I've never seen a ladder used that way before.

Or a broom, or a stand-up mirror, or a foam animal suit for that matter.

Basically, I saw a bunch of stuff I ain't never seen before in a movie, and that's always a good thing. Unless it involves giblets.

The movie is Jackie Chan's First Strike. Right there you know, when your name is in the title of the movie, you've either created a huge world-wide following or your William Shakespeare.

Jackie ain't never written no Hamlet.

This movie has been billed as the first time that Jackie fights for America. Well...no. Actually, the first time he fought for America was when he played a New York cop with Danny Aiello in The Protector. And he doesn't actually fight for America this time anyway. In fact, the only time America is even mentioned is when we learn somebody works for the CIA, and I think some of the props might have been made in the USA.

What they really mean by those ads is that this is the first time American money has funded one of his movies.

They story, oh man, keep up with me on this, okay? Basically, Jackie flies to Russia to keep an eye on a suspect, then he's supposed to turn his notes over to the authorities and go on vacation. Instead, the suspect escapes and he tails her from the airport to a ski resort, across the open snow to an abandoned shack and then over to a frozen lake via an exploding helicopter. All of the time in nothing more than a T-shirt in which he is freezing his ass off.

With me so far?

Because then he sneaks into Australia and the real story begins. Basically, Jackie, runs around in and out of a steady stream of bullets like the little monkey he is. Eventually, the movie runs out of money and the story ends. Oh, and for you purists, it's really just the fourth movie in his Police Story saga.

How you doing?

Basically, story is insignificant to the action. And again, as always, there is the added rush with the realization that Jackie does all his own stunts. So if you see his character drop 50 feet into a frozen lake, you know he did it himself. And if you don't believe it, you can watch the gruesome out-takes at the end of the film.

I hear no insurance company will underwrite a Jackie Chan film. I wonder why.

Oh yeah, this movie is dubbed. Not that you really notice, there isn't a whole lot that anyone says. Except maybe "Uhng!" But even then, when you hear "Uhng!" the character mouths something that looks kinda like "Vlibit!" and you can't help but wonder what in God's name "Vlibit!" means.

Jackie plays a character named, get this, Jackie. What does he think he's doing? An American sit-com? Someone needs to tell him that you can't play a character with your own name unless you're a stand-up comic with your own series. Let him toil on the Vegas circuit like Paul Rieser or Jerry Seinfeld and then he can name himself Jackie!

Purists of The Self-Made Critic will remember an early August review of Jackie's last American movie, Supercop. You will also probably remember the back-lash of racist comments hurled at Mr. Selfmade for his poor attempt at Asian humor. You may remember the court case which followed, and I'm hoping you don't remember how the key plaintiff mysteriously died in a freak blimp accident. Anyway, I gave that movie 3 1/4 Babylons. And you know what? As good as this movie is, it's not quite as good as Supercop, so I'm giving it 3 3/4 Babylons. Not because I'm an ignorant fool, but because I realize that I didn't rate Supercop high enough.

The one thing this movie lacks is a kiss-ass chick. See, Supercop has this great chick who is just as whoopass as Jackie. This movie doesn't. In fact, this movie's chick is kinda a wimp. But don't tell her I said that, because just to get into a Jackie Chan movie you have to bench press three times your weight, know Karate, Judo, Tai Chi, Tai Iced Tea and be able to locate Thailand on a globe. And that's just if you want to be an extra!

So to sum: (Why do my Jackie Chan reviews always get so strung out?)

Jackie Chan's First Strike. Good action film. Bad 2 1/2 hour Andrew Lloyd Weber Epic Musical. 3 3/4 Babylons.

That'll do pig. That'll do.