Linda Cook review: ‘Vanguard’ features Jackie Chan … and little else

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Jackie Chan is in this movie. But that doesn’t make it a Jackie Chan Movie.

“Vanguard” is all show and a little go – serviceable only to those who yearn for the eye candy of Stanley Tong’s sets and action. It’s one of the lesser films for both the director and the actor.

This time around, Jackie Chan is not the main action star. He plays the head of Vanguard, a security agency that protects wealthy clients all over the world.

Client Qin Guoli (Jackson Lou) becomes a target, and Chan’s character orchestrate a rescue mission with his team. They also have to protect the man’s daughter (Xu Ruohan) when her father’s adversaries decide to kidnap her.

There are exotic environments, from London to the Middle East, all offering up the lush settings and color Tong usually provides his audiences. There are also tons of CGI environments and creatures – some, including the exotic animals in one sequence – don’t look very realistic, but I was glad CGI was used instead of real animals, so I let it slide.

Some of the action sequences are enjoyable – I especially liked a car chase – especially when they involve Chan. Several are preposterous, defying gravity even more profoundly than characters in the “Fast & Furious” franchise do.

If you’ve heard much about “Vanguard” previously, it’s probably because Chan almost died during the filming in a scene involving a jet-ski, which struck a rock and flipped over.

Chan was stuck under a rock and struggled to free himself until the crew found him.

The back story is far more compelling than the fictional one presented here in a popcorn movie that’s mediocre at best – especially considering the talent involved.

2 out of 4 stars

Rated: Unrated, but similar to a “PG-13” for violence.

Running time: One hour and 48 minutes.

At Cinemark, Davenport.

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