Ride On Pays Tribute to Western Films

Carly Johnson, Staff writer

In “Ride On,” Jackie Chan plays an overlooked stuntman in an odd action drama about an experienced rider attempting to mount a comeback with the help of his favorite horse Red Hare. Chan plays Luo Zhilong, a talented and kind bystander who has been ignored and dropped by Hollywood. In the film almost no one in the film industry remembers Luo, except for the rising stars who he helped along the way. The circled bags under Chan’s eyes show that Luo could use some mutuality; he gets some, but it’s not what he really needs. “Ride On” is a timid mourning to the old days of filmmaking and an incredible comedy about an older actor and his distant daughter. There is a lot of emotional baggage attached to “Ride On,” and barely any of it is unraveled. You can see the best version of Chan in Luo, a deadbeat dad who lives in a loft above his horse’s dirty stable. Luo fights to keep Red Hare, first when a local debt collector Dami (Andy On) tries to take the horse as collateral, and then two members of the DY Capital business try to claim Red Hare as part of their boss’ property, following a messy lawsuit involving Red Hare’s previous owner (not in this film). Red Hare also takes viewers’ attention away from Luo’s struggle to make contact with his college-aged daughter Bao (Liu Haocun), who asks her lawyer boyfriend Mickey (Kevin Guo) to represent her father—and his horse—in court. Luo, who has a cautious personality, conveys himself through his work. After a video of Luo fighting Dami and the others goes viral on the internet, some job possibilities appear. Luo is at least somewhat touching thanks to Chan’s presence and well-honed clowning, as well as a camera-ready horse (or horses). But Luo is more persuasive as a cranky outlet for Jackie Chan’s frustration, as when he drunkenly brags about his job accomplishments to Mickey’s wealthy parents, Donald and Daisy. In addition, Chan takes the time to point out other filmmakers who, in their constant effort to stay on budget and on schedule. Back in Chan’s day, filmmaking was different. As we see in a few uninteresting but vital flashbacks including a younger Bao and Jackie, I mean Luo, he now appears to understand that the past wasn’t so great for everyone. On Rotten Tomatoes the Tomatometer was set at 57% and the audience score was at 81%. I liked this movie and thought it was great. I like the fact it was an action movie yet emotional and meaningful. I’d give it an 8 ½ out of 10 and would recommend this film to others.