Vanguard basically amounts to a live-action version of Jackie Chan Adventures or Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos with all its high tech adventure, comic book-style action, and high fiving and laughing together at the end. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it doesn’t have to because it’s designed to entertain on a simplistic level.
International terrorists meet their match in Vanguard, an international security company.
A wealthy businessman and his family – including a daughter in Africa – are targeted by a mercenary group sent to kill or capture them. To the businessman’s rescue is covert security agency VANGUARD, a globe trotting team based out of China. Their leader is Tang (Jackie Chan), a formidable leader who’s clearly got his hands full in trying to round up the businessman and his family members, namely his daughter stationed in Africa on a zoological expedition. Just as they get to Africa, the mercenaries attack (the lead heavy is played by Brahim Chab from Boyka: Undisputed 4) and prompt a long chase through the desert. The plot gets confusing, but it doesn’t matter because the movie moves at a fast clip, with chases, shoot-outs, explosions, stunts, and even a white water rescue. Oh, and there are lots of CGI animals too.
Vanguard basically amounts to a live-action version of Jackie Chan Adventures or Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos with all its high tech adventure, comic book-style action, and high fiving and laughing together at the end. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it doesn’t have to because it’s designed to entertain on a simplistic level. The good guys have no dimension, but they’re good guys, and the bad guys are snarling, sneering villains who get beat up and thrown out the door. Jackie Chan, who has more of a supporting role in the film, doesn’t really get himself into the action too much, leaving his younger and less distinguished costars with the spotlight. With major duds like Chinese Zodiak and Bleeding Steel cluttering his recent output, Chan’s output could’ve used a real zinger of a hit, but perhaps The Foreigner will be his final outstanding film. Who knows? I enjoyed Vanguard for being a silly action adventure, and despite not having a really clear and concise ending, it’s fun. It’s written and directed by Stanley Tong, who had worked with Chan several times before, including Rumble in the Bronx and The Myth.
Lionsgate’s new Blu-ray release of Vanguard comes with a digital code, as well as a special feature “The Making of Vanguard.” it’s out on March 9th.