Mr. Nice Guy
(Yatgo ho yan) (1997)
Directed by Sammo Hung

Artistic Value: * *
Entertainment Value: * * *

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After a reporter filming two groups of gangsters engaging in a transaction involving illegal drugs is seen by her subjects, she is chased by them through the streets of Melbourne. Fortunately, she is rescued by a television chef (Jackie Chan) who stumbles upon the scene. In the struggle that ensues, however, he accidently acquires the videotape showing the drug transaction, which leads to numerous complications

Mr. Nice Guy includes many of the elements common to Jackie Chan's films and is about as enjoyable as are most of the actor's other efforts. There are numerous action sequences, inept actors, a helpless girlfriend, dreadful attempts at humor, and an arbitrary, nonsensical, and nearly completely absent story whose sole purpose is to provide excuses for the elaborately choreographed fights.


Despite the presence of such flaws, Mr. Nice Guy is actually frequently entertaining. Jackie Chan is likeable, as always, and his skill at performing complex action sequences is amazing. He gives the movie an energy and and enjoyableness it could never have had without him. In fact, his friends and enemies are such silly caricatures and the story told is so completely unengaging that, except for Chan's fight scenes, the movie is utterly abysmal. It is hard to believe anyone would view the moments between those scenes as anything more than interruptions. In a strange way, however, such faults really make little difference to the film's quality. The action sequences are, in the end, the only ones that matter when judging the movie.


Whatever its weaknesses, and they are many, Mr. Nice Guy is fun to watch. Those persons who can ignore its flaws and concentrate on the action scenes will, most likely, enjoy the film. Those who cannot will probably find it unwatchable.

Review by Keith Allen

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