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Stanley Tong
Jackie Chan, Yang Yang, Lun Ai
Writing Credits:
Stanley Tong

Covert security company Vanguard is the last hope of survival for an accountant after he is targeted by the world's deadliest mercenary organization.

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Mandarin/English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 107 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 3/9/2021

• “The Making of Vanguard” Featurette


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Vanguard [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 28, 2021)

If it seems like Jackie Chan has been around forever… well, he kind of has. Chan’s career started as a child in 1962, so he’s coming up on 60 years as an actor.

Now 66, Chan continues to work in the same kind of action flicks that made him an international star. 2020’s Vanguard becomes his latest effort.

Businessman Qin Guoli (Jackson Lou) notifies authorities about his corrupt former partner Maasym, and this eventually results in Maasym’s death. As retaliation, Massym’s vengeful son Omar (Eyad Hourani) sends mercenaries after Qin and his family.

In an attempt to survive, Qin hires Vanguard, an elite security company headed by Tang Huating (Chan). As Omar‘s goons pursue the Qin clan, Tang and his team work to keep them safe.

Although Jackie Chan stills performs in movies, no one should expect the nimble, risk-taking Chan of legend. Not that I can blame him, as age claims all of us eventually, so it comes as no surprise that Chan can’t perform the same wild stunts of his youth now that he finds himself in his mid-60s.

However, the question then becomes what Chan brings to a movie if he lacks the talents that made him famous. Despite all those roles over the decades, it doesn’t appear Chan ever really bothered to learn how to act, and that becomes an issue when he can no longer dazzle us with his physical prowess.

Since Chan shows weak acting abilities, his presence here becomes justified solely in terms of star power and box office draw. Vanguard needs all the help it can get, as this turns into a borderline unwatchable film,

With its heavy emphasis on action and its variety of locations, Vanguard certainly boasts the potential to deliver an engaging tale. Unfortunately, everything about it feels so cheap and cheesy that it stumbles from start to finish.

Nothing here works. The script feels like a 10-year-old wrote it, as we find clunky, silly dialogue and a borderline incoherent plot.

At its heart, Vanguard brings a simple tale, but it relates the narrative in such a clumsy manner that it rarely makes any sense.

Vanguard comes populated with forgettable, underdrawn characters, and none of the actors show the skills necessary to elevate their roles. All seem amateurish and flat.

Even the action fizzles. We get awkwardly shot fights and beats that lack even the slightest hint of excitement.

All of this adds up to a slow, tedious 107 minutes of attempted entertainment. Vanguard wants to become the Chinese answer to the Fast and Furious series but instead, it just feels like a cheap knockoff.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus D+

Vanguard appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I found an attractive transfer here.

Sharpness seemed fine. Only mild instances of softness materialized in a few wide elements, so I viewed most of the film as a tight, distinctive image.

No issues with jaggies or moiré effects occurred, and I witnessed no edge haloes. Print flaws failed to mar the presentation.

In terms of colors, Vanguard went with a teal feel accompanied by plenty of orange/amber. This was expected from a modern thriller, so it’s unoriginal but typical of the genre circa 2020. The hues worked fine within those limitations.

Blacks seemed deep enough, and shadows showed good smoothness. I felt pleased by this well-rendered image.

In addition, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack fit the material. It used all the channels to give us music, and appropriate effects cropped up around the spectrum in a convincing manner.

Those elements meshed together in a concise way and helped give us a vivid sense of places and events. When the track used the surrounds and sides in a lively way – mainly via gunfire and natural components like a waterfall - it did so well.

Audio quality satisfied. Music was bright and bold, while speech came across as natural and distinctive.

Effects seemed accurate and dynamic, with clean highs and deep lows. The track worked fine for the material.

The Making of Vanguard runs seven minutes, 51 seconds and brings notes from writer/director Stanley Tong and actors Jackie Chan, Yang Yang, Mu Qimiya, and Ai Lun.

“Making” looks at story and characters, sets and locations, cast and performances, stunts and action. Though we get some decent shots from the production, most of this becomes fluffy promo material.

Anyone who expects a fun action experience from Vanguard will encounter nothing but disappointment. Jackie Chan can’t save this turgid, incoherent pile of nonsense. The Blu-ray brings very good picture and audio but it lacks notable bonus materials. Other than the presence of some pretty actresses, I find nothing worthwhile about this stinker.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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