Thursday, 10 September 2009

Mr Nice Guy

MR NICE GUY (1997)

Directed by: Sammo Hung
Screenplay: Fibe Ma & Edward Tang
Starring: Jackie Chan, Miki Lee & Richard Norton

No exactly a Chan classic but a whole lot more fun than a lot of his American product, Mr Nice Guy features lots of zany action and acrobatics and Chan running around like a mad man. Released just as he was hitting it big in the Western world with Rumble in the Bronx storming the box office, Mr Nice Guy is a very Westernized Chan adventure but retains enough Eastern flavoured action and mayhem to make it worth a watch.

Subtle it ain’t as Chan basically plays himself, albeit he is now a famous TV chef as well a martial arts master and Buster Keaton styled slapstick clown. Living in Australia he somehow manages, after much plot convolution and characters shouting a lot, to get caught with an incriminating video tape that a local gang boss wants back. This leads to loads of running about for the Chan man, a bevy of beauties in tow (a staple of his 1990s films) and crazy set pieces galore. Brash, a little obnoxious and with too many loud characters, Mr Nice Guy makes up for its roll-your-eyes short comings with non stop energy and inventive action. Directed by long time cohort Sammo Hung, the action and fights may not be the most intricate or fierce (this is more family orientated Jackie and Sammo) but is still creative and zippy. We get crazy set-pieces like the chase/fight on a runaway horse and carriage; an excellent and visually funny fight on a construction site and the completely bonkers finally where Chan drives the biggest Tonka truck you’ve ever seen through a giant glass windowed mansion. What!!??

The tone shifts all over the place from sweet to silly to even somewhat violent at times, but Chan manages to keep everything just on track. He gets to face off against the great Richard Norton again (after their previous onscreen fight in City Hunter) and the flick rarely stops for you to realize just how ludicrous it all is.

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