Thunderbolt is a Jackie Chan outing that never quite finds it place. Direction is all over the place, the tone is inconsistent, and Jackie is regularly replaced with an obvious stunt double due to injury. The fights have the typical energy, though little of the charm.
The plot is a mess. While you'll rarely be joining Chan on his latest adventure for a deep message, little is explained here. For whatever reason, Chan is in with the police, yet the connection is never revealed. Apparently the audience is supposed to accept it. The character is developed through his sisters who he will rightfully defend at any cost.
Gordon Chan directs, over-utilizing a slow motion effect that destroys multiple scenes. An important sequence has Jackie Chan's character in a fight for his life as his home is literally ripped from its base and swing around by a giant crane.
It's a technical feat and for the generally low budgets of Hong Kong action films, this is an amazing set piece. Unfortunately, everything is shown at half-speed and blurred on top of it. It never seems to end and becomes boring long before it has a chance to become gripping.
The same can be said for the illogical finale, a race set up so that Chan must win for the enemy to release one of his sisters. Again, this scene never wants to end. A few mega-crashes look incredible on film. For the most part though, the majority is a standard race shot from a few different angles. With the star attraction, you expect to see punches, not pit stops.
Fights disappoint too. As usual, there are a few fantastic concepts. A pachinko parlor rumble serves as the best of the lot, but again, the director uses close-ups, slow motion, and awkward angles to capture it. At times it's impossible to tell who or what you're watching.