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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 


In the bowels of what apears to be an old rundown theatre somewhere in suburban Melbourne, crime boss Giancarlo (Richard Norton) and some thick-necked henchmen wearing ill-fitting suits are about to take delivery of a shipment of drugs from a surly group of punks experiencing a bad hair day. Unfortunately, as often happens when neanderthals meet, one insult leads to another, guns are drawn and pretty soon the place resembles a war zone. During the melee, Giancarlo discovers that his secret rendezvous has been caught on video tape by a female television reporter hiding in the rafters. With the goons in hot pursuit the said reporter hightails it out into the street where, as luck would have it, she bumps straight into little Jackie (Jackie Chan), a cherub-faced television chef with the kung-fu prowess of an oriental whirling dervish. After routing the hoods, Jackie and the girl agree to go their separate ways, but Giancarlo's determination to get his hands on the incriminating tape soon brings them all back together in a spectacular pyrotechnic confrontation at Giancarlo's opulent mansion.

"Shot in Melbourne in 1998 (well before last year's Hollywood-made Rush Hour), Mr Nice Guy finds diminutive Hong Kong action superstar Jackie Chan yet again milking to death a ramshackle, overly familiar formula. And while this new caper doesn't quite reach the ineptitude of Chan's First Strike from 1997 (which also was filmed in Australia), it's an embarrassment nonetheless. Unlike the Bruce Lee films where every kick and punch is usually fatal, the kung-fu in a Jackie Chan movie, though admittedly fast and furious and choreographed to hell, has all the import of a Keystone Kops routine with a flimsy plot to match. Were it not for Chan's presence, there is little doubt that Mr Nice Guy would be heading straight for the video shelf rather than the big screen of a city cinema. Clocking in at a skimpy 87 minutes (less if you count the un-funny out-takes slotted in before the end credits), the film is not only out of synch, with actors' mouths still moving after the words have been spoken, but it also boasts some truly appalling acting. From Barry Otto's strangely-accented drivel to Norton's Z-grade posturing and even Chan's mostly unintelligible prattle - all at the mercy of bad dubbing - it's a misguided enterprise devoid of the sophistication and discipline that made Rush Hour such a treat. There are a couple of impressive stunt sequences, particularly in the finale, but by then it's simply a case of too little, too late. Even Chan's fans will be disappointed."
Leo Cameron

"You know how there's that amusing out-takes sequence at the end of a Jackie Chan movie? Well, it's about the only reason to stay to the end of Mr. Nice Guy. This vehicle for Chan, shot entirely in Australia, is light and occasionally lively, but hardly a glowing advertisement for the local industry. Despite the trademark stunts and some inventive uses for heavy mining equipment, the film veers dangerously close to insulting the audience's intelligence. The basic story is frankly ludicrous with the actual plot having holes big enough to drive that heavy mining equipment through. The acting is generally well below par and even Barry Otto (a fine actor) doesn't come out of it entirely intact. It's also disappointing when the basic technicalities are as poorly handled as they are here. Example - although the story is supposedly set entirely in Melbourne, at one point there's a very clear shot of a licence plate reading ‘Queensland - The Sunshine State’. Chan does his level best to project the charm that's won him fans around the world; but that of itself can't save the film. But (although he's clearly slowing down) he stages the obligatory death-defying stunts with aplomb which is what most people will want to see. There's also some Marx Brothers-style shtick mixed in for good measure. However, even these moments become tired relatively quickly without support from the script. Mr. Nice Guy is inoffensive fare; but as memorable cinema - forget it."
David Edwards

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CAST: Jackie Chan, Richard Norton, Miki Lee, Karen McLymont, Brielle Fitzpatrick, Vince Poletto, Barry Otto

DIRECTOR: Sammo Hung Kam-Bo

PRODUCER: Leonard Ho, Chua Lam

SCRIPT: Fibe Ma, Edward Tang


EDITOR: Peter Cheung

MUSIC: Peter Kam, J. Peter Robinson


RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes



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