Hidden Strike (2023) Movie Review – Netflix B-movie doesn’t strike the sweet spot

Netflix B-movie doesn’t strike the sweet spot

Back in the 80’s, there were a whole bunch of huge action movies starring big names that lit up the cinemas. From Arnold Schwarzenegger to Sylvester Stallone, these guys were big box office draws and managed to fill theatres, regardless of film quality.

However, there were also a whole bunch of other movies that went straight to VHS too. These bargain bin action titles were a decent Saturday night watch, designed to be a one-time watch and then never to be touched again. Well, Hidden Strike is basically the 2023 equivalent of that.

This is an explosive, bombastic, poorly rendered and ultimately dumb movie, chock full of illogical beats, bad CGI and a paper-thin story that’s as forgettable as it is strangely watchable. It’s the action that ultimately keep things watchable, right up to the hilariously over the top finale.

Hidden Strike clearly draws inspiration from titles like Rush Hour, trying to build that action/comedy buddy cop duo between main characters Chris (John Cena) and Luo (Jackie Chan). While some of the jokes work, others fall completely flat and this is likely to be a very subjective watch as a result.

The story is set sometime in the near future, where a Chinese-owned refinery in Iraq is under attack by rebels. A team of special forces are tasked with escorting civilians out and along the “Highway of Death” to Baghdad’s Green Zone. Fronting that group is the formidable Dragon Luo, who finds out that among the civilians in the refinery is his estranged daughter.

Meanwhile, ex-Marine Chris is haunted by the memory of his father. He needs money to repair the water system for the village he lives in, but similarly knows that the man responsible for the deaths of his father and several squad-mates happens to be on the bus convoy headed by Luo.

Chris hires a group of mercenaries, whom he gives amusing nicknames too, and sets out to attack the convoy and get his revenge. However, this is all one big set-up and Chris finds himself unwittingly teaming up with Luo to face a common enemy.

What ensues from here is the typical action-comedy set-up, and while the story is paper-thin and lacks substance, the action is pretty good. The various fights in here draw on the pair’s strengths, with Luo using agility and more acrobatic moves, while Chris relies on brute strength and power.

Unfortunately, the characters themselves are bland and incredibly one note. The leads do their best to try and elevate the material, but it never feels like enough. From the credits at the end, you can tell that there’s some adlibbing here to try and breathe life into the script but more mechanical parts of the script are harder to hide.

There’s a really poor subplot involving Luo and his estranged daughter Mei that doesn’t work, while the villain and almost all of the supporting cast are completely forgettable. There’s also a good number of plot contrivances and illogical beats but this is something that can be overlooked a bit given the film never takes itself too seriously.

For some, Hidden Strike will feel like a proper throwback to those Saturday nights renting a B-movie VHS from Blockbuster. For others, this will be a painful experience. Given the wealth of action films that have released this year, Hidden Strike doesn’t even stack up to the most mediocre

At a stretch, Hidden Strike is a fun one-time watch if you fancy a nonsensical, so-bad-it’s-kinda-good film, but those after something a bit more, are not going to find this striking the sweet spot.


Read More: Hidden Strike Ending Explained

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  • Verdict - 4/10

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