Mr. Nice Guy (1997)

This is a classic Jackie Chan film directed by Sammo Hung, a combination of these two always produces a top quality production. The movie is packed with action, comedy and daring stunts. Written by Fibe Ma and Edward Tang.

Trailer

Cast

Jackie plays the role of a friendly Chinese TV chef called ‘Jackie’ who also knows how to pack a punch. When he’s not performing for a live TV audience a persistent investigative journalist Diana – played by fiery redhead Gabrielle Fitzpatrick – drags him into all sorts of trouble with all the wrong people. Richard Norton takes on the character of Giancarlo, a gangster who loves to sell cocaine and bury women alive. The supporting cast may not be so well known but the dynamic fight scenes in the film more than make up for the goofy side characters. We are fortunate to see Sammo Hung in the film; he makes a brief cameo as a cyclist out for revenge.

Plot

Hungry for a story Diana and her cameraman stake out a drug deal between a nefarious gang and Giancarlo’s mob. When the transaction turns sour, bullets start to fly exposing Diana and her cameraman. When her cameraman is captured by the mob, Diana makes a hasty escape with incriminating taped evidence.

Meanwhile Jackie just finishes his show and makes his way home when Diana bumps into him (literally!) with a trail of henchmen hot on her heels. Being the nice guy that he is, Jackie helps the damsel in distress escape from her pursuers.  During the escape the tape gets switched with one of Jackie’s cooking show tapes. Now the demon gang and Giancarlo’s mob are on a mission to retrieve it at all costs -the one thing they didn’t count on though was this Mr. Nice Guy fighting back.

 

Action

The action scenes in this film are filled with comedy and slapstick humour but what else would you expect with Sammo and Jackie together? The fight choreography is simply brilliant; utilising the sets and props in every combat scene, for Jackie this means everything becomes a weapon including his clothes. The fight scene at the building site is a great example of this. Jackie is always fighting backwards trying to gain distance between himself and his attackers and he does so by turning a cement mixer, cable ties and far more into defensive weapons.

My favourite action/fight scene in the film is when Jackie finds himself in a maze of doors. It reminds me of the Honeycomb Maze from the game show “Takeshi’s Castle”. The fights are hysterical, I mean who would’ve thought you could turn a door into a weapon?  It’s almost like a scene out of Scooby Doo as we have our protagonist repeatedly opening doors to be faced again and again by his pursuers!

The stunts remind me of a Buster Keaton picture in the way that they look like they were done accidentally. But, the truth is, it takes time and practice to accomplish that style as evidenced in the end credits and outtakes. One scene in particular that demonstrates a Keaton-esque style is towards the end of the film where Jackie is faced with his biggest challenge yet, a monster mining truck! Jackie performs multiple stunts around this beast of all trucks as his main apparatus. As a viewer you’re left biting your nails on the edge of your seat, as you can sense the perilous dangers are quite real despite having a team of professionals watching his every move.

The final fight, aka the ‘boss scene’ was not what I expected. I was hoping for a one-on-one all-out brawl but what we’re treated to is much better. Giancarlo has Jackie’s limbs tied up with his henchmen controlling and limiting his movements like a puppet. Even with his reach restricted our nice guy manages to land a few punches and even turn the tables on Giancarlo (as you’ll see!) I would’ve liked this fight to play out a little longer perhaps but, all in all it was an unusual fight scene that worked.

Summary

This film will tickle your funny bone and have you acting out fight scenes with the person next to you. Although it is rated PG and features drugs I would say this one is fine to watch with your kids. I remember being nine years old and taking this film to my friend’s house where we would watch it then break out into combat, arguing over who would play Jackie Chan!

Okay, so the acting isn’t exactly stellar, and if it wasn’t for the brilliant fight choreography and wildly entertaining stunts, this would’ve been a straight to TV film. But you know what to expect looking at the DVD front cover and movie poster; you know if the film has Jackie Chan as its lead character, you’re in for a roller coaster ride, jam-packed to the rafters with a symphony of well-orchestrated action.

“Mr. Nice Guy” does what it says on the tin, he’s the nice guy you don’t want to get tangled up with because it’ll only get messy if you do. Sure, there’s no sophisticated plot but let’s face it if you’re a Chan fan you’re really in it for the action -so go ahead, add this one to your watch list.

Trivia

  • Because of the mess that was left behind (from the demolished house), the production company was barred from filming in that part of Australia again.
  • Whole scenes from Mr. Nice Guy, were copied almost frame by frame in the Bollywood movie “Baadshah” other Hollywood movies like “Rush Hour” and “The Mask” got similar treatment with the results turning out to be just good fun.
  • Jackie Chanhad to learn how to cook professionally to give his television chef character a more realistic appearance.

Film Rating: 7/10

Kiays Khalil grew up in the 90's along with a boldly emerging new era of great martial arts action films. The second eldest of six children, his passion for the arts began with karate classes as a child. His curiosity grew as he moved through to study jiu jitsu and wing chun. Now he boxes with his three brothers at his local amateur boxing club. He has experience reporting on sensitive subjects from the Middle East and the Gulf. He now combines ambition and aspiration in his role as a martial arts journalist and is keen to share his knowledge and journey with people from all corners of the globe.

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