Thunderbolt (1995)
aka Dead Heat

Synopsis:  Jackie runs an auto repair shop, and is an expert on race cars. At night he helps HK police try to catch a ring of drivers who are using city streets to race their illegally souped-up cars. This leads to his involvement with a notorious international terrorist/race driver (?) known as “Cougar,” a psychopath who kidnaps Jackie’s sisters and holds them hostage, forcing Jackie to compete with him in a race in Japan. 

Debbie’s Review: Don’t believe all the bad stuff you’ve heard about this one. Many people complain about the amount of screen time devoted to car races in this film (except, of course, guys who love car racing), and about the fact that Jackie is heavily doubled in the fight scenes. Admittedly, this film does have problems: about 1/4 of the film is devoted to racing scenes, and not only are they boring after a while, but the racing is ridiculously speeded up, making them look silly and unreal (AND you can make them look even sillier by watching them all on fast-forward, which is what I always do!) 

And yes, Jackie is heavily doubled in the fight scenes. He was recovering from the broken ankle that he sustained filming Rumble in the Bronx, but Thunderbolt was on a tight shooting schedule to be released for Chinese New Year (a Jackie Chan Hong Kong tradition) so a double was used for most of the fighting. Added to that is the style that action director Sammo Hung used: lots of cuts and blurry slow-mo shots do spoil some of the action, but I still find the fight scenes to be entertaining. 

The real reason I like this movie is the story line. This is the only time in his career that Jackie’s character is part of a family, and although the tone of the film is quite serious overall, the scenes with Jackie and his dad and sisters are very warm and touching. I also enjoyed the chance to see Jackie in another rare dramatic role…it’s a nice change of pace. It has a great music score, and I really enjoyed the scenes when he and his crew are preparing for the big race, with the help of a pretty young reporter who is dogging Jackie for a scoop, but ends up with a big case of puppy love instead (well, who wouldn’t?!) 

Score:  6/10

Reader Reviews

Jackiechanmanuk's Review: this move seems to get alot of criticism but i think its great.The racing scenes are amazing (Jackie would have wanted them to be good because hes crazy about cars and racing them) and the one fight in the amusement arcade is superb and there also a just as awe enspiring fight in his garage. You can tell on screen that hes passionate about what hes doing.The stunt inside his metal crate room is really good aswell dont believe the press until u actually see it.It is a good film and its a little different for a change.

Score: 8/10

Whitney's Review: This is the best film ever in the whole world! I love this one sooooooooo much! It's also because Jackie plays a very different character than in the other movies of his. I like the race and the fight in the Pachinko the most. And also the love between Jackie and Anita. They're the cutest couple in the world!

Score: 1000000(you get the idea)/10

kdawg's Review: When i first saw this movie i was amazed. It is probobly my favorite jackie chan movie ever. And the stunts are awsome. But then i read debbs review when she said he used a stunt double and i almost cried. I can't believe it! This movie is good and comon! the slow mo scenes are only on for a minute. Even though i was dissapointed that there was abig race instead of a big fight at the end it still is a good movie. Buy or rent! P.S.The reason i didn't give it a 10 is because i don't like racing. But the racing in this was cool.

Score: 9.5/10

Hervey Taylor's Review: Jackie Chan is such a great martial artist and actor. On top of that he's naturally a genuine nice guy. I saw this movie and loved it. I loved it so much that I watched it again the next day. I think it's a good movie. It's a simple plot. If you watch this film looking for Drunken Master 2, or a Rush Hour then you will be dissapointed both ways. It's just a simple movie with good martial arts sequences and good acting. Jackie did a damn good job of acting in this movie.
The music and theme song was excellent. So, comedy Rush Hour people, you will be let down. Hard Core martial arts Drunken Master 2 people will be let down as well.
However, the fight scenes that do occur are excellent. Jackie is serious and focused. No goofy face during the fights, none of that. Just pure rock em' sock em' fighting. After reading about him using a stunt double, I went back and watched it again. It was less enjoyable knowing that the casino scene was not all Jackie Chan. But don't think about it at that part and you will enjoy it.
If you like Jackie then just watch the movie.

Score: 7.5/10

Nicky's Review: decent movie

not enough action but it has a decent storyline and also cars.. and babes ;)

good for the average man..

nice to see Jackie with his hammer skills ;)

Score: 7/10

Azizur Rahman's Review: This is probably the best Jackie Chan film ever. If only Jackie had not broken his ankle in RUMBLE IN THE BRONX [1994] and used a stunt double then it could have been twice as better.
The favourite part of the movie is the song. The only thing that got on my nerves was that the beginning was in Cantonese and the end was in Mandarin!!! Also when I recorded it, it did not seem to come out very well and it makes lots of blurs in it! So much for a favourite movie.

Score: 1000000000/10

Oliver's Review: The only bad thing about this movie is the story that is the backround to everything,-Race with me or your family will die. it,s just like -fight me or your family will die or -my kung fu is better then yours.
BUT, that's all the rest of the movie is excellent. I really liked this one because of the scene in when Jackie, his sisters and father nearly getting killed is one with real good stunts, I really love the fighting scene in the casino, The night when i saw that scene (movie) I dreamt all the night about that one.
The Action is good to but it is not like the others Jackie chan films, And Acting is one of the best with Jackie...Do more movies with that acting but then use a story that fits in...I haven't seen Jackie act like that before and it was great acting to the scenes but not to the story -If you don't race with me I kill your family...Ohh is a bit like that and without Samo Hung I don't think this one have made it becuse of Jackie's tight scheduale.
See this movie...Its real action with real acting.

Score: 8/10

Andy's Review: Thunderbolt...well, I saw the movie not knowing that Jackie was using a stunt double for much of the action scenes. That actually explains a lot, like why the director shot every fight scene with about 1,000 jump cuts (to the point where Jackie hit someone, jump cut, guy hits the ground, jump cut, Jackie reacts.) That got really annoying because one of the greatest aspects of Jackie's action scenes is how driven he is to make everything perfect, and his best scenes are often when the camera is still and we can just marvel at the moves and the choreography. Also, the "Cougar destroys Jackie's family's junkyard house with a crane" was pretty cool, but again, I was annoyed by the slow-mo shots. If lifting your room with a crane and tossing it around isn't exciting enough and the action needs to be slowed down to increase damatic tension...well, something's wrong. And I agree about the race at the end. I didn't feel it went TOO long, but the obvious "speeding up" of the film gave it a keystone cops feel it didn't need. I also agree that the soundtrack was one of the better ones from a Jackie Chan film.

Score: 7/10 (didn't suck, but Jackie should have healed, done the stunts, and directed himself. But he's only one man, and deadlines won't wait in HK films!)

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