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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> February 1999 >> Mr. Nice Guy

Mr. Nice Guy

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
3 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
February 1999
IMDB Name:
Mr. Nice Guy (1998)
Sammo Hung
action, martial-arts
MPAA Rating:
PG-13 for pervasive action violence, some sensuality and drug content.

Lowered Expectations

Containing as much action as they do, it's hard to expect actors in Jackie Chan movies to be anything but stunt experts. Here we have a whole raft of Australian stunt people, none of whom can act to save their lives. That's no problem, though, because they can fight to save their lives. Their dialogue is awful, so even great actors would have trouble making it sparkle, but these folks kill it.

Jackie's Magic

It's hard to find commentary on a Jackie Chan movie that doesn't refer to him as a Gifted Comic Actor. Take one look at his classics like Drunken Master and you'll see him at his clowning best. I am therefore baffled by movies that ignore this fundamental part of his appeal. Most recent Chan movies, like First Strike and Supercop have left me vaguely unsatisfied because they either fail to establish Jackie's character as a nice guy or because they don't make heavy use of the physical comedy make him a star. I did really enjoy Rumble in the Bronx because it played up his best features.

It is with some irony, then, that this movie is entitled Mr. Nice Guy. One of the characters comments that Jackie's character is a nice guy, but there's not much else to establish it. There isn't nearly enough clowning going on here to truly endear the audience to the character. Instead, too much focus is put on stuntwork that is only impressive because we know it really is the star doing the stunts. Even worse, the movie ends in a pyrotechnic set piece that stars Jackie driving a dump truck. Dump trucks are not gifted comic actors, even when being driven by one.


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Copyright 1999-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.