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Gorgeous (1999)

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Starring:

-Hsu Chi
-Jackie Chan
-Tony Leung
-Emil Chow

Synopsis:

Gorgeous is the story of Bu (Hsu Chi), a young woman from a small Taiwanese fishing village, looking for true love. After her boyfriend proposes to her, in quite an unusual manner, she starts to realize that she doesn't really love him. Soon after, she finds a glass bottle with a note in it reading "I'm waiting for you ....Albert". Being the hopeless romantic she is, Bu decides to go all out and travel to meet Albert in Hong Kong. She meets him only to find out that he is gay. Having never really traveled before, she convinces Albert to let her stay with him for a while. Albert, being a makeup artist takes her on a boat for a modeling shoot with him. Here, she encounters C.N. (Chan) after C.N. has a confrontation with his "rival" on a nearby yacht and has to escape his silly thugs. From here on, the viewer is taken on Bu's journey to win the heart of C.N., who is a playboy by nature and seemingly too focused on his business for a "serious" relationship.

Review:

This is quite a different type of movie and character role for Jackie Chan. Make no bones about it, this movie is a romantic comedy, through and through. There are a few fight scenes, which I will elaborate on later - but they are not the focus of the film, nor do they directly concern the main plot (although they stem from the subplot of C.N.'s relationship with rival L.W.). It is a love story with a great sense of humor. The characters are lovable and memorable, the comedy is fun, and the movie progresses at a perfect pace. This film may take fans looking for a tradition Jackie movie off-guard, but if you are willing to look at something different from Jackie, you'll appreciate this lighthearted romance.

Again, this is not your typical Jackie movie. If you are looking for that, look elsewhere. One must approach this movie as what it is, a romantic comedy, without preconditions because Jackie's name is on the cover. As such, this film is quite a charming little piece of lighthearted romance and comedy, with just enough Jackie style thrown in to give it a unique take on the genre. The love story is simple and almost a fairy tale of a love story, as Bu finds the glass bottle and travels to find true love. It really is quite charming in its portrayal of Bu's search for love and C.N.'s growing feelings, as he starts to learn what is important. The age difference between Jackie and Hsu Chi is a bit disarming at first, but eventually the charm of the story makes the viewer forget that. We also get some interesting subplot thrown in involving C.N.'s business rival, with a bit of a love-hate relationship going on between the two. In fact, one of the most impressive things about the film is how many characters are multi-dimensional and we find that we don't even have a "bad guy" per-se, as even our troublemakers have their own feelings and motivations. So, while the plot of the film isn't exactly profound, it is light, yet multi-dimensional material that really entertains.

The comedy in the film is also quite entertaining. Bu's gay friend, while quite heavy on the stereotypes, provides some fun quibbles in his conversations with the love-striken Bu. Of course, Bu herself has a bubbly, small town personality that also gives her plenty of room to stand out in some situations. Jackie pulls out some of his traditional slapstick from time to time. Perhaps the best comedy, though, is Lo (Emil Chau) and his assistants. Between Lo's various faces and reactions, to the stupidity of his goofy henchmen, there are many laughs to be had. Finally, we even get a short, but highly amusing cameo from Stephen Chow (unless you are watching the butchered Columbia version).

To the surprise of some, Jackie pulls his role off with real charm. Most fans understand Jackie's universal charm throughout all his movies, and it is really nice to see how much that shines through in a very character based role. He plays a great serious businessman and does a great job of showing his feelings for Bu growing without words. He plays someone that has to act professional and not admit his feelings while still showing the viewer that he really does have feelings for her. Hsu Chi is a perfect match for the bubbly young woman role of Bu. She has the cute, innnocent look; the energy; and the overflowing personality for the part. Possibly the best role in the film is Emil Chau's character. The goofy expressions he makes and his reactions to everything are classic. For a guy playing Jackie rival - he still manages to get the viewer to care about him.

Now, while much less of a focus in this than other films, it would be wrong to not discuss the fights in the film. There are four fights. The first two of these are the now-common Jackie "multi-fights" where he has to take on a group of people at once, complete with the goofiness and enviroment usage we expect. The first takes place on a boat and involves one of the thugs falling repeatedly into the water and Jackie doing some great stuff with his jacket. The second focuses mostly on the use of baseball bats that the thugs have brought along and also has the twist of being mixed up with a fake fight that some of Albert's friends and Bu had arranged. The third and fourth are the more intricate, technical based one-on-one fights with Jackie's student Bradley James Allan (know as Alan in the film). These are easily some of the better one-on-one fights you'll see in a film. The choreography is amazing and it is filmed the way it should be, far out and at a wide angle so the viewer can see every punch, kind, block, and jump. Viewers will be skipping to the last fight on their DVDs time and time again. For a movie that doesn't focus so heavily on the fights, they still went all out and did them right.

Gorgeous is a great change of pace for Jackie and, overall, just a quality romantic comedy. It's lighthearted fare that shouldn't be taken for anything more profound than it is. Combined with a little bit of Jackie action, this romantic comedy sets itself apart. So, if you are looking for a light, but fun romantic comedy, you could do worse than this film. And, many praises to Jackie for taking on something different and doing it well.

Director:

-Vincent Kok

Language/Cuts:

-Original Cantonese language.
-Click for a comparision with
the U.S. version.

Grade:

B

Pictures: