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Robin-B-Hood (DVD)

Jackie Chan versus a baby!

Disc Specs

Starring Jackie ChanLouis KooMichael HuiCharlene Choi Disc Cover
Directed By Benny Chan Certificate 15
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Visuals 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Running Time 120 mins
UK Release Date May 24, 2010
Genre Action, Asian
Our Rating
User Rating

Pairing action veterans with babies is not a new idea - and it's rarely a good one. Anyone who's seen Kindergarten Cop (1990) with Arnold Schwarzenegger will probably agree with this sentiment. But this strangely titled Jackie Chan vehicle (I'm sure something has been lost in translation) manages to get away with it, on the sheer strength of its crazy, infectious energy and engaging daftness.

Chan, who also co-wrote the film and was its action director, plays Thongs, a safecracking burglar whose gambling addiction has left him with a mountain of debts to pay. Together with his partner in crime, Octopus (Louis Koo), Thongs agrees to carry out a kidnapping assignment that is worth several million dollars, only to find out that the target is a 6-month-old baby. The duo become increasingly attached to the baby, which causes problems when it's time to hand him over to their client.

The opening action scene, which takes place in a hospital, is vaguely reminiscent of the classic hospital shootout from John Woo's peerless Hard-Boiled (1992). In that film, Chow Yun-Fat had to ensure the safety of newborn babies whilst partaking in a frantic gun battle, resulting in a richly humorous tension. The scene in Robin-B-Hood is more broadly funny than Hard-Boiled, and the violence nowhere near as extreme, with the emphasis instead on wacky stuntwork, but it taps into a similarly ironic vein and it's very good fun. From then on, it's a non-stop, exuberant series of action sequences and lively comic routines.

It's far from a perfect film. It's about half an hour too long, which, given its relentlessly wacky brand of comedy, makes it a little wearying towards the end. There are also a few jokes that fall noticeably, abysmally flat (again, though, because these are verbal jokes rather than physical gags this could be due to cultural translation issues). More fundamentally, Robin-B-Hood will entertain you whilst you watch it, but once it has finished you will likely never think about it again, which is partly down to its lack of emotionally engaging characters. Still, it's a lot of fun while it's playing.

I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to Jackie Chan's Hong Kong films, so I can't really comment on how it stacks up alongside his body of work from the East. What I can say is that in terms of stunts and good-natured comedy, it matches his stateside films like Rush Hour (1998) and Shanghai Noon (2000). The extensive special features - a whole second disc full of decent-to-good featurettes - make this a good overall package for Chan fans.

Overall Verdict: A glossy, well-directed action comedy with plenty of Chan's customary stunts.

Special Features:
'Crashing The Hood' with star and action director Jackie Chan
'The Hand That Mocks The Cradle' with director Benny Chan
'Baby Boomer' with co-star Conroy Chan
'Playtime For Adults' - on the set of Robin-B-Hood
'Robin-B-Hood - An Original Making Of'
Trailer

Reviewer: Tom René

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