我是誰
Who Am I? (1998)


Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 10/16/2012

Jackie is a CIA operative who is left amnesiac after his unit is betrayed by their superiors in Africa (not Australia, honest!). All he wants is to find out who he is, but forces beyond his control are determined to embroil him in a struggle for a new energy source.

WHO AM I? is a dumbed down action film that feels like a Hollywood B-movie despite the Chinese names at the top of the credits. The script is cliche ridden, and when it occasionally tries something half intelligent it instantly spoils it by explaining it in painful, one-syllable words for the chronically stupid.

The acting is simply appalling... Chinese directors and casting agents seemingly cannot tell when a Western actor is lifeless, false and hammy. The film seems to have been shot in English, so why does an early scene in a military meeting between Western officials have the worst post-dubbing ever?

The direction and camerawork feel like a TV movie, the editing is poor (and we know Peter Cheung can do better). Double take impacts were not cool in 80's Jean Claude Van Damme films, and haven't gotten any cooler since.

The action is competent, but very predictable. Only the rally influenced car chase is genuinely interesting.

The DVD inlay claims that this is "the best Jackie Chan film of the 90's"... at least it limits itself to his weakest decade... bit it is still quite wrong. It is actually shit.

Reviewer Score: 2

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 05/05/2006
Summary: Well, I thought it was great!

An operative of an elite military unit (Chan) wakes in an African village with no memory of his past. Travelling the world, he discovers his past is inexorably linked with Morgan (Smerczak) and the quest for a source of unlimited fuel that could also be used as a terrifying weapon.

Looking at other reviews of this film makes me think I’m probably its biggest fan. While I readily admit that you could fly an airship through the plotholes and the acting is quite appalling (by everyone who has at least one line of dialogue), I find it rather enjoyable. It’s not Academy Award™ material, but it never pretends to be and apart from the feeling you get that the scriptwriters bit off way more than they could chew, it mainly works out quite nicely.

The usual problem of a Hong Kong production filming in English producing some poor performances is compounded by the addition of Michelle Ferre as reporter/girl-with-a-secret Christine. In real life, she was a reporter of French and Japanese descent with no acting experience until Jackie took a shine to her. You can see why he did, and why he wanted her in the film – she’s quite simply stunning, with a gorgeous face and striking dark eyes. To say she can’t act is a little harsh under the circumstances, and in all fairness, hers is not the worst performance in the film. Jackie himself is not without his faults in the acting department – the scene where he raises his arms to the sky to cry “Who am I?” in torment makes me cringe aver single time. Rounding out the team is Yamamoto Mirai as Japanese racing driver Yuki, who is apparently a professional actress although you may not be able to guess from her hammy performance.

The ladies’ roles are similar to that of the hopeless comic relief characters of PROJECT A PART II or OPERATION CONDOR, and at times WHO AM I? does feel very similar in style to the latter title. This probably means that if you didn’t enjoy OPERATION CONDOR, you probably won’t enjoy this. Although some attempts to make this film reach an international audience are made – the English language dialogue and the inclusion of some rather big explosions – this is still very much a Hong Kong film with a very Chinese sensibility. That is why, I think, people have such a hard time connecting with it. If put against your typical Hollywood blockbuster of the period, WHO AM I? just looks hokey and weird. As a Hong Kong action movie, it can hold its own against the best of them.

No discussion on WHO AM I? can be complete without addressing the African segment of the film, where Chan wakes to find he’s lost his memory. This is an obvious reworking of Chan’s Eastern/Western idea that he had been talking about throughout the nineties and was used wholesale by Sammo Hung in the film ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA AND AMERICA. While I indeed admire Chan’s film, I do feel that Sammo made the most out of the idea, although his methods for acquiring the material might be quite ignoble. On this viewing, it was plain to me that the African tribe sequence is easily the weakest part of the film. It feels condensed and doesn’t ring true. The film was originally going to be shown in two parts and it does appear that there was a lot of material from this part that didn’t make the final cut. On the strength of what’s here, I would say that’s for the best – although we will probably never know for sure whether the inclusion of more material would have improved matters.

There’s a noticeable rise in the fun factor immediately following Jackie’s departure from the tribe, and the gags come thick and fast. While the action scenes are not as plentiful and intricate as his earlier films, what’s here is still pretty impressive. The brief skirmish in South Africa where Jackie is handcuffed and being beaten on by a group of thugs is reminiscent of the scene in OPERATION CONDOR where Jackie fights off the fanatics in De Garcia’s apartment. Other stand out moments occur on top of a Rotterdam skyscraper, where Jackie and Ron Smoorenburg start kicking the hell out of each other, and a chase through the Dutch streets which even manages to get a brief but funny clog fight thrown in.

As with GORGEOUS, this film has been mauled for its “international” (i.e. US) release – approximately sixteen minutes’ worth of footage has ended up being removed. It is therefore necessary to track down the increasingly scarce Universe DVD if you want to see the film the way the makers intended on this format (I believe the VCD version is still available). Although the transfer’s quite unremarkable, and you have to manually switch on the English subs for the African section of the film, this really is one of the shortest two hour long films I’ve ever seen and deserves to be seen in its entirety.

Although one of the most boneheaded Jackie Chan films in terms of the script (he begins a sentence with “One thing my father taught me...”, which for a man with total amnesia is pretty strange), it’s a fun ride and in my opinion Jackie’s last truly great film. Or at least the last film where it is easily recognisable as a Jackie Chan film in terms of style and content. And for me, that’s the same thing.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 03/08/2006
Summary: silly chan fun...

yep, i just picked up the 'asian cut' of this as i'd only seen the 'international cut' at the cinema. i liked the extra scenes that were added at the start, basically fleshing out jackie's character and adding a few more bits of comedy.

action wise, there's an interesting military operation at the beginning of the film and some car action, but jackie doesn't really get going until just before the hour mark. but, when he does, there's some pretty good stuff and choreography that's as inventive as ever.

so, another chan film that, whilst not one of his best, is still a pretty decent watch...


Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/27/2005

Chan is a secret agent trying to obtain a deadly new substance which could turn into a powerful new weapon when he loses his memory. After being rescued by an African tribe, Chan takes the name "Who Am I" and goes on a world-wide crusade to find his identity while being chased by some crooked CIA agents.

Who Am I? was released directly to cable (and then to video/DVD) in the US, but I don't see why. It's better than many of Chan's re-releases (such as Mr. Nice Guy and Twin Dragons) that have hit the US recently. True, the movie does have its' problems -- mostly due to the butchering editing job Columbia did which cuts out much of the African sequence and creates huge plot holes (for instance, in one scene Chan sees trucks and says "I'm saved," and then in the next he's lurking around in the bush with face paint). Who Am I? also suffers from the no-brain female sidekick syndrome found in many of Chan's movies -- the Japanese race car driver (Mirai Yamamoto) in particular is probably one of the most annoying characters ever in a Chan movie, and that's saying a lot. The script (written by Chan) is also laughably bad in parts.

However, Who Am I? is saved by its action sequences. Though it takes a while to get to them, the fights and chases in Who Am I? are among Chan's best work in years. The finale in particular is great. It brings back what has been sorely missing in many recent Chan movies -- a great final brawl (which will bring back memories of Drunken Master 2 for long-time Chan fans) followed by a breath-taking stunt. The last half-hour of Who Am I? will remind you of why you started liking Jackie Chan in the first place, especially after the anemic (and over-rated, in my opinion) Rush Hour.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]


Reviewed by: leepifer
Date: 04/22/2005
Summary: International

It seems that HK people divorced Jackie after "Drunken Master II".
It was like a "farewell" movie to his land...Until "New Police Story"!

At that time and with "R.I.T.Bronx",He assumed to be an international star(it means:in US too)and opened the Hollywood doors for himself but he brought HK style(=mode)too and Big Studios began to call some Chineses directors,actors,choregraphs etc...
But he leaves HK and people were disappointed and they did not support Jackie any more.

The HK heroes were called Jet Li,Andy Lau Lau Ching Wan...:it was their chance those heavy weights have gone.

Then he made "Ruh hour".

Then he made "Who am I?".
Just after his first Holly-experience,he needed to show that he was still himself,of or the question in the movie title.
He wasn't anymore a HK actor nor an Holly-actor.
But he's more than that:he is international and it is the borest artistic-thing:the consensus.
But the film is still good.
It has a plot who let the action to be progressive and the building stunt and the roof fight are great "top-chan-level".
The African scenes are quite beautiful and delivers an interesting ecologist message(remember that kids are watching).
True that he could cut some material to give a better rythm to the movie.
True he could improve some parts of the story but this film looks like a race between each destination and Jackie agenda!
One more time,he tried his best to give people a good time and discovered he was famous in South-Africa!
He didn't lose everything in this adventure,even if it will not be any more like "before"(the 80's)in HK.


Reviewed by: Kyashan
Date: 05/06/2003
Summary: Jackie is Jackie

Honestly I watched better Jackie Chan's movies, anyway this is a normal movie.
A good direction for a classic movie of martial arts. I am a Jackie Chan's fan and I can't say he is a bad actor, he is great and I liked his performances in this movie like all his kung fu style. Anyway I can't give a high ranting... in my hopinion is not good and not bad.

Ranting 7/10


Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/16/2002
Summary: PERFECT TITLE!

The title says it all for me! 'Who Am I' asks Jackie...well, I don't think he really knew when he was making this. Making it look like a US movie for a start...it's about Americans. Who cares. The US makes these movies all the time, Jackie needs to stay in his own backyard in Hong Kong making movies the way he used to.

This is probably the worst movie he has done, purely if not anything else, because of the countless movies he has ripped off in this. Even little things that he thought he might have gotten away with caught my attention. The story is all over the place, and nobody seems to know what they are doing.

This really is crap, really it is. I don't even recommend anyone seeing it, let alone buying it!

AVOID!

Rating: 1/5


Reviewed by: dragyn
Date: 03/31/2001
Summary: Jackie Makes a Hollywood Blockbuster - in Hong Kong

"Who Am I?" seems very much like a film that has been made in Hong Kong - but for American fans.

Of course, it is this slide into "Westerness" that Hong Kong film fans dislike so much. In Hong Kong today, so many actors and direcotrs seem to be selling themselves out to Hollywood critics and audiences, and casting artistic integrity by the wayside. Arguably, Jackie Chan has been doing this for some time: "First Strike", "Rumble in the Bronx", and "Mr. Nice Guy" are all perefect examples of the Hollywood movie made in Hong Kong.

But this time, Chan seems to be even more determined to out-Hollywood Hollywood than ever: he has everything, from a big budget to American dialogue. The film is even shot in English language.

Unfortunately, as many a Chan fan knows, Chan is never better than when he is himself - not Clint Eastwood, not Bruce Lee, not a Hollywood star; just himself. Here, he fails to be himself at all - even his trademark humour is gone, leaving the movie with a much darker flavour than I expected to see in a Chan movie. I think he should stop playing at being thisngs he isn't, and let us enjoy him as himself again.

(6/10)


Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 06/09/2000
Summary: One of Jackie's worst..........

I think Jackie is really running out of ideas for movies!! They just do not compare to his usually HIGH standards anymore!! This one is the worst i have seen in a long time by Jackie. PLOT, not much of one, ACTION only near the end, COMEDY, not funny. ONE good stunt down the building but it's a waste since the whole movie is crap!!

TAKE more time in developing your movies PLEASE Jackie!!

2 out of 10


Reviewed by: Mark
Date: 12/30/1999
Summary: Who is Jackie?

Jackie Chan plays a mercenary who is airdropped into South Africa as part of a raid on a secret weapon-testing lab. However, after the operation he suddenly wakes up in a tribal village, with no idea how he got there or what his name is. His repeated requests of "Who am I?" prompt the villagers to name him that. In no time flat WhoamI is decked out in the latest feather'n'leather tribal gear and notching arrows and talking dialect with the best of 'em. The appearance of some Westerners sets him in search of his roots. His first contact is with Yuki - she's a rally driver from Japan with an injured navigator. WhoamI saves the day, hitches a lift, and starts to piece together his past.

For the first half of the film, this works really well. There are dramatic flashbacks to the missing events, and a sense of tension. The African scenes are beautiful, the mercenary scenes are exciting, and there are some wonderfully crazy driving scenes - Mitsubishi put big money into this film, so Jackie takes that as a license to thrash the hell out of their merchandise. It's terrific. Don't try this on Punt Road, people. However, his journey eventually takes him to Amsterdam, and apart from an amusing clog fight, the plot just wanders away. Chan hunts the widget and gets the widget and then defends the widget from all the bad guys who want the widget. In this case the widget is the sole floppy disk in existence of the most powerful bomb formula that the world has ever seen - never has such a sophisticated set-up devolved into such a naive pay-off. Oh well. It's fun to watch him run down the side of the building, which is ultimately what Jackie Chan films are about.

The weakness of the plot is certainly not helped by the acting. Jackie ditches his familiar amiable Jackie persona in favour of an angry Jackie, tormented by the loss of his past. It's not a very consistent loss, as he's still able to pontificate on things that his father told him. As for the torment, the scene where he winds up and yells "Whooo... ammm... I?" while the helicopter camera whirls around him is just plain cringeworthy. A more interesting take on this loss-of-self is to consider that it is the real Jackie Chan who is wondering who he is - is his future in Hollywood, or in Hong Kong?

In summary, then: if you like Jackie, you know you want to see this, and you will enjoy it - the Jackie fans among my circle all called it his best in years. If you're new to him, there are about 20 films from his earlier career that are better than this one. He gets full marks for trying to inject a little more plot than usual, but loses them all when the plot's ticker gives out at the halfway mark. But it's still worth 10 bucks to see him run down the side of that building.