Smash ’em Up

After filming Mr. Nice Guy’s finale, production company Golden Harvest was banned from future filming in the area. The scene involves Jackie Chan driving a multi-ton construction vehicle through the villain’s home. Between the explosions, shattering glass, and debris, the sequence left such a mess, Australia deemed the result unacceptable. On screen, despite the lack of Chan’s physicality, Mr. Nice Guy rates as one of action star’s pinnacles.

Mr. Nice Guy is a movie that continually one-ups itself. A few small foot chases leads to horse & carriage spectacle rising to a construction site brawl that sees Chan narrowly dodging a live table saw. Then comes the smashing.

A small bit of cinematic PTSD occurs during a mall fight, running the risk that Chan might attempt to kill himself again after his willingness to try in Police Story. But no, Chan has other methods, like staging a fight on a moving horse carriage with minimal trickery; the camera makes sure to put the running animals and the punching in the same frame. That’s insanity.

Mr. Nice Guy is a movie that continually one-ups itself

Chan plays a TV chef, inadvertently pulled into a pure ‘90s story about a videotaped drug deal and the guilty thugs chasing said tape down. “The kitchen is a safe place,” says Chan’s on-screen uncle, soon proving untrue in a movie like this. A thin narrative plays to career irony, referencing the danger in police work and safety in professional cooking. Somehow, Chan managed to make both equally harrowing in his prime.

Away from its stellar action, Mr. Nice Guy isn’t much. It’s filled with non-actors, all stilted in their dialog. Chan is hardly a character – no one questions his athletic ability, an interesting trait for a TV cook stereotype. Richard Norton leads a stream of kooky, overplayed bad guys who mostly exist to get punched. A small cocaine trail exists to add an edge and purpose for the tape. Although shot in Australia, that adds nothing other than irritating local governments.

Luckily, the entertainment value is ever present. Comedy consistently works. A small (non) love triangle brings enjoyably awkward laughs, better than the repetitive damsel routine during action scenes. It’s enthusiastic and fast, never boring. When it came to the US via New Line Cinema, the studio cut 10-minutes, but that wasn’t necessary. Mr. Nice Guy never loses its energy in its original form.

Video

Finally available on Stateside home video uncut, Warner Archive issues Mr. Nice Guy on a splendid Blu-ray. The transfer carries the look of a recently completed master, and it’s easy to believe Warner’s claim of a 4K source. Sharpness excels at resolving detail, bringing extensive texture into the frame. Close-ups draw out facial definition and location wide angles find every brick in buildings.

Clean, thin grain appears natural. There’s no sign of noise coming from the encode.

Color proves rich, certainly emboldened by this disc. Flesh tones maintain accuracy with dazzling primaries around them. Mr. Nice Guy also doesn’t waste contrast, taking place mostly during the day, excelling at brightness. The few darker scenes draw on firm, stable black levels to keep dimension intact.

A quick note on the included New Line version – there’s no visible clean-up applied as dirt runs through the print. Some processing leaves things smeary, and colors bleed. This is clearly not a new master, but since it’s a bonus (and obsolete at this point), oh well.

Audio

DTS-HD comes in 5.1, although the rear channels don’t do anything. It’s more an extended stereo mix with a tight soundstage and limited positional material. Mild LFE lacks the weight needed to match the finale’s destruction.

Fidelity wanes overall, the thin dialog unusual given Mr. Nice Guy’s (lack of) age. It sounds a decade older than it is.

Extras

Other than the US New Line edit, nothing.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Mr. Nice Guy
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

While stuck with non-actors, for Mr. Nice Guy that doesn’t matter as the pace and ridiculously perfect action makes up for everything else.

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