City Hunter

At least to me City Hunter is an acquired taste. The first time I saw it I was so taken aback by what an incredibly silly film it is that I was flabbergasted.  For some reason though I watched it again and enjoyed it more and then another time and began getting a kick out of this film. It certainly doesn’t rank with Jackie Chan’s best films – but it has a number of charming elements and a few well-choreographed action scenes. It is directed by Wong Jing and in a sense it is more his film than Jackies - as it is filled from top to bottom with assorted facial mugging and cleavage jokes.
It is based on a Japanese manga and Chan’s character is Ryu Saeba a private investigator. The film reflects its manga roots by utilizing bright colors, fantasy sequences, curvaceous women, exaggerated action and cartoonish slapstick comedy.  Nearly all the comedy is physical in nature – pratfalls, funny faces – similar to that of the silent movie days.
The opening scene is a bit off-putting as Jackie explains that he was a partner with Michael Wong, but Wong is killed and in his last words asks Jackie to take care of his little girl, Kaori. The whole scene is done in an absurd – unreal – almost Busby Berkely surrealistic style that signals to the audience not to take anything seriously in this film – not even the killing of your partner. The girl quickly grows up (in a matter of seconds on the screen) to be the fetching Joey Wong who becomes Jackie’s girl Friday. Joey is very much in love with Jackie – but sticking with one girl is not City Hunter’s style – he is a lady’s man to the end.
A rich Japanese industrialist hires Jackie to look for his runaway daughter – Kumiko Goto. Kumiko is apparently a fine gymnast off the screen and performs a number of her own stunts.   This search leads to a wonderful skateboard chase through the streets of HK as Jackie both dodges cars and jumps over them.
Both Kaori – in a snit at Jackie – and Kumiko end up on a cruise ship and Jacky is not far behind them. Among the other passengers are the stunning Chingmy – also a private detective – and her top-heavy assistant.  Nearly the first half of the film is completely comedy – with the skateboard chase being the only exception. Then the film kicks into high gear for the second half as a large group of thieves attempt to take over the boat to kidnap thirty billionaires on board – everyone else though is very expendable.
The action is great fun – again very cartoonish for the most part – though quite violent – and some of the set pieces are very clever. Jackie’s fight with the two black giants while in the background Bruce Lee’s fight with Abdul Karem Jabber plays on the screen; the scene in which he and Gary Daniels take on the persona of video game characters (though I hate this bit myself); Jackie’s swing dance with Chingmy as she guns down the opposition and then the final fight against Richard Norton. These are all done tongue in cheek, as is nearly the entire film.
Jackie or perhaps Wong Jing leave lots of room for the other characters to have some nice moments. Kumiko has a great gymnastic scene high above the ship, Leon Lai is a professional gambler who is literally deadly with a deck of cards, Joey has a very funny scene with Gary Daniels and Chingmy is just sizzling hot and very deadly. Among the baddies is also a slightly fey Ken Lo and look for an early appearance of Eric Kot and Jan Lam.
Leon Lai and Chingmy
If you go into this film with the right frame of mind – that there is nothing serious in this film – just enjoy the beautiful women, shrug off the corny comedy and appreciate the action – this film can be a guilty pleasure.

My rating for this film: 7.5

For a few more pictures from the film, click here.