18th Jan2018

‘The Shanghai Job’ Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Orlando Bloom, Simon Yam, Lynn Hung, Xing Yu, Hannah Quinlivan, Thomas Price, Lei Wu, Jing Liang, Da Ying, Rong Chang, Lyon Zhang, Ruoxi Wang | Written by Kevin Bernhardt | Directed by Charles Martin


Hey everybody, its Britain’s sweetheart Orlando Bloom… You remember Orlando Bloom, the bow and arrow fella from The Lord of the Rings or the lovable simpleton boxer from The Calcium Kid. No?. I’m just Kidding! I know we all know who Orlando Bloom is but I can assure you we have not seen him like this before.

An ultra badass..!

That’s right Orlando Bloom has completely reinvented himself as a punchy, kicky, ready for business, bonafide action star! Sure we have seen him firing arrows or swinging swords but The Shanghai Job sees him swinging fists and sweeping legs in director Charles Martin’s (Skins, Marcella) debut feature, set in the stunning locales of Shanghai. While this may be a debut feature from Martin, he has a whole team of guys who are no strangers to this genre with such flicks as Mechanic: Resurrection, Iron Man 3 and Welcome to the Punch under their belts. Throw in some supporting roles from cast members of Ip Man and well your in for some fast and frantic fight choreography in a fusion of Transporter and/or Taken and, dare is say it, Ocean’s Eleven.

At one time Danny Stratton was the absolute business and was the go to in Shanghai if you had to get something valuable from one place to another. When we meet him, he is transporting a Van Gogh and the job goes all sorts of wrong when his van is hijacked. We jump ahead 12 months and Stratton is slumming it as a glorified bodyguard with a small team of lovable misfits. His team is given the chance to take on a huge job that could put him back in the game – transporting a priceless vase. Of course this is a movie and it would be pretty dull if everything went swimmingly. Well… Again they are ambushed but Danny is not about to lose another artifact and when he realizes these robbers are the same as the last time, he sees an opportunity to clear his name: use the vase as bait to get the Van Gogh back! That’s the plan and I’m not saying its a good one but it is a plan… It’s not going to be that easy though is it?

The Shanghai Job is a hugely enjoyable and entertaining movie. Is it the best film I have ever seen? No, but there is enough in here to keep you hooked for 95 minutes. Starting as a bit of a slow burn, the film initially lets us get to know our characters but when the movie kicks in proper it moves fast, and keeps on moving. Director Charles Martin has a great eye for the surroundings, really showing us how gorgeous the Neon Shanghai cityscapes are, all the while pumping our ears with a heart pulsing soundtrack. I honestly found myself loving this soundtrack but I will admit that I am a massive sucker for an action soundtrack that evokes memories of 80s and 90s action flicks!

It’s good to see Orlando Bloom doing something different, but on that note, Bloom is merely serviceable and has the job of carrying the flick but they also superbly cast the supporters. I loved the chemistry with his team, the battered and bruised mentor type, the tech whizz (oh one thing, drone batteries don’t last nearly as long as this movie thinks they do) and the sassy ass kicking female. The script is pretty tight and only falls short in a couple places but this is an action movie so you always run the gauntlet of being a little bit cheesy from time to time. The baddies are ass-kickingly great, the evil mastermind is solid, so all around this is a very strong recommend. Cheeky sidenote, the original title of this movie was S.M.A.R.T. Chase: Fire & Earth… Very good choice changing that one.

The Shanghai Job hits VOD on January 29th, followed by DVD on February 5th. If you’re an action fan you should definitely give this one a go.


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