AsianMovieWeb logo
City Hunter - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Sing si lip yan

Hong Kong 1993

Comedy, Action

Wong Jing

Jackie Chan
Joey Wang
Kumiko Goto
Chingmy Yau
Richard Norton
Gary Daniels
Leon Lai
Michael Wong

Search AsianMovieWeb

City Hunter

Story: Ryu Saeba (Jackie Chan) is known as the "City Hunter", a private eye who has a special weakness for women. When his partner is dying he promises him to look after his niece. Now Kaori (Joey Wang) is grown up and is interested in Ryu, but Ryu loves women too much to settle for just one. Therefore, Kaori runs away and gets on a cruiser. Ryu follows her and to his surprise finds out that the girl Kyoko (Kumiko Goto), who he is supposed to look for by order of her father, is also on the ship. Shortly thereafter professional killer MacDonald (Richard Norton) takes the crew hostage and wants the numerous millionaires present to bleed out all the money they have. Ryu seems to be the only hope for the hostages, but luckily he can also count on the help of female undercover agent Anna (Chingmy Yau) and the gambler Gundam (Leon Lai). However, to face the hostage-takers and at the same time protect Kyoko turns out to be quite a challange, even for the happy-go-lucky City Hunter.

Review: Movies with Jackie Chan in the lead often tend to put too much focus on slapstick, which might not resonate with every viewer. But when throwing in Wong Jing as a director any sort of good taste certainly will fall by the wayside. So fans of Hong Kong movies already know what kind of nonsense they will have to expect. "City Hunter" is an action comedy with hit-and-miss humor. Most of the time it's a miss. You actually can have some fun with this movie, but it is a guilty pleasure. In the end this flick isn't good and thus you in fact shouldn't like it at all. Moreover, "City Hunter" is full of pecularities which begins with the fact that it actually is based on a Japanese manga.

City Hunter - Film Screenshot 11

Jackie Chan plays a lecherous and constantly hungry private eye, who is so full of himself that he believes that he needs to give all women the chance to marvel at his personality. This is nothing bad and here as well as on other occasions it becomes pretty obvious that the movie is based on a manga, but Jackie Chan in a role that does not embody the knight in shining armor cliché and in fact has some unpleasant character traits? It shouldn't surprise anyone that this doesn't work out and that Chan can't carry this kind of role in a satisfying manner. But the action comedy also features some other characters of the manga. Joey Wang ("A Chinese Ghost Story") remains the most shallow one of them. But the movie oozes out its very own kind of charm thanks to its female-centered cast. One of its positive elements.

City Hunter - Film Screenshot 12

The source material constantly shines through. Sometimes in a convincing manner as with the gambler Gundam, played by Leon Lai ("Infernal Affairs 3", "Moonlight in Tokyo"), or in rather awkward manga-grimaces. The humor is of a strongly physical nature, so much that slapstick almost doesn't suffice to describe it. There are also countless gags that can only make you shake your head in disbelief, then again, on some very few occasions, you will even find yourself laughing out loud. Still, this kind of anime slapstick will be entertaining only to those who consider this their cup of tea. As already mentioned most scenes are just absurd and awkward, though. That's where Wong Jing's signature becomes apparent.

You need an example? On the ship there is a whole song performed on a stage that will make you cringe in pain. What characterizes Wong as a filmmaker? Moments just like that, cheap jokes beyond any kind of good taste or even close to nonsense, actually requiring psychological treatment, as well as an uneven pacing. And that just sums up the main problems of "City Hunter". Next to flicks so typical for the director like "Love is a many stupid Thing" Wong every few years manages to put together a movie which apparently proves that he can make real movies as well, like "The Last Tycoon". Anyway, "City Hunter" would have become an awful film, if it weren't for the actors who have a fun time and manage to share this with the audience.

City Hunter - Film Screenshot 13

Furthermore, it has to be pointed out that the movie undoubtfully becomes better in the second half, especially since the action comes more to the foreground at that time. Also you can't deny that there are certain elements from "Die Hard" which are made use of. In this respect it also has to be noted that despite all the slapstick featured there are people gunned down by the dozen, which once again underlines the incoherent tone shifting between lightheartedness and gritty Hong Kong action. The action is quite nice to look at, although it turns out to be thinner than usual for Chan and is often carried by obvious wire-work. "City Hunter" is so ridiculous that you actually shouldn't recommend it. But in its own flaw-loaden way it in fact succeeds in being amusing as well. Because of that reason and the "Street Fighter" homage a bonus point seems to be in order.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
Buy this movie:

City Hunter - Yesasia Yesasia Logo