Follow TV Tropes


Film / Who Am I? (1998)

Go To

Who Am I? is a Hong Kong action-comedy film produced by Golden Harvest and released in January 10th, 1998. It was Written, Co-Directed (with Benny Chan), And Starring Jackie Chan. He also provides the vocals for the Ending Song.

A multinational Special Forces Team is assigned to ambush a group of scientists deep in South Africa, who have just discovered a meteorite that is highly volatile (as seen in the opening prologue). Then the team is double-crossed by their higher-ups who want to use the meteor for purposes less than noble. All of the operatives soon disappeared in an accident... well, except one.

The lone survivor (Jackie Chan) wakes up somewhere in the hut of a tribe, but he can't remember who he is. The members of the tribe decide to call him "Who Am I?" after he asks just that. After spending weeks recovering from his injuries, he spots a nearby rally competition, so he decides to return to civilization to embark in a Quest for Identity. After saving the life of the brother of a racer (Mirai Yamamoto) from the competition, "Who Am I?" is soon pursued by multiple parties including the higher-ups (who fear that He Knows Too Much), the CIA, and a female reporter (Michelle Ferre) who wants to know all about "Who Am I?".

Yes, this is the movie where Jackie Chan slides down a building almost to the ground, without any safety harness!

Not to be confused with the 2014 German film of the same name.

Chan would later produce a 2015 remake with the same name.

Who Am I? provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Agony of the Feet:
  • Battle Strip: In the final fight, while "Who Am I?" uses the Korean accountant's jacket and tie against him, the British accountant begins removing his own jacket and tie before jumping into the fight.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Morgan and Sherman.
  • But Now I Must Go: After throwing the disc off the bridge, "Who Am I?" tells Christine that he will return to Africa.
  • The Coats Are Off: The final fight features "Who Am I?" in a tag-team battle with two skilled martial artists. When "Who Am I?" uses the first one's jacket and tie against him, the second one sensibly removes his before he jumps into the fight.
  • Cub Cues Protective Parent: "Who Am I?" takes a walk in the African savanna and stumbles upon a trio of adorable lion cubs, one of which, despite his native friend's warnings, he picks up. Naturally, a few seconds later he is chased up a lonely tree by an angry lioness.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Jackie Chan sang the main theme, just like he did in Police Story.
  • Drives Like Crazy: "Who Am I?" drives Yuki's rally car like this across the savanna trying to get Yuki's brother to get medical attention. Later, Yuki drives her rally car upon the streets of Johannesburg to escape "Who Am I?"'s pursuers.
  • Ear Ache: "Who Am I?" grabs one of the Co-Dragons by the earring and keeps twisting it around and around. This causes such crippling pain that the guy surrenders afterward.
  • Extremity Extremist: The final battle consists of "Who Am I?" fighting a duo made up of a man who primarily punches and a man who primarily kicks.
  • Fruit Cart: The protagonists, while being pursued, smash through a stall selling nothing but oranges. Some enter through the side windows, and others become embedded in the fender of the car, where they remain for the remaining duration of the chase. After the pursuit has ended, one of the characters who was in the car can be seen eating one of the oranges.
  • Going Native: After being stranded in the African wilderness, "Who Am I?" is rescued by an African tribe and spends most of the film uncovering his past, looking for all sorts of clues from South Africa to Netherlands. By the time he's defeated all the bad guys, though, the first thing he's going to do is return to Africa.
  • Improbable Parking Skills: Yuki pulls this to evade pursuers, lining up perfectly with the rest of the row to look like it's always been there.
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • If you are a bad guy in a Jackie Chan film, maybe you shouldn't lure him to a commercial district or a construction section on a rooftop.
    • Also, wearing expensive designer suits and large earrings for combat is a bad idea.
  • Involuntary Charity Donation: "Who Am I?" does this to two villains who are exchanging a sum of money electronically, by sneaking into their office and changing the payee on the electronic transfer while their backs are turned (and sneaking out while they argue). Subverted when an FBI agent admonishes him for ruining a sting operation, then Double Subverted when it turns out that said agent is a Dirty Cop (which "Who Am I?" already suspected).
  • It Works Better with Bullets: "Who Am I?" hands his gun over to the treacherous Big Bad. Upon having it turned on him, he says "I may have amnesia, but I'm not stupid!" and knocks the villain's ass to the floor.
  • Just Think of the Potential!: The abducted scientists keep working not only because of the threats to them and their families, but because the meteorite could give humanity a great source of clean energy. Unfortunately for them, their captors plan to use it to instead create More Dakka and weapons of mass destruction.
  • Licked by the Dog: "Who Am I?" stops during the middle of a chase scene to rescue a cute poodle from a falling piano. The dog licks his face, and the onlooking spectators clap and go "Awww".
  • MacGuffin: For the second half of the film, the disk containing all the information about the meteorite and its properties, which itself is a Mineral MacGuffin.
  • MacGyvering: "Who Am I?" improvises a rear-wheel hub into a grindstone (with the wheel off) to make a tool to puncture a coconut to insert a tube to hydrate a snakebite victim with coconut milk.
  • Made of Explodium: At the end of The Teaser, when an arms dealer drives his 1958 Land-Rover 109'' Series II in the middle of a desert, an explosive meteorite explodes, killing him and destroying his vehicle.
  • Mook Chivalry: At first, the two accountants attack one at a time, timing each other before switching around, but when "Who Am I?" starts winning, they fight two on one and whup some serious ass. "Who Am I?" is only saved because he notices that they have very flashy clothing and are wearing earrings, so he targets those instead, using their clothes to bind or blind them, and tearing their piercings off. Even still, it looks like it's going to turn out bad for the hero, as while "Who Am I?" beats on the Korean accountant, the lanky British contortionist begins removing the clothing he sees "Who Am I?" use on his partner.
  • Name Amnesia: The protagonist knows nothing of his past, including his name (though he retains his military and combat knowledge pretty well). We see in the beginning of the movie when he's being listed as missing in action that he shares the name of his actor — Jackie Chan.
  • Named by Democracy: The protagonist is asked who he is in a language he can't understand. As he is amnesiac, he demands to know "Who am I?". The locals just think he's hammy and shout "Who am I" with equal enthusiasm when they want his attention.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: Yuki Drives Like Crazy to pull this off flawlessly, aborting a car chase by parking in a row of parked cars.
  • No Name Given: The protagonist doesn't remember his name; when one of the native Africans asks it, only to be told "Who Am I?", they misunderstand it and call him that, which he eventually accepts. The CIA identify him in the ending, but viewers don't actually get to hear it. An agency briefing identifies him as Jackie Chan, though.
  • Oh, Crap!: One of the hitmen in the final confrontation subtly does this upon seeing his partner get utterly manhandled using his suit jacket and tie, realizing the same could happen to him. He promptly avails himself of both.
  • Plot-Based Voice Cancellation: "Who Am I?" has a flashback to when each member of his team introduced themselves before the mission. When "Who Am I?" was about to say his name, his speech got conveniently cut short by his superior.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: The final battle in Rotterdam takes place atop a skyscraper, ending with No Escape but Down.
  • Rogue Agent: The agency that "Who Am I?" and his teammates were working from before the "Accident". Morgan also counts, having been on the plan from the beginning to sell the explosive meteorite to an arms dealer.
  • Say My Name: In a sense; see below.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Jackie Chan is about to shoot you.
  • Skyward Scream: After "Who Am I?" escapes with Christine and Yuki, he loses his temper after Yuki scares him again, leading to this moment:
  • Spam Attack: During the second part of the climactic fight scene, "Who Am I?" and an elite mook perform the same kick at the same time against each other (colliding shins whilst doing so) 30 times in a row. After they break apart, both rub their shins in rather severe pain.
  • Starting a New Life: After he saves the day, "Who Am I?" decides to go back to Africa where his new friends wait.
  • Suck Out the Poison: Done by "Who Am I?" to a snakebite victim. A more outlandish, but more accurate treatment occurs when he then hydrates the victim with a coconut milk IV.
  • Take a Third Option: "Who Am I?" is confronted by two thugs on the roof of a building, who give him two choices: "Give us the disk and jump off", or "We take the disk and throw you off". Instead, "Who Am I?" says, "I like the third choice: I keep the disk and throw you both off." (During the ensuing fight scene, nobody actually gets thrown off.)
  • Undercover Cop Reveal: Christine reveals that she's an undercover CIA Agent to "Who Am I?", but only after he discovers the gun disguised as a camera in Christine's purse, soon after Morgan's hitmen are closing by. "Who Am I?" then accuses Christine of luring him into a trap.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • After the scientists have been delivered by the Special Forces Team, they are is betrayed and left to die in the upcoming helicopter crash.
    • After the investigations are complete, General Sherman orders to dispose of the scientists once the disk with the meteorite information has been sold to the arms dealer. Likewise, Morgan intends on disposing of "Who Am I?" this way, whatever he remembers or not.


Video Example(s):


Who Am I?

At the end of The Teaser, when an arms dealer drives his 1958 Land-Rover 109'' Series II in the middle of a desert, an explosive meteorite explodes, killing him and destroying his vehicle.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / MadeOfExplodium

Media sources: