The Scoop: PG-13 1998, directed by Benny Chan and Jackie Chan and starring Jackie Chan, Michelle Ferre, and Mirai Yamamoto
Tagline: Fight now. Ask questions later.
Summary Capsule: Jackie Chan kicks international butt to uncover a conspiracy.
Justin’s Rating: SING WITH ME! “Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting…”
Justin’s Review: This is the best Jackie Chan film ever made. “Huh?” you go. “Justin, I’ve never heard of this movie. Are you sure you’re not developing an overactive imagination?” (side note: wouldn’t that be an interesting web site – someone reviewing imaginary films?) Actually, the first sentence in this review is accurate and I stand by it fully. Who Am I? is a Chan film that was produced and shown primarily on USA and HBO, although it easily could have reigned at the box office. Now it’s out on video, and you best pick up a copy or I shall have to send you out to the Satellite of Love.
Who Am I? definitely has a bigger budget, better special effects, and even a rudimentary plot to propel it over past Chan vehicles. Jackie Chan, our ever favorite short guy, is a commando that participates in the hijacking of some scientists and special meteor fragments. Naturally, his superiors cross him and his team, leaving Chan for dead in the middle of Africa. When Chan awakes, he has partial amnesia and can only ask the native villagers “Who am I?” (they thus call him this as his name, the lamest joke in the movie). [deep breath: we’re only in the middle of the plot summary] Chan then returns to society and has to (1) get his memory back while (2) avoiding the bad guys bent on killing him, even though Chan also has to (3) find allies among the spies that befriend him, and finally (4) he has to participate in a lot of sugar-crazed fights.
While slow at first, you must must must stick with this film. Before long, you’re treated to numerous cinematic firsts, such as an incredible car chase where two people drive together handcuffed, and Chan utilizing wooden Dutch shoes as weapons. The humor runs high and free, which are always some of the best points of Jackie Chan movies. Finally, the coup de grace of Who Am I? is a visually incredible 15-minute fight sequence that pits Chan against two guys (one a very tall kicker, one a lightning-fast puncher) on the top of a building. To watch this fight is to leave you breathless; hyperkenetic is only one of the words I’d use to describe it.
One of the strangest scenes of the movie is when Chan discovers buggy racers in the African wilderness. When a driver is hurt, Chan fashions an IV out of a (get this!) coconut and some tubing. A stunned onlooker comments, “Only special forces know this technique.” This raises some disturbing questions. First, is coconut milk really safe to have injected straight into your vein? And second, what part of special forces (natch) training teaches you to create medical equipment from tropical fruit?
Even if you don’t believe me, check out other reviewers of Who Am I? and you’ll discover that this film is nearly universally praised. Do the Chan. Do Who Am I?
- Ron Smoorenburg (the kicking guy Jackie fights at the end) not only has 11 foot high kicks, but his own website. Check out http://www.ron-smoorenburg.com/
- Who Jackie Chan sends the bad guy’s money to
- Outtakes during the credits
- Immobilizing foam! Where do I get some?
- Peagram42 wrote in to say: “Coconut milk can be used in place of blood plasma in a pinch.”
If you liked this movie, try these:
- Rumble In The Bronx
- Jackie Chan’s First Strike
- Operation Condor