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Film Review: Ride On (2023)

Ride On

Ride On is as much an ode to Jackie Chan’s career as it is a love letter to the Kungfu Stuntman that made the Chinese Film Industry such an entertainment juggernaut… and a Horse! 

There’s a moment in Ride On that will tell you if you will be fully invested in the film.  Chan’s old school stuntman Lao Luo flashes back to the moment that he essentially rescued Red Hare – the stunt horse he shares the screen with.  It’s filled with sentimentality and a type of feel-good wholesomeness that Chan has always had in his films, adding in a healthy amount of heartache for good measure. Though here with the aid of Writer/Director Larry Yang and Chan create a valentine to not just Chan’s own career but all the stunt performers, human, and animal alike. 

The story is simple; Master Lou (Chan) is a washed-up stunt performer, in debit, legally in trouble, and estranged from his daughter (Liu Haocun).  Master Lou and his stunt horse Red Hare, spend their days eking by.  It is only when his daughter and others try to intercede in helping the stubborn and proud man do we see him begin to drag himself out of the self-imposed exile he has been in.  Though the help isn’t enough for Master Lou, he must find it in himself to move away from the stubbornness of “the old ways” and ego and learn to “step down” and not “jump down” any longer.  

Any Jackie Chan film is as much a film by Jackie Chan as it is by the directors, writers, cast, and crew.  Here it feels like Chan has been inspired by a look back at his career, to give us a look at the work that goes into making action films. Though an action film and a comedy of sorts, this is more of a family drama that’s heart is as big as they come.  Yes, there is a sentimentality to it all, but it works.  Those who have followed Chan’s career will be well versed in this fascinating and adroit Roman à clef.  The result is one of the best films of Chan’s career and a heartfelt ode to the type of films that Chan has made for more than fifty years.  

Ride On is in only theatres April 7th

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