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Robin-B-Hood review (DVD) ★★★

Review by Stuart O'Connor
Stars Jackie Chan, Michael Hui, Louis Koo, Charlene Choi, Biao Yuen, Yuanyuan Gao,
Teresa Carpio, Terence Yin, Conroy Chan Chi-Chung
| Written by Jackie Chan & Benny Chan
UK certification 15 | UK RRP £17.99 | DVD Region 2 | Runtime 134 minutes | Directed by Benny Chan

This film could probably also be called Three Crooks & a Baby, because that pretty much sums up the plot. Jackie Chan plays Fong (aka Thongs), a burglar and safecracker who also has a bit of a gambling problem. He and his partners – womanising Octopus (Koo) and the brans of the outfit, Landlord (Hui) – decide to pull one final big job before calling it quits. The job: kidnapping a baby for $30 million.

So we get lots of comic scenes with shitty nappies, a crying baby that won't shut up and the guys having to rescue said baby from some pretty hair-raising situations. At 134 minutes, the film could do with some trimming here and there. And to be honest, it's not Chan's best piece of work in his long and often illustrious career – it's no Drunken Master, or Police Story. But it not his worst, either (some of his Hollywood work has been awful). It's a funny-enough farce with some decent stuntwork – particularly the opening scene in a hospital atrium, and a great stunt when Chan jumps from the top floor of an apartment building to the ground via the air conditioners sticking out of windows. But overall, you'll have to be a pretty dedicated Chan fan to last the distance.

EXTRAS ★★★ The film comes with the original Caontonese audio, with English subtitles, or a dubbed English version. I watched the first half with subtitles, and the second in English. I prefer watching films in their original language, with subtitles, but I have to say it's easier to focus on the action when watching the dubbed version (and the dubbng is not too bad). On the extras front, there are: interviews with star Chan, director Chan and co-star Chan; two behind-the-scenes featurettes – Playtime for Adults: On the Set of Robin-B-Hood, and An Original Making of; and the trailer. An interesting sidenote: the film was first released in 2006, but is finally getting a UK release now, in 2010, with a title that seems strangely disconnected from the story ... is the distributor trying to cash in on the recent release of Ridley Scott's Robin Hood?

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