Meltdown [DVD]

Release Date: May 10, 2004
Studio: UCA
Actors: Jet Li, Jacky Cheung, Chingmy Yau, Charlie Yeung, Kelvin Wong
Directors: Jing Wong, Wai-Lun Lam
Runtime: 97 minutes

Jet Li can always be relied upon when it comes to action movies, and Meltdown is no exception. No surprises with the story line: Kit Li witnesses his wife blown up in a gangster attack masterminded by the nefarious Doctor, only to be confronted by the same "no risk, no reward" gangster two years later, now aiming to steal the Russian crown jewels from a hotel complex. The shadow of Die Hard falls heavily across the action, with its skyscraper stunts and marauding helicopter, given an appropriate twist by the high-velocity martial-arts sequences and director Wong Jing's stylish take on the high-tech metropolis that is Hong Kong. Jackie Cheung adds a comic element as Frankie Lane, the action-movie star seemingly past his sell-by date, and Kwan Sau Mei's Doctor is the epitome of suave nastiness.

On the DVD: Meltdown on disc has a 1.85:1 widescreen picture that reproduces the plethora of monochrome conference rooms and exploding glass panels with dizzying clarity. This release comes ready dubbed into English--don't check the synchronisation too often and you'll hardly notice--with subtitles in 12 languages. The photo gallery is enlivened with Jet Li trivia, while the filmographies are unusually frank about the commercial nature of the Hong Kong film industry in general and Wong Jing's contribution in particular. But done with this degree of panache, films such as Meltdown are never less than 110# entertainment. --Richard Whitehouse