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Mr. Nice Guy (1997, Jackie Chan, Richard Norton)

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Jackie Chan’s first all-English language feature sees him play a popular TV chef able, at public demonstrations, to flick fragments of crepe 20 yards into the mouths of his adoring fans. But when news colleague Diana (Gabrielle Fitzpatrick) manages to shoot footage of a major drugs deal going down, headed by crime boss Giancarlo (Richard Norton), Jackie’s life is in danger. The gang are convinced he has the tape, another gang want it just as badly, his girlfriend Miki (Miki Lee) is kidnapped, and he’s being threatened at public appearances. There’s only one answer – as the film’s tagline has it, ‘Fight First. Apologise Later.’

Once the plot’s established, the movie belongs to the athletic Chan who, unlike Bruce Lee, leavens his movies with humour (he’s been likened by more than one critic to Buster Keaton). There’s a catalogue of high energy martial arts fighting, with Chan once again using the most unlikely of weapons. One sequence in particular involves a series of blue doors opening and shutting as he’s pursued by villains, harking back again to Keaton, and in the spectacular finale he first tries to avoid then tries to trap a massive mining vehicle sent to crush him.

Chan does all his own stunts, which makes the action sequences double-daring and, as is his tradition, the end credits include outtakes that show, in sometimes worrying detail, how close he comes to serious injury – watch for the chainsaw sequence, and also watch for a cameo by director Samo Hung as a cyclist literally pushed too far. Shot in Australia, the finale of the shoot also saw the production company banned from ever filming in the area again – the mess they left behind from the demolition of a huge house cost thousands of dollars to clear up.

production details
Hong Kong | 113 minutes | 1997

Director: Sammo Hung
Script: Fibe Ma, Edward Tang

cast
Jackie Chan as Jackie
Richard Norton as Giancarlo
Miki Lee as Miki
Gabrielle Fitzpatrick as Diana
Karen McLymont as Lakisha
Vince Poletto as Romeo
Barry Otto as Baggio
Peter Houghton as Richard
Peter Lindsay as Grank, Demon Leader
David William No as Victor
Rachel Blakely as Sandy, Demon
Sammo Hung as Cyclist [cameo]
Emil Chow as Ice Cream Vendor [cameo]
Joyce Godenzi as Cook Show Audience [cameo]
Richard Huggett as Giancarlo’s Man

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