Martial Arts
City Hunter
Dir: Jing Wong
Star: Jackie Chan, Chingmy Yau, Joey Wong, Richard Norton, Gary Daniels
Cert / Year: 12 / 1992
Format: DVD R2

City Hunter is irresistible to women, undefeated in combat, and nice to his mother. Well that what he says anyway.

Ryo Saeba (Jackie Chan) is the private eye and all round hero City Hunter, and he hasn't had his lunch. Both he and his disaster prone assistant Kaori (Joey Wong) are recruited to find Shizuko Imamura (Kumiko Goto), the runaway daughter of a newspaper tycoon. The search leads to a ocean liner, which, unfortunately for all involved, is about to be hijacked by ex US Army Col. MacDonald (Richard Norton) and his rent-a-mob terrorists (Die Hard here we come). In amongst blatant, if unsucessful womanising, and his quest for food it is up to Ryo to save the day. With only the help of the glamorous special agent Saeko Nogami (Chingmy Yau), and a deadly card throwing gambler Tramp Kao Ta he has to take on the terrorists until the police task force can arrive.

City Hunter is a manga comic, and this is the live action film based upon it. He is a womanising action hero, and in this case in the usual Jackie Chan style is played for laughs, less James Bond more Matt Helm (I'm told the original cartoon has less comedy and more womanising). This has led to an unusual cartoon like style being selected for the film., and while this may not appeal to hard-core martial arts fans, it does fit the film which is far more a comedy than an action film.

The fight scenes are always one of the most important parts of your average Jackie Chan experience and you will not be disappointed. Jackie Chan's style contains a lot of comedy within the moves and this is really bought to the fore. In fact there are some of the most originally comic fights ever staged. Check out the arcade fight where Jackie becomes Street fighter video game characters, along with the genuine special moves he goes on to defeat Gary Daniels (as Ken). Or the theatre fight where Jackie battles two huge coloured guys with help from Bruce Lee (from the film Game of Death). All of these are surpassed by the final fight which is blistering fast and full of great comedy.

It's not just Jackie Chan that is worth watching many of the supporting cast are just as good. Chingmy Yau is stunningly beautiful and deadly cool, the actor who play Kao Ta (sorry I could not find out his name) is superb as the real life Gambit (X-Men comics) dispatching bad guys with playing cards in a flick of the wrist. Joey Wong provides great comic relief and her character works especially well in the scenes where she gets to "help" Ryo. Lastly on the side of the good guys Kumiko Goto provides a brilliant gymnastic display in a fight which stretches the height of the ship. The bad guys are sufficiently evil from the manic Richard Norton (Col. Macdonald) to the impressive British kick boxing champion Gary Daniels. Overall a good looking and impressively talented cast.

Drawbacks, yes there are some. In the middle of the movie there is an amazingly bad music number. I don't who the two pillocks are that re performing this oriental inspired Eminem rip off, but they must have been put here for a reason, its just I'm smegged if I know why. The whole thing should be skipped (that's what fast forward is for). Other than that there is a character who keeps on toppling over because she is supposedly top heavy if you know what I mean. Well all I can say that eastern chaps must a smaller expectations than us in the west, and that this sort of cheap sexist gag really doesn't fit.

If your looking for action comedy then this will provide both the excitement and the laughs, die hard (no pun intended) fight fans may want to look away now. City Hunter is original, funny and action packed. The sort of kung fu comedy at which Jackie Chan is the undisputed master, he is City Hunter.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Picture 1.85:1 Anamorphic Really good remastered picture.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 English or Cantonese The dubbing is well done and even adds some further comedy, but there is the usual nice clear subtitles for those who prefer it.
Features Animated biography showcase
Interview gallery
Behind the scenes footage
Audio commentary by Hong Kong film expert Bey Logan
Some really neat animated menus
Verdict Overall excellent marks once again for Hong Kong Legends, maintaining their top standards.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home