Substandard CGI is one of the biggest recurring bugbears audiences have with big budget blockbusters, and it was one of the many implements used to bludgeon The Flash to death as the DCU’s multiversal epic ended up as one of the biggest box office bombs of all-time. For whatever reasons, though, Netflix’s Hidden Strike is getting a pass in spite of its woeful visual effects.
Having spent five years sitting on the shelf after being shot in 2018, the buddy caper starring John Cena and Jackie Chan seemed destined to be left gathering dust forevermore, until Netflix swooped in to pick up the distribution rights in what’s already proven to be a masterstroke.
Despite carrying the unwanted distinction of a big fat zero percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing, the Chinese production has nonetheless conspired to become the single biggest feature-length hit on the entire platform after debuting at number one in 54 countries.
There’s an element of car crash viewing to witnessing Hidden Strike unfold with its terrible dialogue, forced banter, and wondrously unconvincing VFX, with the scene that introduces Cena’s character in particular packing some of the most laughably unconvincing backdrops you’re ever likely to see in a major motion picture.
The entire third act suffers a very similar fate, with pixelated carnage that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the early-2000s stating a solid case as to why nobody in China deemed Hidden Strike worthy of a theatrical rollout. Subscribers can’t seem to get enough, to be fair, with Netflix stumbling onto a winner by taking a chance on a film that by all accounts looked to be doomed up until very recently.