Monday, January 30, 2012

"City Hunter"(1993)d/Wong Jing

Whether or not you dig tonight's review, the final in the martial month of Chan-uary, depends greatly on whether you can stomach the lens-aping amplified toilet humor of director Wong Jing, the man responsible for helming such Fu Sheng titles as Hong Kong Playboys(1983) and Wits of the Brats(1983), and some ninety-eight others to date, that deal with everything from gambling to heroic bloodshed, and even taking potshots at other directors and stars that have described his work in the press with words like "cheap" and "no good" with obvious parodies in his own films.On the set of tonight's entry, based upon a popular Japanese manga, Director Wong was often seen to get into shouting matches with his leading man, Chan, who took offense to his character's womanizing(a stark contrast to the family values that the actor vigorously promotes) and having learned techniques from Bruce Lee while watching a screening of Game of Death(1978) in another sequence, calling for Wong to be ousted as director on the project.In response to Chan's open negativity towards his methods, Jing promptly parodied him two years later with his film, High Risk(1995), where a character, 'Frankie Lone'(Jackie Cheung), is a popular action star who performs all of his own stunts, but in reality, is a drunk womanizing lecher who performs no stunts himself(ouch.).Also included in that release are satirical portraits of Chan's own father, manager, and even a penis joke(!).Chan was naturally offended, and went on to disown his performance in tonight's movie, and attack Wong personally in the press.As somebody who grooves on both men's work(for the most part), I find City Hunter an unusual mix of nonsensically silly comedy and breathtaking stunts and fight choreography, and a mostly entertaining one, at that, but I'm not at all surprised to find this particular effort drawing mixed reviews from genre nuts out there.Forwards!
City Hunter, Ryu Saeba(Jackie Chan) is a sucker for chicks...
Ryu Saeba(Jackie Chan) is the legendary "City Hunter", and with the help of his love-struck assistant Kaori Makimura(Joey Wong), he's been commissioned to track down a girl named Shizuko(Kumiko Goto), the runaway daughter of a Japanese newspaper magnate.Kaori leaves Ryu to his own devices in the search after having her feelings for her employer cast aside so that he can flirt with a gaggle of other broads instead.Ryu tracks Shizuko to Victoria Park, where an elaborate skateboard chase ensues, but the young beauty manages to elude him in the end by disguising herself as a fellow and gaining passage on the Fuji Maru, a luxury cruise ship.Saeba manages to stow away, while Kaori boards the ship with her creepy cousin, Hideyuki(Michael Wong).Amongst the other passengers is Colonel Don MacDonald(Richard Norton), and a gang of heavily-armed thugs, who plan on hijacking the vessel, kidnapping and robbing the affluent cruisegoers of their valuables, in the process.Unknown to MacDonald, a sexy undercover cop named Saeko(Chingmy Yau) and her busty companion(Carol Wan) have also found their way on board with designs on stopping his crimes.With Shizuko's cabin adjacent to the colonel's, she overhears his fiendish plans, barely escaping one of his men before being brought to the boiler room by the ship's first officer, in cahoots with the baddies, only to be saved by a starving Ryu, who K.T.F.O.'s two redwood-sized brothers in the ship's theater area after being inspired by the Bruce Lee v. Kareem Abdul Jabbar fight from "Game of Death"(1978) on the big screen.He thanks the Dragon afterwards, and is surprised to hear the late movie star respond to him from the film(!).
...and cheeseburgers.Or sliders, depending on your viewpoint.
In the ship's casino, McDonald interrupts the captain's cheesy dance party, as hosted by DJ's Soft and Hard, forcing the partygoers into a card game for their lives as his henchmen snatch up the available loot.That is, until Kao Ta(Leon Lai), a stylish hustler with concealed sharpened playing card shurikens enters the game, buying time for Ryu and Shizuko's escape with the help of Saeko.McDonald's right hand man, a long haired Western muscle-laden bastard named Kim(Gary Daniels), tries to rape Kaori, while one of his gay leg fighting associates, Chen(Ken Lo), tries to ravage her cousin(!!), getting Ryu captured by the boss in the horny hijinks.As the City Hunter is about to be executed on deck the next morning, Shizuko, Saeko and her girlfriend manage to thwart the firing squad, signalling the onset of several crazy fights, not least of which pits Ryu against Kim in the gaming room, where the Westerner throws the detective into a Street Fighter II console, shocking him into assuming the roles of E. Honde(instead of "Honda", since Chan was under contract with Mitsubishi at the time) and Chun-Li to defeat Ken, before finally snapping out of it.When a Taiwanese counter-terrorism unit arrives and dispatches McDonald's men, he takes Kaori hostage, detonating several bombs he's placed around the ocean liner until Ryu squares off against him, managing to see saw-flip him onto the stage, where he inadvertently steps on the tv remote, setting off the remainder of the bombs behind the tv screens there, and wiping himself out.Back on terra firma, Kaori overhears Shizuko's father suggest that Ryu marry his daughter, and storms out into the street, where she eventually smashes her boss with a giant hammer, Python-style, sending him into a daydream, surrounded by lusty women in a swimming pool.
On a crowded ocean liner, there's nary an opportunity to be uninterruptedly creepy.
Jing also supplied the screenplays for late Fu Sheng vehicles Treasure Hunters(1981), Fake Ghost Catchers(1982), and Wits of the Brats(1983), as well as scoring cameos in such colorful genre titles as The Evil Cat(1987), A Chinese Ghost Story(1987) and the film we kicked the month off with, Twin Dragons(1991), where he plays a supernatural charlatan beaten into a wall by none other than Liu Chia Liang.Regardless of what critics say about the guy, he's not about to call it a day anytime soon, directing four movies in the past year alone.Chan followed Hunter up with Crime Story(1993) and Supercop 2(1993), before tackling the legendary Drunken Master II(1994) with elder Liu.Though he continues to release movies on a regular basis, it's been at least thirteen years since he's appeared in anything noteworthy or ambitious enough to merit attention from his core fanbase.For a guy almost sixty years old now, I'm sure he's satisfied with the way things worked out.On the scale, City Hunter earns three very silly Wops, and is definitely worth a look for the stunts, fight sequences, and hot Asian broads abound within, even if you're no big fan of Wong Jing's sense of humor.Stay tuned at the Wop, as we return to biz as usual in February, the sexiest in cult, horror, and exploitation flick reviews that you're liable to find.感谢您的阅读!
E. Honde(Jackie Chan)'s Hundred Hand Slap is too much for Ken(Gary Daniels).


Kev D. said...

Surprisingly I found this to be one of Jing Wong's least goofy films.

His stuff with Stephen Chow in the 90s was phenomenal.

beedubelhue said...

I'm a big Fu Sheng nut from way back, myself, and I love his work with Jing from the early eighties.Very entertaining stuff.


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