City Hunter (1993)
He's out of town, out of time, and out of his depth!
Jackie Chan! Yeah! I know there's folks out there (due to pure statistical probabilities alone) that balk at the idea of watching Jackie Chan movies, but I like the guy. Sure, some movies are cooler than others, and some of them haven't been available till long after the fact here (which has lead to a bit of misleading time-frames in titles), but I've generally not had him in a movie that I regretted watching. Hadn't heard of City Hunter before, so I thought it would be a good chance to check it out, you know? Hopefully it delivers a city-worth of enjoyment and doesn't leave me hunting for my alarm clock.
City Hunter is one suave dude. A private detective who's quite the lady man - but his past isn't all gold and glamor no, as is elaborated in a rather exaggerated play-type moment. His old partner and (but mainly) him were top go-getters at their job, until his partner made a stupid mistake (City Hunter's own words) that got him gunned down. His last request was for City to take care of his (now current) partner, a younger relative , with the stipulation of not seducing her. It's no problem, City elaborates, although time can be unfair and with just a turn of the back she goes from cute child to lovely woman. Due to his promise however, he can never see her as more than a friend or sister, much to the dismay of his partner's feelings for him.
In more current times of the movie, City takes a meeting (due only to his partner driving his sleeping self to the meeting while he dreams of many women and a pool), and only wakes up due to the secretary's perfume (indicating someone gorgeous nearby). Initially, the pitch for the job doesn't have City super interested, and then he sees a picture of the man's daughter and is sold on bringing her back to her father. He drops off the partner to check shops and malls for the girl, while he goes and follows up a lead on the girl at a nearby skatepark. As luck would have it, she is in fact there, and of course she still doesn't want to go back to her father and takes off running. During a rad chase on skateboard, complete with over-car tricks and through the window excitement, City looses track of the girl - who happens to see him outside the shop shes in, causing her to mug a man of his clothes to disguise herself and get away successfully. Bonus for the girl, the man's coat even has a ticket to a cruise in it.
After giving up and returning home, City is jumped by a bunch of women whose men he's put away. The situation ends up being misinterpreted by his partner who returns with his birthday cake and present, and she storms off to go on the cruise herself. When he finally catches up, he ends up needing to sneak onto the boat - but not before we are introduced to a dynamite duo of ladies he sees are (who are revealed to actually tasked with confirming the rumors of terrorist criminals plotting a crime wave on the boat). As things are finally heating up, starving City continues his search for food and his partner - who one way or another keeps ending up getting into misunderstanding incidents with City - as the massive number of crooks make their move. Running by accident into the daughter he was hired to bring back to her father on board, can City manage to save the boat-load of people in trouble including his partner and his job? Will the two women packing heat accomplish their task of beating all the criminal terrorists on board?
The cast does a great job of acting in this movie, including keeping it incredibly silly without being flat-out B movie style camp. I went with the dubbed option (because I didn't feel like reading), and I'm sure there are bits lost in translation (or that just got changed around for localization), but for the most part things flow smoothly and the mood is retained. As far as the action moments go, choreography is top notch, and anyone familiar with the Jackie Chan movies of old (like Rumble in the Bronx) will kind of know the level of action to expect. It never escalates to be anything too huge (like fighting on a hovercraft), and is certainly silly enough to be up there with the goofy movies (such as Spy Next Door or Rush Hour) - so although there are elements of things going on that could be serious, it doesn't feel too serious.
Comedy is silly - it's not always funny, but it's pretty amusing in my opinion at any rate. It's very much a tongue in cheek thing - which helps lead to making the movie feel rather playful. If you want an example, one of my favorite scenes of this movie happens during a fight with the terrorists kung fu master (at least we would be lead to believe such), who throws poor City through an arcade cabinet. The resulting shock breaks reality a bit, and when he gets up City sees his opponent as none other than Ken from Street Fighter! Not wacky enough? In order to fight back, City transforms into E Honda (with the last letter changed to E to avoid an issue with a car advertising thing Chan had going on). After still not winning, he comes back as Dhalsim and Guile. After losing again, City comes back as none other than Chun Li to deal battle. The entire thing is even complete with special moves and SNES sound effects and music. I found it classic, and will no doubt still be laughing about it tomorrow.
There could be said to be a lot going on here, but it never really feels to be dragging or too overly encumbered with things going on. It's not meant to be believable, so it might be a bit hard for some people going in expecting a serious private eye story to enjoy - but Jackie Chan's knack for facial expressions and acting through body motions (even when super silly) really helps the movie be enjoyable. A lot of folks will no doubt be annoyed by the whole womanizing aspects of City - whose mentality at times could be argued to be that of an 15 year old boy or someone you'd run into playing a game on Xbox Live - but when you realize that it's not about being offensive and realize that it's not worth getting up in arms over everything the movie itself should still be an enjoyable experience. Oh, and if I didn't mention it - practical effects are still great, and credit-roll outtakes is still one of the best uses of credits.
Should you watch it? If your a fan of silly movies that you know you shouldn't take seriously you'll have a blast. If you like Jackie Chan in his non-serious roles, you might end up picking it up. If your just looking for a casual entertainment, it's still not a bad choice either. I enjoyed it, and as stated before the Street Fighter scene alone sold the entire experience to me (and I was enjoying myself to begin with). Check it out unless you don't like anything I described, in which case sorry to hear you don't like having fun (just kidding, everyone is entitled to like what they want).