Jackie Chan has been a household name for years in action films and comedy. The American version of Chan these days is John Cena, and both action stars combine forces for the first time in Hidden Strike. While the movie may not be a major hit, there are moments it proves to be a hidden gem for action comedy fans.

The story (such as it is) involves a shortage of oil around the world, and in the province of China, an elite strike team led by Dragon Luo (Chan) is supervising the evacuation of a scientific team, led by Professor Cheng (Wenli Jiang) and Dr. Mei (Chunrui Ma). It also comes about that Mei is the estranged daughter of Luo, which causes a lot more tension on this mission to oversee the scientists get to the safety of The Green Zone by way of the infamous Highway of Death in Baghdad, Iraq.

Hidden Strike poster

Hidden Strike poster

Meanwhile, a mercenary team under the leadership of a man named Chris (Cena) is taking on this job with brother Henry (Amadeus Serafini) to extract oil, and Chris reluctantly joins in so he can get money for water rights in the village he inhabits with some orphan kids in the Middle East, but they get double-crossed by their backer Owen (Pilou Asbæk). They grab a couple of the scientists, and when Chris realizes he’s working for the wrong team he walks off the job and becomes their next target. It’s only when Luo and Chris have a brief fight that they realize they need to combine forces to stop the real bad guys here. That means, to invoke the late, great Utah movie critic Jeff Vice, wackiness ensues.

If you are a fan of Jackie Chan movies, this may come across as a disappointment in comparison to his greatest hits like Supercop, Drunken Master, Rumble in the Bronx, First Strike, or even the Rush Hour series.  But keep in mind at the age of 69 and after countless breathtaking stunts that Chan has been renowned for, something has got to give. But don’t dismiss him quite so quickly because Chan is still spry and can still move when it comes to action and he retains a keen wit during this film.

Which brings us to Cena’s performance. As mentioned before, when he has the right project in front of him, Cena does shine. He’s proven that with The Suicide Squad and the TV series spinoff Peacemaker.  Now he is as adept as physical work and comedy like Chan. While Cena does not have the fluid grace Chan possesses (or possessed, depending on your point of view) he can hang with the best of them, and there is some good chemistry between the actors.

John Cena and Jackie Chan don't want to put a pin on "Hidden Strike"

John Cena and Jackie Chan don’t want to put a pin on Hidden Strike.

The story goes that Sylvester Stallone was tapped to play the role of Chris, but had to back out due to commitments with reprising his role as Rocky Balboa in Creed. As much as that pairing would’ve been interesting from a star-power level, you can’t help but think if that were to move forward, it would have been a poor man’s Expendables show. That is why Cena and Chan work so well here, and Cena even busts out some Chinese dialogue throughout the film. I doubt Stallone could have done any better.

Part of the reason the action keeps hopping along has to do with the director Steven Waugh, whose credits include Need for Speed, and Act of Valor, and he is currently tapped to helm the new Expendables 4 film. Waugh manages to keep the action and the humor at a brisk pace, even when the the plot doesn’t have a lot of ammo in the magazine.

That brings us to the other issue with this film. The production wrapped up back in 2018 and the plan was for Hidden Strike to be released in theatres, and then, live so many other things in the last few years, COVID halted those plans.  It is only recently that the streaming service Netflix picked it up, and in its first week picked up steam with viewership.

There are talks that Hidden Strike can be a cult classic.  While that is up for debate, one thing is certain:  Chan can still deliver action for his fans, and Cena is just as good in action and comedy, and that is evident during the end credits Chan is famous for in his films.  Watching the gag reels and bloopers make you want to see more of this interaction down the road.

Hidden Strike is not a big blockbuster, but it is a hidden gem of action.

Hidden Strike is currently streaming on Netflix.

Hidden Strike (2023)

Tag Line: There is a plan. They just don’t know what it is.
Directed By: Scott Waugh
Written By: Arash Amel
Cast: Jackie Chan, John Cena, Chunrui Ma
Runtime: 1 hour and 42 minutes.




Slam Wrestling's Hollywood Headlock Rating Scale:

Slam Wrestling’s Hollywood Headlock Rating Scale:
1: Unsafe Worker (Avoid!)
2: Pre-Show Performer
3: Mid-Card Material
4: Main Eventer
5: World Title Winner