Review: MR. NICE GUY 一個好人 (1997) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Review: MR. NICE GUY 一個好人 (1997)

Review: MR. NICE GUY 一個好人 (1997)

Jackie Chan plays a TV chef named (what else?) Jackie, who's an ordinary nice guy happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. While on the way back home, a television journalist Diana (Gabrielle Fitzpatrick) coincidentally runs into him while being pursued by a gang of armed mobs. Apparently, Diana and her partner have involved in recording the footage of a cocaine deal gone wrong between the Italian mob lead by Giancarlo (Richard Norton) and a street gang known as the Demons. Giancarlo orders his men to get the tape back at all cost. But Diana is lucky enough to stumble upon Jackie, who happens to be some sort of a martial art master (don't ask, it's a Jackie Chan movie after all!) and he manages to help her to stop the pursuers. However, that is the only beginning, when Diana discovers she has accidentally switched the tape of the cocaine trade with one of Jackie's cooking videos from a box of tapes. It gets worse when the gang of mob manages to track down Diana's whereabouts and subsequently gets Jackie involved as well. What happens next, well, if you have seen RUMBLE IN THE BRONX or anything else like it, it's pretty much the same old stuff.

REVIEW: RUMBLE IN THE BRONX (1995) revisited, with the location shifted from New York to Melbourne, Australia and instead of playing a Hong Kong cop minding his own business when he gets unexpectedly involved with thugs and high-profile gangsters, Jackie Chan plays an everyman minding his own business... you get the drill. Basically everything in Sammo Hung-directed MR. NICE GUY pitches the same formula that you've come to expect from a Jackie Chan movie -- high on action, low on plot and perfunctory characters.

Edward Tang and Fibe Ma's screenplay (who also coincidentally wrote RUMBLE IN THE BRONX) is strictly by-the-numbers. The plot is as wafer-thin as it goes, because what matters the most is a series of nonstop action. From that particular viewpoint, it manages to deliver some worthwhile entertainment. Even though most of the action is nothing innovative or particularly special, at least die-hard fans will be glad that there are still plenty of Jackie Chan's trademark stunts as usual. Likewise, the fight scenes are well-choreographed with a particular standout being the one involving Chan squaring off against a gang of mobs in the construction building. The big action finale, which involves Chan driving a gigantic truck through the mob's mansion is basically a carbon copy of RUMBLE IN THE BRONX-like finale (except that one Chan uses hovercraft).

Sammo Hung's (who also cameo as a bike messenger) direction is pedestrian, but at least he manages to sustain a fair amount of entertainment to keep the viewers occupied. The acting are all average, with Chan playing the same old everyman character we have seen many times before. Richard Norton's role is nothing more than a typical bad-guy caricature, while all the actresses are basically playing damsel-in-distress waiting to get rescued or spends the time shouting for help. But of all, at least former Australian model-turned-TV actress Gabrielle Fitzpatrick proves to be quite a sport. In one scene, she manages to fend off the mob by unbuttoned her jacket and reveals her lingerie in front of the public, before she makes her run.

Despite its formulaic structure, MR. NICE GUY manages to find a sizable audience during its Chinese New Year release and grossed an amazing HK$45.4 million at the box office. The movie also earned a nod for Best Action Choreography (lost to Stephen Tung in DOWNTOWN TORPEDOES). Popular singer Emil Chau had a brief cameo as an ice cream vendor, which can be seen earlier in the movie.

Sammo Hung's MR. NICE GUY is a formulaic action comedy complete with perfunctory characters and cliched-ridden plot but still entertains with a fair amount of Jackie Chan's acrobatic stunts.

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