Watch City Hunter
- 1 hr 45 min
Jackie Chan's City Hunter from 1993 is a supremely enjoyable action comedy with an irresistible lead performance. Although loosely based on the Japanese manga series of the same name, the movie is more focused on delivering a funny and wacky tribute to classic Hollywood films and pop culture references, ranging from James Bond to Street Fighter. The plot revolves around Ryo Saeba (Chan), a private detective and ladies' man who specializes in protecting beautiful women from danger. When he is hired by a wealthy businessman to find his runaway daughter, Ryo ends up on a luxury cruise ship that becomes a target of a terrorist group trying to steal a secret weapon. Along with his partner, Kaori Makimura (played by Joey Wang), a tough and resourceful martial artist, Ryo must fight his way through the gang's henchmen, while also facing his own personal demons and romantic pursuits. From the opening credits sequence, which features a playful animation of Chan as a video game character, to the climactic action set-pieces that take place in a giant Street Fighter arcade, City Hunter is a movie that never takes itself too seriously and knows how to have fun. Admittedly, some of the humor and references may feel dated or nonsensical to modern audiences, but there is a joyous energy to the film's zaniness that is infectious. One of the most impressive aspects of City Hunter is the sheer variety of action scenes and stunts that Chan performs throughout the movie. As always, he brings his signature blend of acrobatics, martial arts, and slapstick humor to every fight sequence, whether it's a brawl in a sushi restaurant or a showdown with a villainous Richard Norton on a helipad. However, what sets City Hunter apart from other Chan movies is the range of styles and genres that it incorporates into its action. For example, there is a standout sequence where Ryo is stuck in an elevator with a group of fighters, including a Bruce Lee lookalike and a giant sumo wrestler, and they all engage in a goofy yet thrilling martial arts battle. Another scene pays tribute to Bruce Willis' iconic scene in Die Hard, as Ryo uses his shirt to swing down from a window and escape from a group of terrorists. And of course, there is the aforementioned Street Fighter sequence, which sees Ryo and Kaori transform into video game characters and battle a series of digitized bosses. Despite the focus on humor and action, City Hunter also has its share of heartfelt and dramatic moments, mostly related to Ryo's troubled past and his unresolved feelings for his partner. Chan does a commendable job of balancing his usual comedic persona with some emotional depth, and the chemistry between him and Wang is engaging enough to invest in their characters' relationship. As for the supporting cast, Richard Norton makes for a suitably menacing and charismatic villain, while the rest of the ensemble, including Chingmy Yau and Gary Daniels, are mostly there to provide eye candy and martial arts skills. There are also some notable cameos from Hong Kong movie industry legends, such as Jackie Chan's own mentor, Sammo Hung, as well as Yuen Biao and Eric Tsang. The production values of City Hunter are top-notch, with some lavish sets and costume designs that evoke the glamour of the cruise ship and the various settings the characters find themselves in. The music score by Chan's frequent collaborator, composer J. Peter Robinson, is a mix of '90s pop and orchestral themes that add to the movie's playful tone. Overall, City Hunter is a fantastic showcase of Jackie Chan's comedic and martial arts talents, as well as a loving tribute to the movies and games that inspired it. While not quite as story-driven or emotionally resonant as some of his other films, it excels at delivering a barrage of inventive and entertaining action sequences that are sure to leave a smile on any viewer's face.