Directed By: Benny Chan
Written by: Benny Chan, Jackie Chan, and Alan Yuen
Produced by: Benny Chan, Jackie Chan, Willie Chan, Solon So and Wang Zhonglei
Cast: Jackie Chan, Louis Koo, Michael Hui, Charlene Choi, Gao Yuanyuan, Yuen Biao and Cherrie Ying
Three master burglars are told to kidnap the baby of a wealthy family to exchange for large sums of money. Matters become complicated when the burglars start to get emotionally attached to the baby.
Rob-B-Hood is a bit of an overlooked film among Jackie Chan fans. It is a great film because it has elements we love from Jackie Chan films: great comedy and Jackie’s trademark action style; but Rob-B-Hood delivers this while giving a good emotional story and with a good amount of character development. Two aspects, you don’t tend to associate with Jackie Chan films. Jackie Chan films have always been about the action foremost, so Rob-B-Hood is the rare Jackie Chan film that excels in both aspects. The stronger writing was probably Jackie Chan’s desire to play a different type of character from the ones he usually plays. People in the West probably have a hard time accepting that Jackie Chan can give a really good performance due to how lackluster his performances tend to be in his American films. But, I would say that’s due to his limited ability in the English language; in some of Jackie’s Chinese films, he has given pretty good performances.In Rob-B-Hood, Jackie tries to shed his ”nice guy persona” by playing a man with a gambling problem. Thong has pretty big characters flaws he needs to work on. Don’t worry, this Jackie character isn’t totally alien, he still possesses some of the trademark Jackie Chan charm; a charm that comes out during the action scenes.
The other two leads deal with similar persona problems as well. But what makes the character development solid and tight, it’s connected to the central plot of them taking care of the baby. It doesn’t feel disjointed or tacked on to gain tasteless sympathy from the audience. All of the antics created from their predicament aren’t just meant for jokes but also for creating change within the characters. It makes their connection to the baby so more profound. In similar films with babies, the baby is almost like a plot device, but Rob-B-Hood nicely sidesteps this. The other two leads maintain a good chemistry with Jackie’s character to produce a nice showcase of friendship. Rob-B-Hood‘s comedy includes baby piss jokes but who wasn’t expecting that? Like nearly all Jackie Chan the action is blended well with the comedy. One comedic scene that was in the apartment might have been a self-homage from another Jackie film: Project A 2. Yuen Biao’s presence in the scene (a famous Jackie Chan co-star from the past) certainly helps this feeling. If, there is any criticisms I can convey about Rob-B-Hood is the forced romantic subplot that Jackie’s character has with an actress young enough to be his daughter.It’s slightly creepy and totally unnecessary. The villain’s motive although really irrational is strangely tragic and oddly sympathetic; it makes the villain more than a simple greedy goon. The climax is an emotional one that manages to hit all of the right notes.
Rob-B-Hood is good enough that you won’t be bothered by the sight of dirty diapers in the film!