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Jackie Chan romances Shu Qi in Gorgeous.
Year: 1999
Director: Vincent Kok Tak-Chiu
Cast: Jackie Chan, Shu Qi, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Emil Chow Wah-Kin, Richie Ren (Yam Yin-Chai), Chan Chung-Yung, Elaine Kam Yin-Ling, Tats Lau Yi-Tat, Bradley James Allan, Ken Lo Wai-Kwong, Daniel Wu (Ng Yin-Cho), Stephen Fung Tak-Lun, Cheung Tat-Ming, Lee Lik-Chee, Sandra Ng Kwun-Yu, Ken Wong Hap-Hei, Edmond So Chi-Wai, Mark Lui Chun-Tak, Stephen Chow Sing-Chi, Sam Lee Chan-Sam, Vincent Kok Tak-Chiu, Eric Kot Man-Fai, Law Kar-Ying, Annie Wu (Ng Sun-Kwan), Jo Koo, Maggie Cheung Ho-Yi, Tin Kai-Man, Asuka Higuchi, Sammy, Siu Yee
The Skinny: Jackie Chan stretches his acting muscles in this romantic comedy - with action thrown in. While his acting is still under question, the film itself proves enjoyably fluffy.
by Kozo:
     Superstar performers stretching in new directions seems to be this yearís trend. First we had Stephen Chow in King of Comedy, where he took his loser characteristics turned them into something more substantial and effective. Now Jackie Chan has his turn. Gorgeous is definitely a departure. This is a romantic comedy with action thrown in, sometimes even awkwardly. Itís still amusing and fun, but uneven and stilted. 
     Shu Qi is Bu, a Taiwanese villager who longs for romance and adventure. Sheís offered marriage by longtime admirer Longyi (Richie Yam), but a message in a bottle catches her fancy. The message: ďDonít you know Iím waiting for you?Ē That romantic platitude is enough to send her packing in Hong Kong, where she searches for Albert, writer of the mash note. Fortunately Albert is played by Tony Leung Chiu-Wai. Unfortunately heís gay. 
     Bu nevertheless stays in HK, where she chances upon another suitor. Wealthy recycling magnate C.N. (Jackie Chan) is an uncommitted player whoís locked in a wacky rivalry with childhood classmate L.W. (Emil Chow). Bu saves him from one of L.W.ís schemes, and is immediately smitten. Then in one of those plot twists that only happen in the movies, Bu schemes to win his heart by devising an elaborate charade where she masquerades as a Taiwanese gangsterís moll. What follows is the typical sappy romance montage which tries us for everything weíre worth. Ultimately C.N. ends up realizing Buís value and must chase her lest he regret it. 
     Oh, and thereís some fighting thrown in. Said fighting is of the usual Jackie Chan variety: fun, with inventive choreography and pacing. But itís only a window dressing to the film. Gorgeous is is really a love story and a questionably affecting one at that. Vincent Kok is an excellent director, but his films have typically had a finer comic edge. This film relies far too much on the charisma of its stars to carry it, and despite his wonderful persona Chan is ultimately not much of an actor. He can say the lines but he canít bring anything new to this genre other than the fight sequences, which arenít even the main point of the movie.
     In fact, Gorgeous is practically a deconstruction of Chanís usual films. For once, Jackieís enemy isnít an evil foe or dastardly organization - itís himself. One of the more subtle joys of the film is a clever theme reversal (to win, Jackie shouldnít fight!). Still, Iíd have to say that The King of Comedy is better because it hits the dizzying heights that HK Cinema is renowned for. Stephen Chow manages to use his talents to show unexpected depths, while Jackie Chan reveals the fact that he canít do much more than he already has. Gorgeous merely puts Jackie in a film in which you wouldnít expect to see him - and thatís that. 
     Thankfully, the other actors prove entertaining. Shu Qi mugs and pouts her way through a serviceably fun performance, while Tony Leung manages to steal nearly all his scenes. The multitudes of big-name cameos are fun too, especially the one by HKís other big superstar. As fluffy Lunar New Year fun, Gorgeous more than suffices. 
(Kozo 1999)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Universe Laser & Video Co., Ltd. Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen