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Review Mr. Nice Guy a.k.a. Yat goh ho yan (1997): A Jackie Chan classic!

genre: action, martial arts, adventure, comedy

Back when this came out, I didn't really consider this a top tier Jackie Chan title. Even for Jackie Chan's standards, this film was very low on plot. But now, after all these years, I want to state that Mr. Nice Guy probably is one of the best Jackie Chan films ever made.

Like with most of his films, the plot is just there to put the action sequences in motion. Only this time, the film never really slows down when events start happening. I think we have director Sammo Hung to thank for that. He is very good at making you invested into characters with very little and produce bigger than life action sequences with a minimal budget. Combine that with Jackie Chan's unique take on action, and you have gold on your hands. The film is set in Australia and features some Aussie actors I know from Heartbreak High (Frederick Miragliotta and Vincent Poletto). Richard Norton of course is the big baddie. And all of them are hamming it up big time. I am pretty sure they did that as requested by Sammo. Rightfully so because most of those moments provide top comedy. I mean, how often do you experience for a police captain to shout at a subordinate like they have history, but it's the first time you have seen this captain. Now, it's very possible that some scenes got cut where these characters had bigger roles. In this case, it works out in favour of the film. 

What doesn't work is Jackie Chan's English. It's so bad. And you would think he would improve, but I think his is getting worse. Thankfully, they decided to have him as little dialogue as possible and it works. He is so expressive non-verbally and only emphasizes that he is a good actor. Next to martial arts combat and acrobatics, Jackie Chan also gets to show off his comedic talent a la Buster Keaton. It's truly timeless and had made me chuckle throughout the film. It's real hilarious to see him deal with goons in his own unique way while doing death defying stunts. 

I don't know why, but for some reason I had very little to no recollection of the action. But trust me, I won't forget now, ever. It's old school Jackie Chan kicking ass, plus major destruction of a house the production team got banned for. The destruction is beautiful. All this time, Jackie had been fighting off goons, his girlfriend got kidnapped, some friends got hurt and he himself has been subjected to the whims of mob boss Giancarlo (Richard Norton) in a very painful manner. It was only a matter of time, his rage would become so big he would jump on a giant bulldozer and act out his vengeance. 

So yes, in hindsight, Mr. Nice Guy is a Jackie Chan classic. A must own for sure!

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