Jackie Chan is back…again. This time Warner Archive is bringing the extended original cut of Mr. Nice Guy to Blu-ray. Serving as Chan’s first film to be shot and targeted for the English speaking market, it represented a return to form. Chan reunited with co-stars from City Hunter and his 80s action buddy Sammo Hung.
The film is a straight-forward action comedy. Chan plays a TV Chef who runs into a woman that switches a tape of his show with a drug deal gone bad. Now, the bad guys want the evidence and Chan has to go to town. This results in a madcap jaunt through Australia that must have felt dated by the time that Shanghai Noon hit. Actually, scratch that. I was in the original American audience and it did feel very slight.
What Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung accomplish in their films isn’t the same kind of finesse that you see from Chan solo adventures. So much of the film wants to be a crime caper, then comedy and then resolve in a way that is gritty without being gritty. I think it’s very wise to approach this film from the historical perspective of what Golden Harvest was achieving by the 90s.
The studio’s glory years had long since past them by the Clinton years. So, when Mr. Nice Guy hit screens, it was two-fold. It felt like Jackie Chan slumming it after Dimension and New Line burst him onto the scene with dubbed early entries. Plus, Mr. Nice Guy felt like Sammo Hung’s last gasps as an action director. In a matter of months after Mr. Nice Guy was released, Hung would be on CBS and Jackie Chan would be in Rush Hour.
Mr. Nice Guy won’t cross over and find new fans this late in the game. However, it could work as a fun entry point for people just now getting into Jackie Chan. There are far better movies out there, but this gives a sense of some of the work he was doing in the 1990s. But, it’s still more of a Sammo Hung outing.
The Blu-ray comes with two different versions of the film. The extended Golden Harvest is closer to what international audiences saw upon release. The New Line Cinema cut that high school age Anderson saw is included as a special feature. The audio disparity between both cuts is great, but not annoying enough to warrant a non-watch. The Blu-ray is recommended to Chan fans.