Thunderbolt (1995 film)

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JCThunderbolt poster.jpg
Hong Kong film poster
Directed by Gordon Chan [1]
Produced byLam Chua
Written byGordon Chan
Chan Hing-Kai
Philip Kwok
Starring Jackie Chan
Anita Yuen
Michael Wong
Thorsten Nickel
Music byYang Bang Ean
Jackie Chan
Jack White
CinematographyChan Kwong-hung
Cheng Siu-Keung
Kwan Chi-kan
Ardy Lam
Lam Hung Chuen
Wong Wing-hung
Edited byChan Ki-hop
Cheung Ka-Fai
Peter Cheung
Ng Wang Hung
Distributed by Golden Harvest
Release date
  • 1 September 1995 (1995-09-01)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryHong Kong
Language Cantonese
Budget HK$30 million ( US$3.9 million)
Box officeUS$13.8 million

Thunderbolt (Chinese :霹靂火) (Piklik Foh) is a 1995 Hong Kong action sports film, starring Jackie Chan and directed by Gordon Chan. The action directors were Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung, and the action scenes were performed by the Jackie Chan Stunt Team. [2] In early North American releases, the film was known as Dead Heat.


Thunderbolt is set around the world of auto racing. The film is multilingual; characters speak Cantonese, English and Japanese interchangeably.


Chan Foh To is a junkyard mechanic and a part-time race car driver who helps the Hong Kong Police Force in their crackdown on illegal street racing in the country. One night, while helping news reporter Amy Yip and Mr. Lam after their Mitsubishi FTO runs out of gasoline, Chan commandeers the car with Amy inside to chase after a speeding black Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 driven by the dangerous criminal driver Warner "Cougar" Kaugman. In the high speed car chase's climax, Chan traps Cougar in a police roadblock and has him apprehended. However, due to a lack of evidence and a warrant for arrest, Cougar is immediately released from police custody. Chan continues to be harassed by Amy, who wants to do a cover story of him.

After Chan fends off against Cougar's thugs at his junkyard, Cougar is once again arrested when Chan provides a false testimony under the guidance of Interpol agent Steve Cannon. However, Cougar's thugs raid the police station and spring him out of jail. The thugs kill all but Cannon, who kills Cougar's girlfriend before they get away. Cougar then destroys the junkyard and injures Chan's father Chun Tung before taking his younger sisters Dai Mui and Sai Mui hostage to force Chan to race him in Japan.

Chan and his racing team build him a yellow Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III race car and prepare for his upcoming race, receiving permission from the police to drive it on the expressway. They arrive in Japan, where Chan storms into and destroys a pachinko hall owned by a yakuza gang before Cougar allows Dai Mui to reunite with her brother. Chan makes the starting grid at Sendai Hi-Land Raceway, but his car is destroyed in a collision. Feeling sympathy for Chan, Miss Kenya, the daughter of a Mitsubishi Motors executive, supplies him with two brand-new white Mitsubishi GTO race cars and a supply of Advan tires for the race.

Chan starts at the back of the field, but muscles his way toward the front, despite a 30-second pit penalty and other distractions caused by Amy. He approaches and battles Cougar for the lead. During the final lap, both cars slide off the track into the gravel pit, facing each other as they struggle to get back on the road. Cougar gets out first, but Chan floors it in reverse before both cars cross the line in a photo finish. Chan wins the race during the spin back forward when his front end touches the finish line first. Cougar attempts to flee from the police, but Chan chases him around the circuit before sending him crashing violently off the track. Chan pulls Cougar out of the burning wreckage for the police to arrest him, and Cannon reveals that he and his team rescued Sai Mui. He then reconciles with Amy and kisses her.



Filming took place on several race track locations, including Japan's Sendai Hi-Land Raceway and the Batu Tiga Circuit in Shah Alam, Malaysia.[ citation needed ] Variety estimated the budget at almost HK$30 million [1] ( US$3.9 million). [3]

Because Jackie had injured his leg during the shooting of Rumble in the Bronx , he was unable to perform some of the stunts. During the fight-scene at the pachinko hall in Japan, he was forced to use a stunt double for the wide-angle shots.

Box office

In Hong Kong, Thunderbolt grossed HK$46 million during its theatrical run. [4] This was equivalent to US$6 million. [3] [1] It premiered during a slump in Hong Kong cinema and, according to Variety , it and Rumble in the Bronx were "more than one-sixth of the combined gross of Hong Kong movies through the end of August." [5]

Overseas, the film grossed NT$ 3,115,000 (US$1,402,000) in Taiwan. [6] [7] In Japan, it grossed ¥334 million [8] (US$3.55 million). [9] In South Korea, the film sold 521,121 tickets and grossed US$2.81 million. [10] Combined, the film grossed a total of US$13.762 million in East Asia.

Critical reception

Derek Elley of Variety called it light on plot but full of memorable stunts. [1] Micah Wright of The Cheat Sheet noted similarities to the later Fast & Furious franchise which debuted in 2001, and suggested that Thunderbolt may have inspired the Fast & Furious franchise. [11]

Awards and nominations

See also

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