his phone rings. Uh-oh! A key witness in the Witness Protection Scheme has been compromised. His boss explains: “your team is needed....else regional security will be breached”.

Gee! What's a good guy to do?

Well, obviously, rush off to kick ass in the first of the film's many non-stop scenes of gratuitous shooting and kicking and general slaughter. And that's just the first three minutes.

At which point I developed a theory on how the film was going to go, only to be proven quite wrong by the opening credits, and a brief announcement that we were now “Twelve years later....”

Ah yes: 12 years later, novelist Rick Rogers (Damien Garvey) has learned something about something related to the original carnage and produced a novel called Bleeding Steel.

Rogers is promptly visited by three spooks: a bit like A Christmas Carol, with added homicide. These include thief par excellence Leeson (Show Lo) demonstrating a most remarkable commitment to his disguise as a transvestite hooker. Then there is Woman in Black (Tess Haubrich), sporting what every well-dressed female assassin is wearing this season: to wit, a full length black cape and some serious latex, which appears to serve no useful purpose beyond confining and showing off her ample cleavage.

And who was that masked man? Lin Dong, of course, now in a new identity and not aged a jot by the intervening decade.

The film is not without a sexist trope or two (qv. the above-mentioned display of cleavage, which is not limited to scenes involving Woman in Black). Some might question why Ms Haubrich's character does not even merit a proper name in the end credits; but then, most of her henchpersons, who one assumes are men, not only lack names but spend the entire film rushing round in rubber onesies – perhaps purchased from the same place as the latex top - while remaining 100% anonymous behind all-covering darkened perspex face masks.

Just what is albino villain Andre (Callan Mulvey) after? What is the meaning of the bad dreams that haunt Nancy? And how does she figure in his plans?

There's a witch and a hypnotist and even the Sydney Opera House gets a starring role.

If you stay with the film then answers start to emerge around the one hour mark. But mostly it doesn't matter. This is a sci-fi action romp with a sense of humour and tongue firmly in cheek. It's up there with Bulletproof Monk and Wanted, following in the footsteps of a genre of ludicrosity that has entertained us at the cinema since the Sixties. Nothing quite adds up – least of all the ability of Jackie Chan's character not only to pass 12 years without ageing, but to emerge at the end fit enough to take on a professional assassin half his age in hand-to-hand combat.

Like candy floss and bubblegum: fun in the moment. And then it's gone.

Reviewed on: 25 Oct 2018
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Bleeding Steel packshot
A Special Forces agent is assigned to protect a scientist and his creation from a sinister gang.
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Director: Leo Zhang

Writer: Erica Xia-Hou, Siwei Cui

Starring: Jackie Chan, Show Lo, Na-Na OuYang, Erica Xia-Hou, Callan Mulvey, Tess Haubrich

Year: 2017

Runtime: 109 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: China, Hong Kong


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