Hong Kong film poster
|Directed by||Gordon Chan|
|Produced by||Lam Chua|
|Written by||Gordon Chan|
|Music by||Yang Bang Ean|
Lam Hung Chuen
|Edited by||Chan Ki-hop|
Ng Wang Hung
|Distributed by||Golden Harvest|
|Box office||US$11.43 million|
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.
- Jackie Chan as Chan Foh To / Feng Jim / (Alfred Tung in the U.S. version) (doubled by Chin Kar Lok, Collin Chou and Sam Wong)
- Anita Yuen as Amy Yip / (Amy Ip in the U.S. version)
- Michael Wong as Steve Cannon
- Thorsten Nickel as Warner "Cougar" Krugman
- Rebecca Penrose as Cougar's Girlfriend
- Chor Yuen as Uncle Chan Chun Tung, Foh's father (Alfred's father in the U.S. version) (as Chor Yun)
- Wu Oi-Yan as Dai Mui (Daphne in US version) (as Daisy Wu Oi-Yan)
- Annie Man as Sai Mui / Xiao Wei (Sammi in the U.S. version) (as Man Chung-Han)
- Yūzō Kayama as Coach Murakami
- Kenya Sawada as Saw
- Ken Lo as Kong (as Low Houi Kang)
- Dayo Wong as Mr. Lam (as Wong Tze-Wah)
- Chin Kar-lok as Mirakami's assistant (Ka Lok Chin in the U.S. version) (Chin Ka-Lok in the German version)
- Corey Yuen as The Doctor (Corey Yen in the U.S. version) (Cory Yuen in the German version)
- Marie Eguro as Miss Kenya
- Yung Kam-Cheong as Mechanic Cheong (as Peter Yung Kam-Cheong)
- William Tuen as Koo / Ku / Saw's thug
- Bruce Law as Bruce (as Bruce Law Lai Yin)
- Patrick Han as John
- Joseph Cheung as Traffic Officer Joe
- Lam Wai-Kong as Inspector Cheung (Joe in the U.S. version)
Filming took place on several race track locations, including Japan's Sendai Hi-Land Raceway and the Batu Tiga Circuit in Shah Alam, Malaysia. Variety estimated the budget at almost HK$30 million (US$3.86 million).
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.
In Hong Kong, Thunderbolt grossed HK$46 million during its theatrical run. This was equivalent to US$6 million. 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."
Overseas, the film grossed NT$37,115,000 (US$1.25 million) in Taiwan. In Japan, the film grossed ¥334 million (US$4.19 million) at the box office. Combined, the film grossed a total of US$11.43 million in East Asia.
Derek Elley of Variety called it light on plot but full of memorable stunts. Micah Wright of The Cheat Sheet noted similarities to the later Fast & Furious franchise which debuted in 2001, and suggested that Thunderbolt may have inspired the Fast & Furious franchise.
Awards and nominations
- 1995 Golden Horse Film Festival
- Winner: Best Action Direction (Corey Yuen)
- 1996 Hong Kong Film Awards
- Nomination: Best Action Choreography
- Elley, Derek (16 May 1996). "Review: 'Thunderbolt'". Variety. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
- "Jackie Chan timeline". The Hollywood Reporter. 27 October 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
- "Official exchange rate (LCU per US$, period average) - Hong Kong SAR". World Bank. 1995. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
- "Auds give thumbs down to Canton-language pix". Variety. 10 December 1995. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
- "1995 Taiwan Box Office". National Chengchi University. 19 February 2001. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
- "【ジャッキーチェン興行成績】 第12回：日本での興行収入". KungFu Tube (in Japanese). Retrieved 6 December 2018.
- Wright, Micah (1 April 2016). "9 Kick-Ass Cars Driven by Jackie Chan". The Cheat Sheet. The Daily Beast.