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Mr. Nice Guy Review

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A Chinese chef accidentally gets involved with a news reporter who filmed a drug bust that went awry and becomes a target for the gangs who are trying to get the video tape.

★★★★★

Since 95 per cent of a typical Jackie Chan vehicle involves dialogue along the lines of "Oooh!", "Yahhh!" and "Ouch!", it hardly makes much difference to a winning formula that this is his first starring feature to be shot in English. However, having Chan speak his own brand of fractured English rather than saddling him with dreadful dubbing has the advantage of demonstrating his great personal charm.

As usual, Chan is cast as "Jackie" - himself - but this time he is supposed to be a popular TV chef living in Melbourne who, while out shopping one day, collides with a lady journo (Gabrielle Fitzpatrick) on the run from the local cocaine kingpin (Norton), his cadre of sharp-suited thugs and a Mad Max-ish band of street punks known as "The Demons". Chivalrously helping the lady out, Jackie gets into the sort of trouble that adds up to a feature-length chase. It's weirdly refreshing that the Chinese characters are relaxed and appealing while the non-orientals in the cast are ranting stereotypes constantly made to look foolish by the irrepressible hero, whose antics owe as much to Bugs Bunny or Harpo Marx as to Bruce Lee or Jean-Claude Van Damme.

As Chan movies go, this is less extravagant than some, concentrating on stunts, fights and routines set in realistic streets, shopping malls, apartment houses and building sites. Director Samo Hung (who has a cameo as a cyclist) is a master at staging fights which use every prop that comes to hand, and there are several classic routines here: on escalators, on a runaway horse and carriage, around a buzzsaw, under the wheels of a monster truck.

The story is as thin as rice paper, but the Chan name guarantees non-stop, breathtaking action and that's what you get here.