High Risk (film)

High Risk (film)

Infobox Film
name = High Risk

image_size = 200px
caption = Cover of Hong Kong DVD release
director = Wong Jing
producer = Wong Jing
writer = Wong Jing
narrator =
starring = Jet Li
Jacky Cheung
Chingmy Yau
music = Jussi Tegelman
Richard Yuen
cinematography = Moon-Tong Lau
editing = Angie Lam
distributor = flagicon|Hong Kong Upland Films
flagicon|USA Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (DVD)
released = 1995
runtime = 101 mins
country = flagicon|Hong Kong Hong Kong
language = Cantonese
budget =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id =
imdb_id = 0114437

"High Risk" (zh-tcy|t=鼠胆龍威|cy="Shu dan long wei"), also known in the United States as "Meltdown" is a 1995 Hong Kong martial arts action-adventure film written and directed by Wong Jing and starring Jet Li, Jacky Cheung, Chingmy Yau, Charlie Yeung, and Valerie Chow. Corey Yuen serves as the film's fight choreographer.

The film is a parody of some of Hollywood's most influential action films, such as "Die Hard" and "Speed". It also gained controversy for spoofing Jackie Chan, who was, in turn, offended by the satire.

"Meltdown" is the title given to this film in the United States by Columbia TriStar Home Video (now known as Sony Pictures Home Entertainment).


A terrorist group takes control of a hotel in Hong Kong in order to steal the jewels on display during an exhibition. Some of the hostages work together to escape and take down the terrorists.

The Story

Kit Li, a cop on the Hong Kong Police bomb squad, responds to a call at a local school, where a terrorist group led by the Doctor, has taken a school bus hostage. Shortly after arriving at the scene, he discovers his wife and son are onboard the explosive rigged bus. Kit sends a subordinate to disarm the bomb, but matters are complicated due to the intricate set up of the bomb which eventually explodes, killing everyone on the bus, including Kit's family.

Years later. Crowds gather to watch action star Frankie Lone perform a stunt for his latest film. However, having partied to hard the night before, Frankie is incapable of performing the stunt. A stunt double named "Bold" is called in who turns out to be none other than Kit Li. As Kit performs the stunt of falling from the top of a building to the mat below, Frankie rushes down the stairs so that he can take Kit's place. Unfortunately Helen, a tabloid reporter filmed the stunt, and later discovers the bait-and-switch. She decides to use it to boost her show's ratings.

After the stunt, Frankie's father expresses to Kit his dismay at his son's decline. He believes that his son has become so engrossed in fame that he's forgotten the technique. Kit is more optimistic, and promises to work with Frankie.

Meanwhile, the Doctor, while planning another assault, announces that they have an undercover cop in their midst. Panicking, the cop grabs the Doctor's girlfriend Fai as a hostage. The Doctor is unfazed, stating that she'll gladly die for him. They struggle, and Fai is stabbed in the shoulder, but she wrests the spike away and stabs the undercover cop to death.

At a wrap party for Frankie's film, Frankie's dad and his manager approach him with an invitation to a jewelry exhibition at the newly-opened Hotel Grandeur. He scoffs at his father's idea of taking Bold, who seems far less interested in partying and more interested in doing his job--which he is doing at that precise moment. Helen and her tubby cameraman have staked themselves out in a tree, and are taping Frankie's excesses. Bold discovers them when the cameraman accidentally pushes her out of the tree. He demands the tape from them, but Helen responds by dropping the tape down the front of her blouse and daring him to go get it. Bold grabs her by the waist, up-ends her and shakes her until the tape falls out. As he walks away, she warns him that she will ruin Frankie. He coolly replies that he's let the dogs out, and that they might want to get out of there.

Meanwhile, at the Hotel Grandeur, the manager is going through a last-minute inspection of the hotel staff, one of whom just happens to be the Doctor's girlfriend, Fai. One of the girls puts her hand on Fai's shoulder, and she winces in pain, explaining that she had a boil lanced. Soon, a young man who identifies himself as Detective Chow Kam arrives and asks to speak to Joyce, one of the young ladies on the service staff in private. Once out of view, Joyce kicks Chow, who we discover is also her boyfriend. She says that they should break up because she can't stand perpetually worrying about him getting killed (he was friends with the undercover cop killed by Fai), and accuses him of being more interested in his job than her. Chow tries to convince her she's wrong, but his police beeper goes off, and she runs out into the street. She finally hitches a ride with Fai and the Doctor, leaving the poor young man with his beeper. After they drop off Joyce, Fai tells the Doctor that Frankie Lone will be at the gala, meaning security will be that much tighter. He decides to send one of his henchmen to try to kill him before the event.

The next day finds Frankie doing reshoots and dubbing. He scolds the stunt doubles in the scene for being off their marks, and an unfortunate incident with a cockroach in the dubbing studio pisses him off even more. In the bathroom, he notices the man next to him, who seems to be urinating for several minutes straight. What he doesn't notice on his way out, however, is the pop-up mine left by him. Bold does, though, but it's too late. He forces Frankie to stand absolutely still while he finds a piece of wood. Once Bold dispatches the mine, he goes after the would-be assassin, who escapes only by throwing him in the path of an oncoming bus, which Bold barely gets out of the way of.

Finally, the big night arrives. As expected, Frankie, his dad and his manager Charlie Tso get in, but Bold is left to guard the car. To add insult to injury, Helen sees Bold getting refused admission and rubs it in, and then proceeds to smuggle in a video camera to capture more of Frankie's bad behavior, but he's very well behaved tonight.

Meanwhile, Bold is gassing up the car at a nearby gas station when he overhears a phone conversation in a nearby car. The driver says "A man must depend on himself" and hangs up, driving away. Bold's blood runs cold when he hears the phrase; it was the last thing the Doctor said to him before the bus exploded. Acting on instinct, he follows the car back to the Hotel Grandeur, but he can't seem to convince the hotel manager of the seriousness of the impending threat. After all, would you believe that you're in mortal danger if the man telling you this had never actually seen the person from which the danger will come and knew him only by his voice? He goes down the street to the police station down the street and tries to convince them. They're equally unimpressed, except one of the officers recognizes him and decides to trust his word. He sends Chow with him to check it out.

Shortly after Bold's exit, the Doctor and his team sweep in and take over the building with a massacre, complete with classical music and barefoot dancing while wielding a machete (courtesy of Fai). Bold and Chow return and interrogate the front desk clerk, with Bold clearly taking the lead and insisting that they be allowed to speak to the manager. As the "clerk" is taking them to see the manager, Bold sees the hastily hidden carnage reflected in one of the metal garbage cans, and points it out to Chow. Bold strikes first, but he disappears, leaving the other man vulnerable until he bursts into the front lobby with a car. Chow gets in--the hard way, launching himself through the rear window like an action star. He also finds out that there's a very good reason you shouldn't try to do what they do in the movies--glass shards in the leg hurt. They find themselves on the freight elevator headed directly for the Doctor.

At that same moment, the Doctor and the rest of his team consolidate their power by taking the guests hostage. Somehow Frankie manages to escape in the early moments, leaving behind his pants. He meets up with Fai, who pretends to be a helpless damsel in distress, leading him right to her partner, Kong--the man who tried to kill him earlier. It turns out that Bolo has a serious obsession with Frankie Lone, even fantasizing about kicking the action star's butt in combat. When Frankie ditches Fai after she is "taken hostage" by Kong, she is somewhat less than impressed. "Action star, my ass," she snarls.

The Doctor gets word that Bold and his partner are on the way up in the elevator. What isn't made clear is that it's the "freight" elevator, and they are caught with their pants down when the car roars out of it, taking out quite a few of them. The element of surprise is all that's needed, and Frankie's dad takes advantage of it, wresting a weapon away from one of the terrorists and threatening to shoot the hacker trying to deactivate the exhibit's security measures. The two lovers are reunited, and the tabloid reporter and her producer boast that they've been taping the entire thing. The Doctor says "A man must depend on himself," and once again, Bold freezes, realizing that he is face to face with the man who destroyed his life. He tries to kill him, but the attempt tips the scales back in the terrorists' favor, and they reassert themselves. Bold, Helen and Frankie's dad barely manage to escape.

On another floor of the hotel, there's an exhibit of poisonous reptiles. It's into this room that Helen runs, hiding the videotape underneath one of the display cases and hiding in the men's bathroom . Bolo comes in, checks himself out in the mirror and leaves. Helen attempts to escape, but discovers that Bolo has freed some of the snakes and is threatening to loose more of them if she doesn't tell him where the tape is. Suddenly, a ceiling panel pops out and Bold, Frankie and his dad appear, with Bold holding out his hand for her to grab. She does, and he hauls her up into the ceiling. Frankie tries to "console" her, but she slaps him and he finds himself dangling over the floor--and one very pissed-off lizard that decides to use his ass as a chew-toy.

Back at the jewelry exhibit, things are spiraling out of control. The Doctor is warning the police that if they don't meet his impossible demands, he will toss a hostage out the window to their death every ten minutes. Unbeknownst to the terrorists, Bold is in contact with Joyce through a PDA her boyfriend gave her as a gift.

Meanwhile Bold and his team are trying to formulate a strategy. Actually, Bold and Frankie's dad are; Frankie is doing his "Camille" act over his non-fatal bite, while Helen is curiously silent, poking gingerly at two evenly-spaced holes in her thigh. Their planning is interrupted by a thud as she hits the floor. Bold quickly deduces that she must have been bitten by one of the snakes. He sucks out as much of the venom as he can, then he decides to try and find the antivenim. He is successful, and she regains consciousness. Feeling guilty that he saved her life in spite of her treatment of him, she asks him why he did it, and he tells her about his wife. She remembers the videotape, and says that if they get it to the outside world, it won't matter if the Doctor escapes, because the world will finally know what he looks like. He leaves her with a pistol and sets off to retrieve the tape.

Matters still remain tense back at the exhibit. Frankie's manager Charlie Tso has just become the latest victim of the Doctor's cruelty, and Chow is almost the next one when he attempts to stand up for him.

Bold is ambushed in the reptile room by Kong's younger brother, Rabbit, and they fight to the death. Rabbit's death, naturally. Bold barely manages to retrieve the tape before Kong finds Rabbit's corpse and opens fire on him. A well-placed grenade knocks Bold out of a nearby window, but the police capture him, thinking he's one of the terrorists, but the officer who believed in him before is in charge and he orders them to release him. His trust of Bold, however, doesn't extend to letting him go back into the hotel to rescue his friends, and he is forces to steal a police helicopter at gunpoint. Before he takes off, he promises to turn himself in if he survives.

The Doctor intercepts the police band transmission about Bold, and sends his men up to the roof to ambush the helicopter. Joyce tries to relay the information on the PDA, but Fai catches her and tosses it away. It skids across the floor...right into the reporter's hands, and she warns Bold about the trap. Instead of landing on the roof, he rams the helicopter into the building at the same floor as the exhibit. In the chaos, everyone escapes, but the Doctor intercepts the tabloid reporter and decides to use her to play one last mind game with Bold.

In the chaos, Frankie and company run into Kong and Fai. Kong presents Frankie with a yellow jumpsuit identical to one that Frankie wore in one of his movies and informs him that he wants to fight him. Given their situation, he has no choice but to accept, It's only when Fai starts beating up on Frankie's dad that he finally gets the eye of the tiger again, and kills Kong. Fai is about to kill the rest of them, but Joyce squeezes her stab wound and her boyfriend blows her away.

Meanwhile, the endgame between Bold and the Doctor is just beginning. Bold finds Helen with a bomb strapped to her, and the Doctor taunts him to choose between taking revenge on him or saving the life of another loved one. Bolo's only response is to throw a dagger at the Doctor, striking him in the shoulder. The Doctor escapes, laughing. Bold turns his attention to disarming the bomb, despite Helen's pleas that he leave her and save himself. Once again, he finds himself confronted by the same copper wire that killed his wife, but this time he makes the right decision and leaves it intact, cutting the wire it's wrapped around instead. Instantly the bomb timer shuts down. A few seconds later, he gets a call from the Doctor, who has managed to escape and has called to gloat about his victory. Bold asks him if he's feeling cold. He realizes that he is, and it's now Bold's turn to gloat as he informs him that the dagger he threw at him was gilded with the same snake venom that nearly killed her, and that if he's really as far away as he claims he is, he's too far gone. And indeed he is. He takes a few more steps after hanging up with Bold, then drops to the ground, unable to move. Shortly before his death, a group of street toughs steal his wallet even as he pleads for their help.

The aftermath at the Hotel Grandeur. After only being open for business less than four hours, it's looking towards being closed for renovations for quite a while. Frankie is giving an interview, saying that the incident will be the basis for his next movie, and he gives credit to everyone for their courage--everyone except Bold. Bold doesn't seem to mind much, though; all he wants to do is sleep. Unfortunately, his friend, the officer in charge, has other plans for him--at least until he sees how bad off he is. He shrugs and decides that maybe this really doesn't have to be handled right now, and he offers them a ride back to Helen's apartment, where she has offered her bed to him--for rest, at first, but you can bet there may be something more going on. Noticing the cop seems to be smiling, she snaps at him, telling him to mind his own business.

Cast and characters

* Jet Li as Kit Li - Kit use to work for the police, but left the force after losing his wife and daughter in a bomb threat he thought he had diffused. He later became the personal body guard of Frankie and would even perform stunts for him when Frankie was inebriated. He is an expert martial artist and fights most of the major villains throughout most of the film.

* Jacky Cheung as Frankie Lone - Frankie was a famous and popular action movie star famous for doing all of his own stunts. In reality he was a very lazy and lecherous actor, often showing up drunk or trying to pick up women. Because of his constant slacking, he lost a lot of his edge, but reclaimed at the end of the movie when his dad was being beat up. His character is assumed to be a spoof of Jackie Chan and he fights similar to Bruce Lee. He even wears the yellow jump suit with the black trim during the film.

* Kelvin Wong as The Doctor - The Doctor is the criminal mastermind behind the terrorist activities. He planted the bonb that killed Kit's wife and son.

* Valerie Chow as Fai - The Doctor's stiletto-heel wearing, machete-wielding partner. Played by Valerie Chow.

* Billy Chow as Kong - One of the Doctor's henchmen. He is obsessed with Frankie Lone, even to the point of fantasizing about defeating him in a fight. Played by Billy Chow.

* Chingmy Yau as Helen - A tabloid reporter trying to make a name for herself by ruining Frankie Lone, if only Kit would stop trying to interfere. When he rescues her, she eventually falls in love with him. Played by Chingmy Yau.

* Charlie Yeung as Joyce - One of the girls working at the Hotel Grandeur. She is the reluctant girlfriend of rookie detective Chow Kam. Played by Charlie Yeung.

* Yang Chung-Hsieng as Det. Chow Kam - A rookie policeman who also happens to be Joyce's boyfriend--if he could ever put the job behind him for a minute. Played by Chung-Hsien Yang.

* Charlie Cho as Charlie Tso - Frankie Lone's manager. Killed by the Doctor when he is thrown off the balcony of the Hotel Grandeur. Played by Charlie Cho.

* Suki Kwan - Li's Wife
* Corey Yuen - Wai


Box Office

The film grossed a modest HK $11,403,790 in Hong Kong, where it was released as 鼠胆龍威 ("High Risk", "Rat's bravery and Dragon's might"), which parodies the title of "Die Hard" (虎膽龍威 "Tiger's bravery and Dragon's might") in Hong Kong.

The movie takes a cinematic swipe at Jackie Chan, with whom director Wong Jing had worked previously on the disastrous "City Hunter" live-action film. After its release, Chan not only disowned the film, but attacked Wong personally in the press. Through the character of Frankie Lone, Wong struck back by insinuating that Chan was actually a boozing womanizer and a fraud who didn't really do his own stunts after all--allegations that are patently false. The film offended Chan greatly and started a feud between he and one of the film's stars, Jet Li--a feud that would not end until Jet Li publicly apologized for his involvement. The two have since become friends, and later made "The Forbidden Kingdom", marking their first film together as lead actors.

External links

*imdb title|id=0114437|title=High Risk

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