Jackie Chan Presents: Amnesia (a J!-ENT DVD Review)
December 18, 2016 by Dennis Amith
Yinxi Song’s “Amnesia” will entertain those wanting a popcorn action film. But having reviewed martial arts action films for over 20-years, “Jackie Chan Presents: Amnesia” is no doubt one of the most inconsistent, badly written martial arts action film that I have ever watched.
Image courtesy of © 2017 Lions Gate. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Jackie Chan Presents: Amnesia
YEAR OF FILM: 2015
DURATION: 102 Minutes
DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen 2:35:1 aspect ratio, English Dolby Digital 5.1, Subtitles: English and Spanish
COMPANY: Lions Gate
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Directed by Yinxi Song
Written by Xiaoshuai Hu and Yinxi Song
Produced by Yinxi Song, Zhang Shijia
Executive Producer: Jackie Chan, Jianguo Xu, Yinxi Song
Music by Varqa Buehrer, Tiannan Cai, Huazhang Dai, Zhao Zhao
Wang Haixiang (Ocean) as Li Ziwei
Xingtong Yao as Tong Xin
Martial-arts legend Jackie Chan presents this pulse-pounding update to his own classic thriller.
In 1998, Jackie Chan co-directed (with Bennie Chan) and starred in the film “Who Am I?” which featured Chan playing an agent who suffers from short-term memory loss and travels the world.
Fast forward 17-years later and Jackie Chan is the executive producer of “Amnesia”, a vehicle to promote his protege and friends in a film that is not a remake or reboot of “Who Am I?”. And what better to launch their careers than attach a legends name to the project and get people excited of what may be a remake, reboot or update of his 1998 film.
With “Amnesia”, while the film does have Jackie Chan’s name attached to it as an Executive Producer, what we have is an action film co-written and directed by Yinxi Song and a vehicle for new actor Ocean Wang.
And now the film is available on DVD courtesy of Lions Gate.
“Amnesia” begins with bike courier (but also street racer and also one who likes to take part in parkour) Li Ziwei (portrayed by Ocean Wang) delivering a package.
Unfortunately, he notices something awry and realizes that the two people he meets are involved in a murder scene and want the package that Li Ziwei is delivering.
But during the pursuit, while Ziwei manages to escape, he hits his head on the bridge and tumbles and falls into a river.
Now Li Ziwei is suffering from prosopagnosia, a cognitive disorder known as “face blindness” in which one can’t recognize faces including one’s own due to damage to the brain.
As Li Ziwei awakes from being hospitalized, he doesn’t know where he is or his surroundings abut receives a mysterious phone call about his condition and that he must try to protect the package that he has in his position. He is also reminded of his car racing skills, his parkour and martial arts skills but also the death of his girlfriend. But also that he is now a wanted man as the death (of the person who was supposed to receive the package) has been attributed to him and now he is a wanted man.
Meanwhile, the murderers who are after the package have discovered Li Ziwei’s identity and are now after him.
As Li Ziwei tries to avoid being captured by the murderers, he is joined by a sassy hitchiker named Tong Xin (portrayed by Xingtong Yao) and he tries to find out why people want the package but also to clear his name.
VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Amnesia” is presented in 16:9 anamorphic (2:35:1 aspect ratio) and Mandarin 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio. Picture quality and audio quality is as good as it can get on DVD. The film is primarily dialogue driven. Dialogue and music is crystal clear.
“Amnesia” comes with no special features.
Quite often in sports, you often see in sports news discussing who will be the next legend.
And for martial arts films, there is always discussion of who will be the next Jackie Chan, Jet Li, etc.
And while the last 15-years have gave us a glimpse of who may be the next action star, but a lot of them have not become action stars but just film stars.
And when it comes to action films, one way of getting attention is by attaching your name to a project and for martial arts legendary actor Jackie Chan, attaching your name to a film with a title that may make people think it’s an update, remake or reboot of a past film will surely receive hype.
In 2015, Yinxi Song wrote and directed “Amnesia” and as the film would be his introduction as writer and director, young actor Ocean Wang would get a chance to show that he can be the next martial arts star.
Unfortunately, “Amnesia” is a film that would have benefited if there was no relation to Jackie Chan’s 1998 film “Who Am I?” but when it comes to financing a martial arts film, you need all the help you can get it and what best than to utilize Jackie Chan’s name to make an action film.
The problem is, “Amnesia” has nothing to do with actual amnesia like the 1998 film and while an entertaining martial arts popcorn action film, the film’s plot is quite weak.
The film reminds me of a martial arts version of David Koepp’s 2012 action-thriller, “Premium Rush”. A film about a bicycle messenger who is delivering a package and now is wanted and pursued by a corrupt police officer.
“Amnesia” revolves around a bike courier being pursued by a triad with two murderers who are after a package that the courier, Li Ziwei, has in his possession.
But when the bike courier has brain damage due to hitting his head on a bridge, he now suffers from prospagnosia and is unable to recognize any faces, including his own.
All he knows is through a mysterious call, traces of his past, fragments of memories and is now joined by a sassy hitchhiker that he picks up and realizes there are people out to kill him and police think he’s a criminal.
All Li Ziwei can do is run and fight.
And of course, no matter how far he travels to escape the gang, they always know where he is headed.
While if the film focused on action, it’s muddled due to his fragmented memories of a girlfriend that has died. And he starts thinking the girl he picked up is his girlfriend and she tends to go along with it as she starts to have feelings for him.
The problem with the film is that it tries to teeter with two stories of a man who is wanted and a man who can’t escape the guilt of the past and his girlfriend that died.
To make things worse, we are given an ending that cheats viewers out of any true ending and felt it was put together in haste and that the hour that one has been watching, has been thrown out of the window by giving a finale that really seems it came from another script.
To put it simply, this is one of the worse screenplays that I have seen when it comes to continuity. How the film is resolved was poorly done and how the film deals with the two murderers that we see pursuing Li Ziwei throughout the film is really stupid. If they wanted to make up for this monstrosity of a script, they could have explained it with Li Ziwei waking up from his coma or sleep and saying “that was a weird dream”.
The film looks and sounds as good as it can get on DVD and it’s a barebones release, so there are no special features.
Again, just because Jackie Chan’s name is on the title and he is the executive producer should not come into watching this film and expecting a Jackie Chan martial arts film. Nor does it have anything to do with his 1998 film “Who Am I?”.
Overall, Yinxi Song’s “Amnesia” will entertain those wanting a popcorn action film. But having reviewed martial arts action films for over 20-years, “Jackie Chan Presents: Amnesia” is no doubt one of the most inconsistent, badly written martial arts action film that I have ever watched.
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