HK movie poster  US DVD cover

Island of Fire

AKA: Island on Fire, The Prisoner, When Dragons Meet, The Burning Island


Director: Chu Yen-Ping

Stars: Jackie Chan, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Andy Lau, Sammo Hung, Jimmy Wang Yu

Many people cite Rumble in the Bronx as Jackie Chan's worst film of the past decade. However, for how many problems that flawed (but still enjoyable) movie has, it really has nothing on this disjointed production. The story is pretty simple -- Chan, Leung and Hung play prisoners in Hong Kong's toughest facility who must deal with corrupt guards and Triad influences. Each of them has their own separate little story that are supposed to intertwine with each other, but this film is so poorly executed, we don't see them come together until the end, where we get some big "plot twist" about the warden using "executed" prisoners as assassins. This leads to the movie's "best" part, a shootout that is so derivative of John Woo it's almost funny (the guys wear black suits and use dual guns, the sunglasses gag from The Killer, lots of slow motion, etc.). It provides a little punch, but the rest of the movie is so boring -- it's not worth the effort to sit through 80 minutes of crap (save for a couple of decent fight scenes featuring Chan) for a okay gunfight.

Rumor has it that many of the film's stars were "convinced" by the Triads to appear in this movie. Jackie Chan did the movie as a favor to Wang Yu, who helped him get out of a sticky contract situation involving director Lo Wei and his Triad buddies back in the early 1980's. Reportedly, he was so disgusted by the results that he tried to buy up all copies of the movie, which probably explains why this is one of the last of Chan's recent movies to be released in the States.


A review of the DVD for this movie (US version) can be found here

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