Gorgeous

Gorgeous

1999

Directors: Vincent Kok, Jackie Chan

Stars: Jackie Chan, Hsu Chi, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Emil Chow, Brad Allan

A naive country girl named Bu (Hsu Chi) finds a message in a bottle from a man named Albert (Leung), who is looking for his lost love. Bu travels to Hong Kong to find Albert, only to discover his lost love is another man. Albert takes pity on Bu and allows her to tag along on his fashion shoots. During one of these, Bu runs into a determined businessman named C.N. (Chan) who is more concerned with his rival (Chow) than romance, and Bu sets about to change all of that.

Gorgeous is something new from Jackie Chan. It's his first romantic comedy. Originally, he was just supposed to be a producer, but then -- despite some hesitation -- decided to star in the film. I think he should have followed his gut instinct and just stuck behind the scenes. Gorgeous works as neither a romantic comedy or a Jackie Chan film (to wit, his particular blend of action and comedy). The romance in the film simply doesn't work. The whole bit with older men and young women is overused on both sides of the ocean, and the fact that Hsu Chi and Chan show almost no chemistry together doesn't help out matters any. (Chan supposedly didn't want to work with the former Cat III actress, fearing it might taint his "family man" image; ironically, after the film came out, Chan was involved in a scandal where he eventually admitted to having an affair.) As for the comedy, it depends too much on broad stereotypes (such as Tony Leung's flamboyantly gay character) and silly pratfalls to be effective. The fights (most of which feature Chan's gweilo protégé Brad Allan) are decent, but they're too short and lacking the quickness and fluidity of Chan's best work.

This is an interesting experiment that ultimately fails, mostly because of Chan's lackluster performance. If Chan wants to shift his emphasis from martial arts/action to this, he should do his fans (and himself) a favor and step behind the camera. To be fair though, the film does have its' share of fans -- mostly those infatuated with Hsu Chi. Myself, I find her not that great-looking as to forgive Gorgeous' many shortcomings, but you still may want to give this movie a try.

RATING: 4

A review of the DVD for this movie (US version) can be found here

Note: this review is based on the US version, which has been cut by about a half-hour from the HK version. From what I have gathered, the HK version isn't all that much better, but at any rate, here's a list of the cuts, thanks to fredclau@aol.com. Be warned that reading this may "spoil" the movie for you if you haven't seen it already.

This is divided in segments of 5 minutes, 0 - 5 meaning from 0 minutes to 5 minutes and so on. Minutes are from HK version.

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This DVD is available for purchase at www.hkflix.com

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