Mr. Nice Guy

on March 20, 1998 by Kim Williamson
   In this Golden Harvest production (previously released overseas), Hong Kong action maestro Jackie Chan--in his first shot-in-English effort--plays a TV chef who helps a woman journalist who has uncovered the misdeeds of a local crime syndicate and so has become its target. An innocent bystander caught up in the melee against his wishes, the chef eventually comes to the triumphant aid of the damsel in distress (whose character, once the Chanantics are set in motion, largely disappears).
   Screened at ShowEast by New Line, the distributor that launched the second coming stateside of Jackie Chan with 1996's "Rumble in the Bronx," "Mr. Nice Guy" (aka "No More Mr. Nice Guy") provides the usual Chan blend of comedy and action. But the $6 million acquisition (which gave New Line all but Asian rights) boasts just one jaw-dropping Chan-in-action sequence, with Chan under the wheels of a gigantic earthmover. Also per usual is the relatively weak storyline, with undeveloped characters, cartoony moralities and helter-skelter plot developments. Then again, Chan's charm is nigh on irresistible.
   Despite the efforts of New Line and Miramax, which has also been handling Chan fare in the past two years, Chan in America still attracts just a niche crowd. That niche has been inching smaller with every successive Chan release, and this film is unlikely to alter that trend. But, for true-blue Chan Fans, "Mr. Nice Guy" should work quite nicely.    Starring Jackie Chan. Directed by Sammo Hung. Written by Edward Tang and Fibe Ma. Produced by Chua Lam. A New Line release. Action/comedy. Rated PG-13 for pervasive action violence, some sensuality and drug content. Running time: 95 min.
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