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The Asian ApertureCity Hunter
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, September 8, 2013    Share

During the opening scene of City Hunter, Jackie Chan and his partner, are fighting against multiple thugs as comic book balloons appear with words like pow, bam, and pop, that comes straight out of the 60ís era Batman TV series with Adam West and Burt Ward. This scene sets the tone that is a departure from the typical 80ís and 90ís Jackie Chan movie because it combines camp, slapstick, and a cartoony approach with humorous special effects.

City Hunter is based on the popular manga series by Tsukasa Hojo that appeared in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1985 Ė 1991 and tells the story of private investigator, Ryo Saeba, who battles crime in Tokyo. Saeba is a womanizer who only takes on cases that involve beautiful female clients. When his partner, Hideyuki Makimura, is murdered, just before dying, Makimura tells Ryo to take care of his younger sister, Kaori. Makimura also demands that Ryo swears that he will never try to seduce her. Ryo agrees because she is just a young girl. However problems occur as she matures and becomes gorgeous. At that point Ryo is frustrated, wishing he never made that vow. Throughout the manga and in this 1993 Golden Harvest live action movie, Kaori often gets so angry when Ryo hits on other girls that she takes a giant oversized mallet and whacks him on top of the head.

Wealthy newspaper CEO, Koji Imumura, has a cute daughter, Shizuko (Kiyoko in the dub version,) who is squandering her time by running off with her no good friends and making daddy worried. It is up to Ryo and Kaori to find Shizuko and bring her back. Ryo spots her in a skateboard park and when he attempts to take her, she tells her friends that she is being sexually assaulted and runs off. All of her friends jump on skateboard and take off after Ryo. This is an amazing chase scene with Jackie Chan performing stunts that only he can pull off as he jumps and dodges fast moving cars on the street.

Eventually Shizuko gets aboard the luxury cruise ship the Fuji Maru Ryo gets thrown out for not having a ticket and has to sneak onboard. The rest of City Hunter is set on the ship. As Ryo tries to find Shizuko, while staring at pretty girls in swimsuits by the pool, a terrorist group takes over the ship.

City Hunter is never boring and one funny scene has Ryo and Shizuko entering a movie theater to escape henchmen. On the big screen the final fight of Game of Death is playing with Bruce Lee fighting against the extremely tall and formidable Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Ryo looks up at the screen and then tells Shizuko that he could do that. Then he gets his chance when two tall opponents, that resemble Kareem, take him on. Ryo doesnít do very well against these two very strong opponents so he watches Bruce Lee fighting Kareem and applies the same techniques. Ryo wins but he is less heroic than Lee. In a nod from the older generation to the younger, Ryo turns to the screen with Bruce Lee looking at him and tells Lee how good he is. Bruce responds by saying that he isnít too bad either. It is nice to see this because just as Bruce Lee dominated 70ís era kung fu movies, Jackie Chan did so in the 80ís and 90ís. Lee gave Chan a big break by using him as a stuntman on Fists of Fury and Enter the Dragon.

There are so many Hong Kong and Western celebrities in City Hunter and lots of pop culture references. My favorite one is when Ryo enters an arcade and takes on the main henchman played by Gary Daniels. Daniels beats up Ryo and throws him into a Street Fighter II arcade game. Ryo suffers a severe electric shock and then suddenly becomes the Street Fighter character, E. Honda the sumo wrestler. Daniels is already dressed up to resemble Ken and they fight it out using fighting moves from the game. Ryo is defeated time and time again and finally wins when he is transformed into Chun-Li. That is a very funny fight scene with Jackie Chan in drag dressed up as Chun-Li performing her multiple kicks.

City Hunter has a lot to offer fans of manga, anime, Hong Kong action movies, Batman style camp, comic book fans, and anyone looking to watch a stylized entertaining movie that is never boring. My only complaint is that the humor is corny and is sometimes over-exaggerated. This just doesnít work for my tastes but it may be funny to you. However the stunt work and fights, a trademark of most Jackie Chan movies, makes up for any shortcomings. It is on my list of top 5 Jackie Chan movies. Look for City Hunter on DVD or online and see what you think.


4 out of 5 Stars

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2013 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2013 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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