City Hunter (1992) Review

"City Hunter" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"City Hunter" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Director: Wong Jing
Producer: Chua Lam
Cast: Jackie Chan, Joey Wong, Leon Lai, Chingmy Yau, Richard Norton, Kumiko Goto, Gary Daniels, Ken Lo, Eric Kot, Jan Lam Hoi-Fung, Mike Abbott, Louis Roth, Carol Wan, Mike Miller, Cordelia Choi, Donna Chu Kit Yee, Mike Leeder, Mike Abbott
Running Time: 88/105 min.

By Dan-O

About 2 minutes into this movie, I thought to myself, out-loud, “Well OK, this is, uh, different”. I think I can state with moderate certainty that this movie (or anything resembling it) would NEVER make a profit in the US of A. This was pure corn; not even drunken Leslie Neilson with a lampshade on his head could lay down as much corn as was seen in this movie. Now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Yes Dan-O, I understand this, you rambling jackball, now tell me something I DON’T know, like, is that a good thing……. or a bad thing?” OK, in THIS movie, it’s a GOOD thing, in places.

See, I like anime, to a point. I just don’t think it translates over into live action very well, and if you ask anyone who knows anything about this crap, they’d probably tell you that the reason why alot of anime is so popular among most geeks today is the fact that there are certain concepts and gags that ONLY work in the whimsical realm of animation. For instance, those oversized anime hammers. In a cartoon… sure, what the hell, it works; In live action, it blows… IT AIN’T FUNNY! Only removing my own toenails with a pair of pliers would be less funny. Cartoons usually don’t make for good movies (EXCEPT for “The Addams Family”, which for those of you socially illiterate goons out there, started out as a single panel comic). The visual stuff was one step up from the 60’s Batman show, and I half-expected Adam West or Burt Almost-Got-His-Sorry-No-Talent-Ass-Kicked-All-Over-Town-By-Bruce-Lee Ward to jump out from behind a corner in their frighteningly snug fitting short-shorts.

That aside, it was a fun, bouncy little flick, although is anyone else getting tired of hearing how Jackie’s movies are supposed to be “family entertainment”. I’ve heard on several occasions about how there is (supposedly) NO unnecessary killing or death in his movies, and absolutely NO dirty jokes or sexual innuendo. PLEEEEASE. This entire movie is one big tit joke. And what’s with Richard Norton (who should regrow that beard he used to sport) plugging round after round into those poor bastards who lose at that card game? What a complete prick! How “family friendly” can ya get?!. And, although funny as bloody hell, does anyone else (who’s seen this thing already) find the homoerotic near-rape scene in poor taste. I’m mean, the guy’s wearing buttless chaps for chrissakes! Is that disturbing to anyone else out there in net-land (or whatever the hell it’s called)?

If you’re a horny red-blooded heterosexual guy like me, you’ll probably want to check out this movie simply to marvel at the ample supply of genetically blessed women showcased within. The amount of throwaway sex jokes in this flick blows my mind in more ways than one. I personally find it disgusting that Jackie’s character is trying to seduce a girl that he helped raise (ala Woody Allen), but this IS anime, or at least derived from anime, and that explains quite a bit.

To sum up: “The greatest motion picture of all time!” “An instant classic!” “It’s Die Hard in a circus tent!” “Two very enthusiastic thumbs up… WAY up!!

None of these phrases would EVER, EVER, EVER be used in the same breath as City Hunter. But if you dig The 3 Stooges, Anime, Street Fighter 2, cute women and/or breasts, and watching Jackie hit people, then this is YOUR KINDA MOVIE!

Dan-O’s Rating: 6/10

By Brmanuk

I first rented this film in 1996. I looked at “Rumble In The Bronx” and I really wanted to get it out, but because the film was rated “fifteen” my parents wouldn’t let me get it out (pathetic, I know). I had no idea who Jackie Chan was at the time but I had seen a trailer for one of his films and I was very interested. The only other Jackie film that Blockbuster Video had at the time was City Hunter. Since it was a “Twelve” and I was almost that age my parents got it out for me. I had never seen a Hong Kong film before and I thought it was a load of rubbish. Corny jokes that I didn’t get, no exit wounds when people got shot, Dubbing, It looked cheap. I hated it.

Four years later I saw Hard-Boiled and since then I’ve been addicted to Hong-Kong cinema. I had seen a few Jackie Chan movies by now, (All the American ones, about 10 of the Hong Kong ones) and I thought it was about time I saw City Hunter again, since I now appreciated Chinese movies. I read a few reviews on this film before I spent my hard earned £5 on it. The reviews I read were very mixed. From people saying that it was “the worst film ever” to people saying, “it rules!”.

Well, I bought it anyway, and I must admit I was quite pleased. It still had more corn than a Hillbillies foot, but I understood it this time! The action was quite frequent and at times funny. The girls in the film (and there’s plenty) are gorgeous. And Jackie is as funny as ever. The film is quite boring at times and the famous “Street Fighter II” scene wasn’t that impressive, but overall this flick was well worth the £5 I spent on it (except for the fact that half way through the film the tape went blank for about half a minute).

Brmanuk’s Rating: 7/10 – BTW did anyone else notice that the Clarinet tune from Hard-Boiled was playing in the posh clothes shop?

By Numskull

Numerous sources say that Jackie Chan “dismisses this movie as a lesser effort.” As well he should. City Hunter may be funny but the action is definitely sub-par. It relies more on gunplay than on fights and stunts, and it’s not like that old TV show The A-Team where nobody receives a single graze after 1700 rounds of ammunition are spent by everyone involved. People get killed in this movie, quite a few of them in fact, and not always “in the line of duty”. In an effort to make the slaughter more kid-friendly, the death is largely bloodless and people pretty much drop without any fuss. I find this rather annoying. Trust me folks, I’ve shot a few innocent bystanders in my time and I can tell you that they don’t just fall over like mannequins. They scream and bleed and thrash around on the ground and generally make things very unpleasant for those around them.

The high body count is offset by the humor. After all, if you can’t laugh at a movie where idle millionaires are executed for losing at baccarat, what CAN you laugh at? The introductory sequence, in which Jackie directly addresses the viewer(s), is great, but his doomed quest for a bit of grub later on is even better. When some guy who looks like he has Down Syndrome steps on a slice of bread, Jackie pummels him senseless. When Chingmy Yau’s bimbo cousin tries to score some J.C. action, he tries to take a bite out of one of her breasts, expecting to get a nice mouthful of tasty hamburger instead. The famous (notorious?) Street Fighter 2 parody is the real highlight, though. Jackie dresses up as a woman for what seems like the hundredth time…

The scene where J.C. beats two behemoths by mimicking Bruce Lee was clever but not terribly exciting. And the final showdown with Richard Norton is good but hardly makes up for the lack of good action for the rest of the movie.

This is a must for completists but not recommended for the casual fan. Unless you’re one of those buffoons who just watches movies for chicks. There are several of them here. It’s got “lowest common denominator” written all over it…

Numskull’s Rating: 5/10

By Ro

Wow – are people divided on this movie! More so than usual. And I have to say I’m split as well. I admit, there were times that I got a kick out of the comic book quality of the film. The Street Fighter scene was a clever addition to the overall fun, as well as the nod to Bruce Lee. I also enjoyed all the times Jackie stopped and posed to his theme song. And I have to add the drool factor of Jackie in a sleeveless tee shirt with suspenders (even if he has a jacket over it most of the time) as well as the cute – and very talented gambler guy and Gary Daniels doing the split in his jockeys! For the guys, the drool factor is the 4 gorgeous leading ladies. There were more beautiful women per square inch of this film than any other – even the extras were hot (and usually in bathing suits, guys!)

However, the comic book quality also worked against the film in my opinion. For something that was supposed to be a farce, it was incredibly violent! Sometimes that works (see Pulp Fiction, Fargo) and sometimes it jsut misses by a mile. This one misses! Richard Norton weilding a gun whose size would have Freud choking on his cigar was funny, but the way he used it wasn’t (Yes, I AM saying, “Size doesn’t matter – it’s what you do with it.”) And I apparently got a washed down version of the original. I read about a lot of tasteless jokes, especially gay bashing and there was only one gay joke in the video I had (and it was pretty funny). I think this movie could have been fun and action packed at the same time in another director’s hands, but not this director!

Also, I don’t know if it was the quality of my video (Venom Video from Advantage) or the filming, but parts of the movie were VERY red, while all the scenes in the casino were in a blue haze that was incredibly hard to see thru. And Jackie has his only really good fight (aside from the good but too short one with Gary Daniels) in the casino with Richard Norton! If this was filmed this was as part of the comic book idea – it didn’t work for me.

Ro’s Rating: 6.5/10

By Jan-Michael

I still haven’t figured out why Jackie Chan doesn’t like this film; its on my top ten list at least somewhere. City Hunter is Chan’s funniest film ever. City Hunter has non stop hilarity and action. When there isn’t any action/fighting one doesn’t notice because your laughing your butt off at one of the zany comedic character sketches. Jackie is at his absolute best putting on a show of hilarious sight gags and fight scenes. There isn’t a single serious moment in this film, and I love it. There is even a unbelieveable parody of the Street Fighter II video game! What will Chan think of next? The story to this film is unlike any Chan movie before; especially because he plays a womanizer. Chan and Gary Daniels make an excellent match and I hope they team up again real soon. Almost the entire fight looked like it was improvised! Chan vs. the two Kareem lookalikes makes Bruce Lee’s Game of Death match with Kareem just plain pathetic. And Chan vs. Norton can be analyized for an eternity just for the speed and accuracy of each of their strikes. I got to hand it to Richard Norton, I was surprised that he could ever keep up with Chan. Also, let’s not forget the rest of the supporting cast that makes this film sing – Joey Wong, Chingmy Yau, Leon Lai Ming, Kumiko Gotoh, a gay Ken Lo and let’s definately not forget Joey Wong’s cousin, who is obsessed with sleeping with Joey. I crack up at every line he has. Overall, this film is a must watch; don’t miss it. Highly recommended.

Jan-Michael’s Rating: 9/10

By Dead Channel

I really dug this movie! I must say, I had to laugh my arse clean off at many parts, hell.. even my mom was laughing!.. I like the comedy, which took over the whole movie (without a doubt). The asian “ladies” in this movie looked good as hell, there was enough action to keep me interested and it was funny. So, like it or burn it, City Hunter is the jam in my opinion. A different side of Jackie Chan, the best part being when… hah! I can’t remember! So fork it, buy/rent this bitch, and if ya don’t like it, ask for your money back and say “Dead Channel sent me, sir.” And ya might get ya assed kicked.

Dead Channel’s Rating: 9/10 (because Chingmay Yau and Joey Wong (FEMALE) never got naked)

By James

So I asked my friend: “Have you heard anything about ‘City Hunter’?” He replied: “It’s like ‘Die Hard’ on a boat with Jackie Chan.” OK, that sounded good enough to me. Well, I don’t know if it was the dubbing, the bad story, the fact that it was 12:15 am or the fact we were just blown away by “Evil Dead 2.” In my mind, and the minds of my friends, the movie was crap. The dubbing was shit, it sounded like the voice actors were going through a first reading. The end fight was so ho-hum. The only things that sticks in my mind after viewing the movie were: Jackie’s wicked-ass flip off the upper deck of the boat to the lower deck, and the hilarious “Street Fighter” parody. Below average Jackie.

James’ Rating: 5/10

By Aloho

I don’t know what happened, I just didn’t like this one. I guess there were such strict guidelines to follow by when making this movie. The comedy in this was very cheesy. Slapstick can be all right at sometimes, except for when it is not funny. It starts out with a very funny melodramatic sequence. I laughed out loud at that part. Then I admired the corny sound effects and the unrealistic falls. It is funny, but it gets old. For the next hour or something, the jokes are just lame and boring.

Onto the action stuff, I hear all this comotion about the theatre and the skateboard chase. The skateboarding thing was just plain stupid. I wait for Jackie to do all these cool moves, but he doesn’t. Finally I get what I’ve been expecting, where towards the end of the chase, he is doing all these flips over the cars and stuff. It looks extremely fake. However, if Jackie were directing it, it would have been much better. I blame it on the director.

The theatre was funny. I cannot at all consider this an action scene. My argument on this one is that it should have been more built up. Chan should have copied more moves from Lee. After we are infested with more crappy jokes, we get Jackie fighting Gary Daniels for…about a minute. Could have been longer, like I said, things could have been much longer/better if Jackie had a some say in the production. Then an extremely unrealistic, but good (I have to accept the unrealistic factor for it is based on an anime), with Richard Nortan.

Now, the Streetfighter take-off was the best. Jackie Chan as Chun-Lee and E. Honda. Very hilarious stuff. I think a scene that receives honorable mention is when Jackie fights using a woman as a prop. The film as a whole, I liked a little bit, but the majority annoyed me. I would not consider watching this again. It could be because I expected it to be a “Jackie Chan” film and it is opposite from one.

Aloho’s Rating: 5/10

By Vic Nguyen

This is quite possibly the weirdest Jackie Chan film ever made. Goofball and slapstick level’s are at an all time high, but I liked this film alot. In it Jackie plays Ryo Saeba, a horny as hell and womanizing detective that has to find a business man’s lost daughter. Ryo eventually follows the daughter onto a cruise ship where all hell breaks loose. The best sequence in this film is definetly the Street Fighter 2 parody. I was laughing so hard my brother had to come in to tell me to shut the hell up. The only complaint that I had with this film is that Jackie dresses in drag again. As much as I admire him, I can’t stand the sight of Jackie Chan as a woman. Aside from that, this movie is definetly worth checking out.

Vic Nguyen’s Rating: 9/10

By Clint

Does anyone else think that this is the lamest and strangest movie that JC has made? Not counting the oh so popular Fantasy Mission Force. I am not critical of a JC movie if it is lame or weird, because that usually means that it will be hysterical. Guess what? This movie is hysterical. I just wish they hadn’t ruined the fight scenes with humor. I usually like my fight scenes with no humor. Like the JC/Gary Daniels fight, they play that awful music in the background, somewhat ruining it, so I just mute the television during that fight. Then the JC/Richard Norton fight, two skilled veterans of movie fighting do nothing to showcase what they are capable of doing. Enough with the disappointing fight scenes, let me move on to what this movie really has……comedy. I won’t mention the Street Fighter parody scene, because everyone and their grandmother has talked about it in these reviews. I will mention the scene where JC is passed out drunk and talking in his drunken coma, and the scene where that fat guy steps on Jackie’s bread, when he so desperately seeking out something to eat. I loved how they did that in slo-mo. The Game of Death fight scene was great, when one of the giants drag JC across the theater seats, mangling his balls. This review is already too long. So I am through.

Clint’s Rating: 8/10

By Yummyspam

Personally, I loved this movie. But that may just be my personal opinion. Though this film is most certainly enjoyable, to gain a true understanding, you must have some knowledge of the Japanese manga/anime (comic/cartoon, respectively) upon which it is based (I personally reccomend the anime). Anyway, Jackie plays a skirt-chasing, hormone-driven, self-obsessed womanizer. This is quite out of context with jackie’s usual characters. If you are familiar with Ryo Saeba, the guy Jackie plays, you will understand underneath all that he’s an Ok guy, and you will better comprehend and enjoy the flick. If you don’t know Ryo, you may find him cocky and annoying. Jackie does do all sorts of wonderful stuff in this movie, though. The Hilarious Street fighter II parody, which is a little Overrated, is still funny as heck. The gunfights are all pretty cool, and there are plenty of good stunts. Like any good HK movie, thew ending fight is spectacular. Overall, just verygood cinema that keeps you laughing in between the Oooo’s and Aahhh’s.

Yummyspam’s Rating: 9.5/10

By Tom

Well, if you have ever seen a Jackie Chan film before, you should know he is always the good guy in any of his films. This one is not out of the usual either. The movie is actually made after a famous Japanese Animation character from a few years back, if you have seen the Animation before and don’t expect Jackie to do the samething in this movie, some of the material is just too adult oriented for a PG rating. But never less, there are still lots beautiful women in short dresses to be seen though out the movie (which is good, hehe…) However, the entire entertaiment value tend to fall short on the expectation. The plot is simple and straight forward, but after the first 10 or 15 minutes into the movie, you can probably guess what will happen to the bad guy at the end. Jackie is most known for his daredevil stunts in all of his movies, but don’t expect much out of this one. Because this movie is based on an Animation, lots special effacts are used instead of real actions (they are just not humanly possible even for Jackie). Sadly, most of the special effacts in this movie seem cheesly done as well. Because the entire movie was shot in Hong kong and Japan, so it is just not even close when compare to hollywood style industrial level special effects. Well, if you just love all Jackie Chan movies, this one is ok to see. But if you have never seen Jackie Chan movies before, I suggest you rent something else (like Police story). This movie didn’t show what he is truly capable of.

Tom’s Rating: 6/10

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One Response to City Hunter (1992) Review

  1. Ningen21 says:

    It’s great if you’re into Benny Hill-type comedy, annoying if you’re not.

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