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Reviews & Ratings for
Who Am I? More at IMDbPro »Ngo si seoi (original title)

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33 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

Good – but the last 20 minutes are great!

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
20 April 2002

Jackie Chan is a special operative, part of an elite military unit who are employed to capture a group of scientist working on a potent force that can be a power source or a weapon of mass destruction. After the job the group is betrayed and their helicopter forced to crash – Jackie is the only survivor. He comes too much later in an African village having lost his memory. When he has regained full strength he begins to try and find who he is – however his ex-employers are also keen to ensure he knows nothing and that they can complete their work.

The story here is solid – not much more can be said than that. It works quite well as a thriller plot but it wouldn't stand up by itself. Happily we have two things saving the plot. The first is the strand of physical comedy that runs through Chan's work – here we have plenty of little jokes scattered around, e.g. Chan is fighting one man and uses the man's tie against him, another man waits to fight Chan but pointedly removes his tie first! The second (and more important) aspect is the fight scenes. For much of the film the action seems to be toned down – indeed there are only 4 or 5 main scenes in the movie where Chan lets rip. However all of these are good, however the final roof top fight (in fact the whole last 20 minutes) is excellent and worth watching the film for.

As always the film doesn't worry about details rather it focuses on choreography. This means we have bad support actors….and we do! It means that things like realism and continuity go out the window…..a car slides on it's side, spins and then turns over again – however seconds later it has no scratches anywhere! And some of the early special effects are a little ropy. Although these are minor problems.

Chan is excellent in the lead and is a real wonder to watch – I wish I could move like him now…never mind when I'm his age. His ability at both martial arts and comedy helps this film immensely. It is hard to fault him for effort.

Overall this is a good Chan movie – it has the same faults as all his movies do, but it's funny, has some good action scenes and ends with a really good conclusion. Well worth watching.

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30 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Campy Over-the-Top Cartoon Fun!

Author: roscopekoe from NYC, NY
1 October 2004

I'm astonished that there were so many negative reviews here...

This film is OBVIOUSLY not meant to be taken seriously. It is very clearly intentionally a "joke" of a film. That people would complain about bad acting, strange dubbing, and/or a convoluted plot just leaves me flabbergasted.

From the very beginning, it should be evident that a big part of the point of the film is its own self-deprecating humor. Jackie loses his memory and is picked up by a primitive African tribe. The chief asks him, in an unintelligible language, "Where do you come from? What is your name?" to which Jackie replies (not understanding the questions) "What am I doing here? Who am I?" This is a JOKE, folks.

A few minutes later, Jackie saves a snake-bite victim with an IV he improvises from a COCONUT! When he's returned to "civilization," the doctor is impressed with that tactic, saying, "That coconut IV technique is only used by elite military units!" Is there any way to even dream of taking the plot/dialogue seriously at this point?

The acting is "bad" by design. The actors were obviously told to ham up everything they did. The meeting of the American intelligence officials is a completely ironic reference to the same sort of scene you'd expect in any James Bond movie. Dialogue is intentionally absurd, plot developments are intentionally obvious. The "Morgan" character is played perfectly (and hilariously) as a crooked CIA operative out for his own gain while feigning loyalty to the USA.

Yuki is a master stunt-driver with the naivete and wide-eyed innocence of a schoolgirl. Christine Stark is a completely laughable "reporter" who fools Jackie only as a result of his head injury; after she's "exposed," she rescues Jackie in an golf cart that can't seem to move faster than an electric wheelchair.

That the villains actually join each other in a verse of song ("Friendship, friendship!") near the end should serve as a good reminder of just how camp this picture strives to be. To criticize it for this as a "failing" seems to me to profoundly miss the point. Did the same viewers dislike that "Hot Shots: Part Deux" was absurd too?

Overall, the strengths of the film deserve the attention: it is a very funny parody of the overplotted "action/intrigue" genre, it has a terrific car chase, notable action sequences, and a terrific Jackie-Chan-Style fight scene at the beginning of the film's climax.

Perhaps I enjoyed this movie because I had grown up watching the "GI Joe" cartoon series, and had always been rather insulted by the fact that it managed to be both preachy and stupid at the same time. If you're looking for a great 100 minutes of parody and HUMOR, I'd recommend this movie. If you're more interested in believability and suspending your disbelief, this film will definitely not work for you at all. Inappropriate expectations would be the only "problem" I can imagine that would reduce one's enjoyment of this film.

If you want a more serious Jackie Chan film, you might try Drunken Master II, or Police Story. But if you're looking for an enjoyable and sardonic 100 minutes, this is truly one of Jackie's great vehicles.

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24 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

A great action/adventure spoof

8/10
Author: Brandt Sponseller from New York City
8 April 2005

Jackie Chan plays a "special forces" agent in this action/adventure film that is as concerned with spoofing the genre as it is with embracing it. The film starts with Chan and fellow agents descending on a convoy through the "South African jungle" to abscond a handful of scientists who have been working on exploiting unusual properties of a mineral found in the South African mines. With the aid of extensive training and sophisticated technological gadgetry, they complete their mission successfully. But someone in the "squad" is double crossing them. As the men are headed for recreational leave, they're sabotaged. Chan makes it out alive, but barely. He hits his head and acquires amnesia. The bulk of the film has him coping with his situation--he first ends up in the middle of a traditional South African community--while government agents try to track him down and kill him.

There are some details I could not fill in above, because the primary flaw with the film, and this is what brought my score down to an 8, or a "B", rather than a 9 or 10, is that the story is almost absurdly convoluted and difficult to glean (there was also a fair amount of ridiculous English dubbing in the version I saw--it was difficult to tell how intentional the "problems" with the dubbing may have been). But the story isn't really the point; and to the extent that it is, the point may be to make it absurdly convoluted and difficult to glean--this is to a large extent a spoof, after all. More important, the story propels the film from one jaw dropping, action-filled set piece to the next. On a surface level, at least, those set pieces are the raison d'etre of Who Am I. But surprisingly perhaps, Chan, who co-directed and co-wrote the film in addition to starring in it, also has a lot of interesting subtextual things to say.

Most viewers will come to this film as Chan fans. As such, they'll be hoping to see his "trademark" martial arts abilities, impressive stunt work and notorious sense of humor; they will not leave disappointed. During the climax, Who Am I has one of the longer extended martial arts sequences in any Chan film, and it unexpectedly gets back to the basics. For at least ten minutes, Chan fights just two "big baddies" who are close matches in skill. He uses relatively few props and relies very little on moving about his environment in fancy ways.

Of course, there are plenty of props and a lot of well-choreographed, complicated blocking elsewhere. A few of these more ostentatious scenes are intentionally hilarious in their absurdity. One of the most memorable spoof scenes involves an extended car chase. Chan imports physics from an alternate universe for about half of this sequence.

As an adventure film, Who Am I presents a kind of James Bond-like travelogue. We go from the jungles of Malaysia (doubling as South Africa) to the South African plains (where Chan disguises himself as a tribesman) to Namibia for a cross-country 4 x 4 race (partially across what looks like the Etosha Pan) to the Netherlands. Those familiar with South Africa will find it amusing that during one sequence, Chan and the cohorts he picks up along the way travel from the Sun City's Lost City to downtown Johannesburg to Pretoria in a matter of minutes. But this is the movies, after all, and a fantastical work of fiction at that. The varied environments were very well chosen, providing a lot of eye candy while also providing great fodder for comic and action scenes.

While it's funny that Chan's character (who is referred to as "Jackie Chan" at one point) comes to be known as "Whoami" once amnesia sets in, there is much more intended than a silly comic device. It's significant that the film is set in South Africa, a nation with a complicated multicultural history and not a little turmoil over the same. The title isn't just a reference to amnesia or Chan's character; it's a rhetorical question about cultural and ethnic identity. The members of Chan's special forces squadron were all loaded with different passports from different countries. They were told to forget their identities. It's never clear who they were, where they came from or who they were working for--a point is made to not let the audience know, and to not even let us know whether they were "good guys" or not.

Chan has to fit into tribal culture. He becomes associated with a Chinese race team in or near Namibia, and then befriends a reporter who appears half Asian and half Caucasian. The American CIA is prominent in the film. They have their hands in every culture shown in the film. There are subtexts about globalism and how first world technology is affecting the development of non-first world countries. The ease of travel, symbolizing ethnic mobility, is a prominent theme. Chan makes sure that the film ends in the Netherlands, which has had a strong presence and influence in South Africa for hundreds of years. The villainy in the film is centered on building better weapons, which of course tend to be used to annihilate persons from opposing cultures or ethnicities. Cultural and ethnic identity has become far more complex in the last couple centuries than it ever was before, even if it was never the clear issue that many people around the world assume it to be.

That the film is able to bring up such interesting issues, all while awing us with graceful action sequences and making us laugh, makes Who Am I a very enjoyable experience. Chan fans shouldn't miss this one.

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22 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

best fight scene on film

7/10
Author: jaken77 (jaken77@yahoo.com) from Phoenix, OR
12 January 2004

ok, so the acting wasn't the greatest, but the excellence in every other aspect of the movie completely compensated for it. It had a good story, amazing action sequences, and a good combination of action and comedy (what Jackie does so well). the fight scene on top of the building is the best fight scene i've ever seen. what makes it the best is how real it is, today's movies' fight scenes are full of wires and quick cuts in editing to confuse the audience into thinking there's more going on. this fight had amazing stunts with guys who really knew what they were doing, with Jackie's trademark funny expressions mixed in. By far JC's best, and I didn't even say anything about the car stunts.

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Very cool, interesting and filled with great Jackie Chan action

Author: commanderblue from United States
9 August 2006

This is the first Jackie Chan film I saw and I loved it. I was a little bit young to understand the storyline but now that I'm older, the storyline is actually very great.

The action in this movie is a key part of this film, as it is in any martial arts film. Jackie Chan brings his usual unique fighting style on screen and the best fight of all is atop the roof of the CIA building at the films climax which is followed by an awesome stunt which I won't give away. The villain is a decent antagonist and Chan's sidekicks come in handy this time around.

Great film, it is dubbed by a few actors/actresses but just plain fun and awesome overall.

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16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Exhilarating final fight sequence redeems film.

7/10
Author: gridoon
19 February 2004

This overlong Jackie vehicle looks like a DTV flick (of course it WAS a DTV flick, but that's no excuse), has an exposition-heavy script, and some of the action set-pieces (including the car chase) lack energy, but all's forgiven when we get to the last 20 minutes, where we witness one of the most exhilarating fight sequences ever filmed, followed shortly afterwards by (arguably) THE most breathtaking stunt Chan has ever attempted on-screen - and that's saying something! (**1/2)

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16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

So awesome you can't miss it

10/10
Author: fabianmettler from Atlanta, u.s
12 October 2002

This is such an excellent movie. It starts of with jackie chan playing a commando sent out to retrieve a new weapon of some sort. Later though he gets thrown out of a helicopter due to a dreadful CIA double cross. He lands somewhere in the middle of South Africa. Soon he ends up living with some natives there and soon he becomes one of them. But the people who masterminded the double cross are out to get him, although you don't know who is and who isn't. The film has some awesome fight sequences, stunts, shootings,and chases. This is everything you would excpect froma great Jackie Chan movie.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

uneven but interestingly plotted Chan fare with a simply AMAZING stunt at the end

Author: DrLenera
28 March 2005

As with Mr Nice Guy,this Jackie Chan vehicle is basically a Hong Kong production filmed in English with mostly western actors. It's actually an odd Chan film in some respects. For a start,the first third of the film hardly seems like a Chan film at all,apart from a few comic bits of business {Chan chased up a tree by a lion}which are mostly cut from the US version anyway. Even in shortened form,and with some good desert photography,the whole 'Chan finds himself among desert tribesmen' subplot seems an unnecessarily laborious way of getting into the amnesia story that becomes the main thrust of the story.

Nevertheless,after this the film becomes solid Chan fare with the same fast pacing of Mr Nice Guy. There's a great car chase and while the fights are quite short {as with most recent Chan films,he spends a lot of time running away from opponents},it's good to see Chan bashed about a bit-he looks very vulnerable in this film. Of course the acting is weak and some of the dialogue laughable {I'm not sure I agree with the reviewer here who says it was intentionally comic,but opinions differ!},while the intrigue of the amnesia/spy plot just becomes an excuse for the usual chasing around. However,one can almost forgive all this when the climax features a great fight on top of a skyscraper followed quite simply one of the most awesome and downright foolhardy stunts Chan has done. I won't describe it in detail,just see for yourself! You WILL be amazed.

There is a sense with Who Am I that the filmmakers attempted to tell a fairly complex story and then realised they were making a Jackie Chan movie and changed it accordingly,leaving a fair bit of confusion. Interestingly,Chan's original cut was around 3 hours long,and maybe that made more sense and balanced the two elements of the film better. Still,there's a lot of fun to be had here nevertherless. And just listen to Chan rap the part English,part Chinese theme song during the end credits.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A Jackie Chan must watch!

9/10
Author: Rubyslips99-1 from United States
13 March 2006

Great great kung fu film. The plot is a farce on the typical James Bond fare of secret government conspiracies and evil men attempting to gain the means to take over the world. The strength here, instead of a huge budget full of beautiful women and nifty gadgets, is in the action sequences. The fight scenes are so much fun to watch, and Chan's car chase is also a wonderful piece of footage (with some physics+ involved). If you are looking for a great time with the kind of fast fighting and physical comedy that come with Jackie Chan then make sure you sit down to Who Am I? Also, I will say that the final fight scene between Chan and the two toughest badies in the the bad men's stock fight is incredible. My favorite fight scene of all moviedom, especially the man whose specialty is his incredible legwork.

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

One of Chan's most fun flicks.

Author: Li-1
16 January 2004

*** out of ****

Despite boasting one of the silliest non-horror titles I've heard, Who Am I? is one of Jackie Chan's best movies. No, seriously. This straight-to-cable release deserved a better fate than it received, for it's really a funny, exciting popcorn martial arts action flick that's truer to the Jackie Chan we all know and love than most of his other recent theatrically released films (The Shanghai series, the Rush Hour flicks, The Tuxedo, and The Medallion). There's no wise-cracking, smart-mouthed partner, and even better, no magical powers and/or costumes that require the extensive use of wirework. Who Am I? is old-fashioned Chan with a slicker look and higher production values.

The plot's more of the same usual nonsense, but with a slightly more paranoid edge. Chan stars as a secret agent who loses his memory after falling from a helicopter. He's adopted by an African tribe who dubs him WhoamI, because those are the first words he says. After learning their culture and language, he eventually leaves to discover his real identity and his past. But what do you know, just as soon as he's reached a city, everybody's looking to kill him and he's stuck with an annoying reporter (Michelle Ferre) who isn't all that she says she is.

Who Am I? boasts the usual flaws of a Jackie Chan flick. The plot's inconsequential, the acting's atrocious, and the dialogue is painful to listen to. Jackie even delivers a `violence and greed is bad' speech to the villains; word of advice, Jackie: if you're going to deliver such a goofy-sounding (and somewhat naïve) statement, you should make certain you've got the strong plot to back it up in the first place. The only thing that generally separates the quality of Chan's Hong Kong work is the quantity and quality of the action and humor. In this case, the first half is admittedly somewhat slow, but peppered with a few genuinely funny, if not also rather silly, moments that keeps the film from bogging down.

I could have done entirely without Michelle Ferre, whose awful performance ranks as one of the worst I've ever seen. Not only is she unconvincing as a journalist, but the movie goes on to reveal that she's actually a CIA agent! Her presence does little more than hinder Jackie's usual charms and provides the plot with a deus ex machine resolution.

But the rest of the stuff is mostly bearable enough to get into the action. There are three major fight scenes, the early one with Jackie handcuffed behind his back is pretty nifty, but also a tad short. The battle in the city streets is innovative and there's a wild car chase, too. But the entire selling point of the picture is its climactic ten-minute two-on-one martial arts battle, which is elaborate, thrilling, and quite cleverly humorous. This is probably the best pure fight scene I've seen in any of Jackie Chan's films and goes a long way in making some of the earlier flaws forgivable.

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