Combustible Celluloid Review - Ride On (2023), Larry Yang, Larry Yang, Jackie Chan, Haocun Liu, Qilin Guo, Wu Jing, Joey Yung, Yu Ailei, Yu Rongguang, Andy On, Xiaoshenyang, Shi Yanneng
Combustible Celluloid
With: Jackie Chan, Haocun Liu, Qilin Guo, Wu Jing, Joey Yung, Yu Ailei, Yu Rongguang, Andy On, Xiaoshenyang, Shi Yanneng
Written by: Larry Yang
Directed by: Larry Yang
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Mandarin, with English subtitles
Running Time: 126
Date: 04/07/2023

Ride On (2023)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Horse Before the Heart

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Far too long, frequently awkward, and unabashedly weepy, this father-daughter-horse story (with martial arts) still manages to get you in the feels, especially for longtime Jackie Chan fans.

Luo (Jackie Chan) is a down-on-his-luck stuntman who lives in a spacious old stable with his beloved horse Red Hare. He has taken to street performing with Red Hare to raise precious cash, which he then owes to persistent debt collectors. A video of Luo using his martial arts skills to take out the collectors goes viral, and he begins working again, putting himself and his horse into dangerous situations.

Then, the legal ownership of the horse comes into question, and Luo needs to go to court. It happens that his estranged daughter, Bao (Haocun Liu), attends law school, and her boyfriend Mickey (Guo Qilin) has just graduated. Luo jumps at the chance to get to know his daughter for real, but she bristles at the way he pushes Red Hare. Can Luo find balance in his life and keep Red Hare at the same time?

Ride On contains moments of attempted humor, but much of it is wince-inducing, as in the scene in which Luo meets his daughter's boyfriend's parents. He tries on a series of preposterous, clownish outfits, and then proceeds to make a fool of himself, talking with his mouth full and making clueless comments.

That's equalled by the movie's maudlin, tearjerking moments, capped by a sequence of Red Hare running after a departing Luo, repeatedly slipping and falling in the mud, to the tune of a goopy, syrupy music score.

But Ride On succeeds when it comes to being a Jackie Chan movie. The fight scenes are a little slower and a little less spectacular (Jackie turns 69 on the day this movie releases), but they still click. (A bit involving a large rocking chair is a gem.)

It's also an appreciation of Chan's entire career; Luo keeps a DVD containing clips and outtakes from Chan's greatest work in the 1980s and 1990s, which is shown anytime anyone needs a reminder as to who he is and what he did.

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