Thursday, June 21, 2012


Who Am I?
Director: Benny Chan & Jackie Chan
Year 1998

Who Am I is a high octane thriller that features enough action-packed moments and spectacular stunts to satisfy any fan of Jackie Chan’s cinematic stylings. Directed by both Benny and Jackie Chan, this intense entry is overwhelmingly ambitious, telling an intriguing story about one man’s loss of memory and the journey he must take to find out who he really is. With its mysterious plot and espionage-filled moments of grandeur, Who Am I sets the stakes high on what Jackie Chan can accomplish and the epic battle at the end of this film is one for the books. If you’re in need of a Jackie fix, than this film should do the trick.

The film follows a Special Forces agent by the name of Jackie, who after finishing up his latest mission is double-crossed and left for dead after a helicopter crash. When he comes to, he has no recollection of how he got there or even what his name is, but after being taken in by a local South African tribe, he is then named Whoami by the tribesmen. Determined to find out who he is, Jackie sets off on a wild adventure that has him traversing jungles, deserts, bustling metropolises, and towering skyscrapers. The only catch is that the closer he comes to remembering who he is, the closer he comes to being assassinated by the ones who double-crossed him. Can Jackie overcome the odds and remember who he is? Do I even have to ask? Hold on to your butts as Jackie Chan figures out his true identity in….. WHO AM I?!?!?!

Jackie Chan plays the role of, who else, but Jackie, the amnesia suffering badass who’s a regular James Bond. Chan cranks up the formula that won him over so many fans in the past, and makes for a splendidly super secret agent, but in a style that is truly his own. The man may be 44 years old in this movie, but you’d never guess it in the way he moves across the screen or still puts his body in harms way. In this role, Jackie performs some extremely impressive stunts including a death-defying rooftop fight scene, a dizzying fall that makes Jackie look like a human version of a yo-yo, and a breathtaking slide that boasts Jackie gliding down a side of a glass building hundreds of feet above the air. These are all exceptionally done and intricately planned out stunts that look like they were performed in the most spontaneous of ways. As for the personality of Jackie’s agent, I’d say that he leans more towards the serious, but often at times can be a little goofy when a few of the comedic moments of the film make their presence known. All in all, this is one hell of an entry in Jackie’s expansive career and his performance is one that I love visiting over and over again.

Along for the ride are Michelle Ferre as Christine Stark and Mirai Yamamoto as Yuki. Ferre plays the role of the illusive reporter that seems to know a great deal more than she leads Jackie’s character to believe, while Yamamoto plays the role of the silly, but hard as nails, racecar driver who helps Jackie out of a few sticky situations. Together the two women make a great combination to aid Jackie on his mission for rediscovery and luckily both women are given ample opportunity to showcase what they are made of. On the opposing side of the fight card we have Ron Smerczak as Morgan, the snake in the grass CIA operative who will stop at nothing in order to dispose of Jackie before he regains his memory back. Ron is absolutely ruthless in this one and he treads the fine line of bad taste with some of his delivered lines, but in my opinion that’s the fun of his role. He played a perfect crooked CIA operative and the fact that the last scene of the film has him being pursued by a small army of soldiers, who are literally surrounding him from every direction; his character still keeps trying to get away even though the situation is hilariously dire and inescapable in the simplest of terms.

What’s really nice about this film is that it captures the same atmosphere and sense of adventure that you’d find in many of the popular spy films throughout the ages. Much like his genre bending in the Armour of God series, Jackie takes the aspects that are prevalent in a James Bond film and spatters them across the movie’s narrative in order to make his own hybrid of espionage-filled adventures. We’ve got intrigue with the amnesia angle, we’ve got adventure with the globe trotting aspects of the locations, we’ve got action with Jackie’s trademark stunts and tightly planned-out fight choreography, we’ve got a superb villain and his group of henchmen and minions to do his bidding, and we’ve got a pair of lovely ladies to fill in the femme fatale portions of the film and there’s your Bond sandwich. The end result is highly entertaining and perfectly pitched as a fun romp through espionage filled waters.

As mentioned above, the film has no shortage of heart stopping moments provided by a top formed Chan that really doesn’t know the meaning of the word quit. From a masterfully directed car chase that features a breakdancing and gravel-spitting racecar, to a fight on a cobblestone street that showcases Jackie taking on a group of baddies while wearing wooden clogs on his feet, to an epic rooftop battle between two seasoned fighters that has to be seen to be believed, you’ll come to find that this film really packs a punch. As for the closing battle, the rooftop fight on top of the Rotterdamm building is a thing of beauty matching Jackie up against Dutch black belt Ron Smoorenburg and Hong Kong actor and martial artist David Leung. The choreography in this fight sequence is mesmerizing and the inclusion of a few key comedic moments that showcase some of Jackie Chan’s clever sprinkles of genius, really add to the enjoyability of the fight scene. This moment of the film is without a doubt one of the greatest highlights of the movie and it’s topped off with a spectacular stunt that showcases Jackie sliding down the side of the Rotterdamm building itself, the crazy bastard. All in all, this film is a true testament to Jackie’s painstaking efforts in making a feature that pushes all the boundaries of his previous efforts, gifting another great entry in his illustrious career of wonderful gems. Who am I indeed!

Who Am I is a rip roaring roller coaster of a film that delivers a great deal of awe-inspiring moments while at the same time showing that Jackie Chan really is the man when it comes to action and stunts. With Jackie in prime form, the film boasts a performance that is highly energized and thoughtfully comedic in all the right places. Chan’s secret agent is a bit of a goof, but not so overwhelming of a prankster that it takes away from some of the more seriously charged portions of the film.

The cast for the movie is also quite inspiring as it brings in an array of actors to fill up its Bond style formula. Mirai Yamamoto and Michelle Ferre inject the film with a great deal of sassy pizzazz, while Ron Smerczak takes the role of the evil and ambitious CIA operative to new and entertaining heights. Incorporated along with this lively cast is a set of action sequences and outstanding fight choreography that really crank up the pace of the film as it sets your pulse racing. The fact that the movie concludes with an eye-opening fight scene that features Ron Smoorenburg and David Leung taking on Jackie atop of the Rotterdamm building is essentially the icing on this highly enjoyable cake. Do yourself a favor and check this Jackie starring vehicle out for yourself. It really is that damn good. Who Am I is…..

What's up weirdo.

Jackie get down from there you little monkey!

Guys, there is a time and place for thumb wrestling. Now is not it.

It was probably the most awkward dinner proposition that Jackie ever received.

Again with the climbing on shit! Don't you respect anyone's property?

Jackie finds out the hard way that the car is a stick shift. Ouch!

Jackie has a hard time with goodbyes.

You don't want to be around when Jackie starts pointing fingers.

Caught red-handed you poodle snatching bastard!

No one puts Jackie in the corner. No one!

Shhhhh.... I'm about to kick your ass.

Jackie I see you, you little sneak.

This guy just got Jackie'd.

Prepare for one epic fight scene.

Sweet mother of god! That's one hell of a nice jacket!

Quit whining you cry-baby.


This is probably the most ridiculous car in the world.


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