Even by the standards of a latter-day Jackie Chan movie, "Mr. Nice Guy" is pretty silly stuff. Plot is never the point in these things; action is. But the action here is showing signs of tiring.
The film supposedly has nine fight scenes and more stunts than the past three Jackie Chan pictures combined. But none of those scenes is a show-stopper, like the motorcycle chase and wind-tunnel battle of Chan's last effort, "Operation Condor." At first, the humor is there, as are Chan's charisma and eye-popping physical prowess. But after a while, a sameness sets in, and you begin to wonder whether Chan wouldn't be better off turning to serious matters for a film or two.
This time out, Chan is a Melbourne, Australia-based celebrity chef named Jackie -- any other character names became moot long ago -- who gets tangled up with two warring gangs of hoods, each of which is after an incriminating videotape that wound up in Jackie's possession. Also involved are a TV reporter (Gabrielle Fitzpatrick) who made the tape but accidentally winds up with a video of one of Jackie's cooking shows; Jackie's feisty assistant (Karen McLymont); and his whiny girlfriend (Miki Lee, who's positively nerve-racking).
The videotape is merely an excuse for a series of chases and fights, which is what we expect in a Chan movie. What we don't expect is for the chases and fights to be near-misses: The best scenes, including a lengthy fight at a construction site and a horse-drawn-carriage chase, just don't have that extra punch of adrenalin or that jaw-dropping stunt that would put them over the top.
'Mr. Nice Guy'
Starring Jackie Chan and Richard Norton
Directed by Samo Hung
Released by New Line Cinema
Rated PG-13 (violence, language; scantily clad women)
Sun Score: **
Pub Date: 3/20/98