Street Fightin’

Jackie Chan himself rates City Hunter among his least favorite films of his own. It’s not difficult to see why this eccentric, bizarre Japanese manga adaption is an acquired taste. Surreal and weird, City Hunter never once contains any reality, a true live action cartoon in the most direct sense.

Chan is missing something about City Hunter though – a Buster Keaton admirer, there’s plenty of Keaton in this movie. Aboard a cruise ship, chased by terrorists, Chan’s escape routines capture bits from Keaton’s The Navigator in both style and athleticism. While more modern with guns and accentuated violence, the comic mayhem follows that same tradition to a precise level.

City Hunter still poses the extreme risk people see Jackie Chan films for

Oftentimes, City Hunter goes totally off the rails, and in a sequence made for internet virility (but filmed years before such a thing existed), Chan and villainous henchman Gary Daniels don costumes from the uber-popular videogame Street Fighter II. If one sequence defines City Hunter, it’s this fight, and not only due to the gaming connection, but rather the outright surrealism in the entertainment value.

Establishing its own rules (which is to say, it has none), Chan plays a womanizing private detective with a specific sense of cool that usually ends in failure. The star keeps smiling through it all, and still designs some wonderful choreographed fights, laying on the absurd shenanigans. While wires are often visible (and not just a little), that adds to the charm, and many of the stunts still feature ridiculous danger. Running from an exploding hallway or crouched under a stage as a wall of TVs explode around him, City Hunter still poses the extreme risk people see Jackie Chan films for.

Set on a ship, the location invites an endless array of characters, maybe even too many. Multiple women intermix without any distinctive personality, possibly a scripting choice to play up Chan’s schmoozing; to him, each is just an opportunity. Their antics don’t dilute the fun, but instead celebrate the opportunity to play in this world, free of restrictions or logic. It’s a movie in the truest sense of the world, total fiction and fantasy where nothing on screen can happen in reality. In that, City Hunter flawlessly emulates the manga, which is a plus for fans, and a 50/50 chance at success for everyone else.


A rather buzzy grain structure follows City Hunter through its runtime. The encode appears decent, just on the hazier side. It’s a distinct look with slight impact on fidelity and detail. At times, banding is notable too, but weirdly restricted to the grain structure.

City Hunter still looks fresh. The scan shows enough sharpness and resolution to look modern. Facial definition pops in close, and wide shots produce gorgeous looks at the Hong Kong locales. Aside from the grain, it’s the black levels/depth holding this presentation back. Cinematography looks a touch overexposed, and too often, the black levels drift into worn down gray.

Color performs better, a number of primaries exceptionally rich and bold. It’s a natural palette anchored by the crisp flesh tones. While the slight gray overcast aesthetic that lessens the black levels does fade the saturation too, that’s less faulty given the often vivid nature of certain elements (especially Chan’s cars).


Three Cantonese tracks include mono and stereo DTS-HD tracks. The two 5.1 tracks include Dolby Digital, one Cantonese and the other an English dub. The difference between the stereo and mono tracks are few beyond volume (the stereo mix is far lower). In comparison, mono is preferred for its greater range and dialog clarity. Minor splits in the stereos during the action aren’t worth the clarity loss in comparison.


Author and critic David West delivers the commentary. Additional bonuses include a 12-minute retrospective on Chan’s ’90s output with critic Andrew Heskins. Interviews include Chan, director Jing Wong, stuntman Rocky Lai, actor Richard Norton, and actor Gary Daniels. A montage of outtakes and a music video set to outtakes are follow by stills, trailers, and alternate ending credits.

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.

City Hunter
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Bizarre and eccentric, City Hunter deserves notice for its creative risks, even if they don’t often work out.

User Review
4 (1 vote)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 42 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray:

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