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Hidden Strike 2023

An Analysis of Action and Story in the Long-Awaited Film

By SuganthanPublished 8 months ago 5 min read

Hidden Strike, originally titled Project X-Traction, has finally emerged on Netflix after lingering on the shelf for five years, despite featuring A-list stars like Jackie Chan and John Cena and carrying a substantial budget of $80 million. This prolonged delay naturally raises questions about the film's quality, as such a delay is usually attributed to significant issues. While the film boasts star power and a promising premise, it falls short of expectations, delivering a rather generic action flick with lackluster execution.

Set in "the near future," Hidden Strike centers around a Chinese-owned refinery in Iraq that comes under attack from an unidentified rebel force. The plot follows two protagonists, Luo Feng (Jackie Chan), a seasoned mercenary, and Chris Van Horne (John Cena), an ex-Marine turned villager in Iraq. Luo is tasked with evacuating the refinery's employees, including his estranged daughter Mei (Chunrui Ma), to safety. Meanwhile, Chris, driven by the need to repair his village's water system, becomes involved in a mission to apprehend a terrorist responsible for past casualties. As the story unfolds, alliances shift, and the two protagonists find themselves united against a common enemy.

Directed by Scott Waugh and written by Arash Amel, Hidden Strike fails to capitalize on the potential of its star-studded cast and intriguing premise. The film's central theme revolves around a reluctant partnership between Luo and Chris, a concept that has proven successful in other buddy films. However, the execution lacks the creativity and originality needed to engage viewers. Instead of delivering captivating action sequences that could distract from the predictable plot, the film offers lackluster scenes that seem out of place for an $80 million international production.

The action scenes in Hidden Strike fall short of expectations, appearing more suited for a low-budget direct-to-video thriller rather than a major production featuring action icons. While Jackie Chan's performance shines through in some stunt sequences, the film's reliance on subpar CGI detracts from the overall experience. One standout scene involves Chan fighting on overhead pipes while Cena supports him using a length of piping. However, other action moments lack innovation and appear uninspired.

The characters in the film also suffer from underdevelopment. Both Chris and Luo Feng lack depth, with only a few clichéd scenes attempting to provide insight into their personalities. Even the antagonist, Owen (Pilou Asbæk), is disappointingly one-dimensional, following a predictable trajectory. The inclusion of Mei primarily serves as a motivation for Luo and a superficial romantic interest for Chris, rather than adding meaningful depth to the story.

Hidden Strike ultimately fails to capitalize on its potential to deliver an engaging action film. The delays in its release have not resulted from hidden brilliance or unforeseen challenges; rather, the film lacks the essential elements required to stand out in the action genre. Despite Jackie Chan's commendable performance and a promising premise, the film's execution falls flat, offering generic action scenes and underdeveloped characters.

Hidden Strike's journey to the screen has been marked by anticipation and curiosity, given its star-studded cast and substantial budget. However, its lackluster execution brings to light the importance of not just assembling notable actors, but also crafting a compelling narrative with captivating action sequences. While the film boasts action icons like Jackie Chan and John Cena, it fails to rise above the clichés and predictability that often plague the genre.

Director Scott Waugh, known for his work on films like Act of Valor and Need For Speed, along with writer Arash Amel, aimed to deliver a gripping narrative that combined political intrigue with intense action. Unfortunately, Hidden Strike falls short of achieving this goal, offering audiences a formulaic story that lacks the twists and turns that keep viewers engaged.

Action films thrive on their ability to deliver exhilarating and visually striking sequences that leave audiences at the edge of their seats. In the case of Hidden Strike, the action scenes often feel uninspired and out of place, failing to take advantage of the skills and charisma of its lead actors. While Jackie Chan's presence brings moments of excitement, the overall action choreography and CGI effects fall short of creating a memorable impact. John Cena's physical prowess is evident, but the film fails to capitalize on his abilities, leaving much to be desired in terms of captivating fight sequences.

Successful action films often feature characters with depth, complexity, and chemistry that draw viewers into their journey. Unfortunately, Hidden Strike struggles in this aspect as well. Both protagonists, Luo Feng and Chris Van Horne, lack the depth needed to make their struggles and motivations resonate with the audience. Their interactions and camaraderie, which are crucial in buddy films, often feel forced and fail to establish a genuine connection.

The underdeveloped antagonist, Owen, further contributes to the film's lackluster character dynamics. His motivations and actions are predictable, robbing the narrative of the tension and intrigue that a well-crafted villain can bring. Similarly, Mei's role remains confined to that of a plot device, failing to evolve beyond being a reason for Luo's involvement in the mission.

One can't help but wonder about the potential Hidden Strike had to offer. With the combination of two action legends like Jackie Chan and John Cena, the film had the opportunity to break away from conventions and deliver a fresh take on the genre. However, the film sticks to tried-and-tested formulas, resulting in a lack of innovation that prevents it from standing out in a saturated market.

In retrospect, Hidden Strike's long-delayed release does not appear to be due to hidden brilliance awaiting discovery. Instead, the film seems to have struggled with finding its identity and delivering on the promise of its premise. While the cast's performances, especially that of Jackie Chan, offer glimmers of potential, the film's overall execution leaves much to be desired. As audiences finally get the chance to watch Hidden Strike on platforms like Netflix, they are likely to find a film that fails to meet the expectations set by its star power and budget.

The journey of Hidden Strike serves as a reminder that successful filmmaking is a delicate balance of story, character development, and action. Even with renowned actors and a substantial budget, a film can fall short if it fails to innovate, captivate, and deliver a compelling narrative. Hidden Strike, despite its potential, remains a missed opportunity in the realm of action cinema, reminding both filmmakers and audiences of the importance of crafting stories that engage and leave a lasting impact.

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About the Creator


Hi world! I am from Wonder of Asia Srilankan. Happy to write stories and History blog.

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