In an era where the anime/manga adaptations were much less in frequency and quality, the live-action edition of “City Hunter” was one of the most accomplished, particularly due to the combination of Wong Jing as director and Jackie Chan as protagonist, both of which could be characterized as the embodiments of the action comedy, that is the main genre of the franchise.
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Ryo Saeba and his assistant Kaori Makimura (who is in love with him and has to put up with his constant womanizing and lazyness) are assigned to locate Shizuko Imamura, the runaway daughter of the CEO of a prominent Japanese newspaper. After a fight that ends up with Kaori abandoning him, Ryo finds himself on Shizuko’s heels aboard a leisure ship, which, unfortunately for both of them, is under attack by an international crime syndicate headed by “Don Mac” who wants to kidnap the passengers. Ryo finds himself having to save the girl and to exterminate the criminals, with the help of police officer Saeko Nogami and her friend, and also of Kaori, who also happens to be on the ship by chance, in the company of a distant cousin who wants to marry her.
Wong Jing directs a genuine action comedy, which, in the spirit of the original medium, is filled with quirkiness and a rather entertaining silliness, mostly deriving from Ryo, who is as clumsy as he is capable. In that fashion, the film is filled with gags, which even extend to the action scenes, who linger more towards the comedy than intense action. The result, however, works quite well, with scenes like the one in the screening room where “Game of Death” is playing and even more, in the fight between Ryo and Don Mac’s henchman, which has the former transforming into various characters from the “Street Fighter” video game, including Chun Lee, i and the latter into Ken, n the most hilarious sequence in the film.
Another main element of the movie is the sensualism emitting from the female presences, all of which are gorgeous and are presented with certain sultriness. In that fashion, Joey Wong as Kaori, Kumiko Goto as Shizuko, Chingmy Yau as Saeko and Carol Wan as Saeko’s friend are a pleasure to look at, while the “girls with guns” concept (which was still not a trend at the time) also provides a number of eye-candy moments.
Of course, Jackie Chan as Ryo is the absolute protagonist, with him in top form, both in the action and the comedic scenes while he also functions as stunt coordinator, with great results. The fight with Don Mac’s henchman may be the funniest one, but the one that truly stands out is the one with McDonald himself, with Richard Norton giving a great performance as Ryo’s adversary, in a lengthy, as much as impressive sequence.
Not much to add here, if you like, action, comedy, watching Jackie Chan at his peak, and beautiful women, you have to look no further, “City Hunter” has all these elements in abundance.