Ride On is surprisingly heartfelt with Jackie Chan giving one of his best performances to date; it has several fight scenes to keep action fans entertained but this is more of a character piece exploring what it’s like as an aging stuntman rather than a full-on action picture. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t tear up at the end as it packs an emotional punch that we can all relate to.
Plot: Washed-up stuntman Luo can barely make ends meet, let alone take care of his beloved stunt horse, Red Hare. Luo reluctantly seeks help from his estranged daughter and her lawyer boyfriend when notified the horse may be auctioned off to pay his debts. Luo and Red Hare become an overnight media sensation when their fight with debt collectors goes viral.
Review: Jackie Chan’s recent output has been somewhat hit or miss and I still consider The Foreigner the best film he has done in years; the trailers made Ride On look like it was going to be more of the same and although there is still plenty of classic Chan humour I wasn’t expecting to get as emotionally involved in the story with Jackie giving one of his best performances in years.
I’ll admit I was nearly sobbing by the end as I’m a softy for anything involving animals and Ride On’s greatest find is the horse Red Hair. It must have taken an age to train the horse to do all the tricks he does in the film but it could be argued that he actually gives a performance; I know that sounds crazy but if you see the film you’ll understand.
Ride On is a love letter to the stunt industry with Jackie playing aging stuntman Luo whose career has seen better days but when he reunites with his estranged daughter his fortunes change and his life takes a dramatic turnaround.
It must be the hardest thing for someone who has relied on their body be it in stunts or action movies to make a living but when age catches up to them they have to face the harsh reality that they can’t really do it anymore. Jackie uses footage from his classic films throughout so this feels like it’s a biography of his life disguised as a movie giving it extra emotional heft.
Although this is more of a drama there are still plenty of fight scenes with Jackie proving that even despite his advancing years he still has what it takes in the action department; his dedication to the craft is unmatched which is why he is one of the greats.
Despite having several fight scenes Ride On is a little slow at times and may put some viewers off who are just looking for a straightforward fight film. I found my patience rewarded as I was fully engaged with the story and couldn’t wait to see how it would all work out in the end.
Wu Jing shows up in an extended cameo but he has no fight scenes so if you’re expecting that you’ll be disappointed.
Overall, Ride On is a heartfelt love letter to stunts and the action industry with Jackie Chan at his best and an almost scene stealing turn from a horse (never thought I’d write that). There are a few fight scenes to keep viewers interested but this is more character based than action driven.