Running Time: 99 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for what, I'm not sure)
Format: Fullscreen, Widescreen 2.35:1 enhanced for 16x9 TVs
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Languages: Cantonese, English
Subtitles: English
Region: 1
MSRP: $19.95

Own It!
Gorgeous (1999)

Bu (Qi Shu) is a Taiwanese girl who finds a message in a bottle. Deciding that she could easily love any man so romantic as to put a love note in a bottle like that, Bu travels to Hong Kong to meet the man, only to find out he's gay (and played by Tony Leung, as if he walked off the set of Happy Together). Undeterred, Bu meets C.N. (Jackie Chan), a somewhat chilly investment banker. Love blooms.

Actually, that love is kind of creepy because Chan is a good twenty years older that Qi. Qi is certainly cute enough, and Chan makes a game stab at romantic comedy, but all the charisma in the world can't overcome a script that's all over the place. There's the romantic plot, but there's also an equally important plot about C.N.'s travails with a business rival (who also happens to be his oldest friend) which requires periodic kung fu fights. Other plot threads are brought up and never go anywhere, like the fact that Bu happens to be the spitting image of a famous gangster's missing girlfriend, or the fact that Bu is followed to Hong Kong by her wannabe fiancé.

It's nice that Jackie Chan tried a change of pace (as he notes in the commentary, this is the first time he's been in a romantic comedy, or played a businessman), but the inclusion of so much kung fu dulls the impact of what could have otherwise been an agreeable romance. Also, Chan's reluctance to kiss onscreen doesn't help. But if you're into the kung fu, there are a couple of good fights.

The visual and audio properties of this disc are flawless. You won't see many Hong Kong films look this good, especially if you're used to import discs. Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are included for both English and Cantonese. The English dubbing is done with the same people who do all the English dubbed anime, and some of the voices are quite inappropriate. Why does Bu sound older than her mother? There are subtitles so you can watch the film with the Cantonese language track, but they are actually just a transcription of the English dubbing. This can cause a little bit of confusion, because the dubbing sometimes refers to characters as speaking in English and includes a couple of extra lines. Why TriStar only included "dubtitles" is a bit of a mystery to me, because they're usually pretty good about these things, and the disc actually defaults to the Cantonese soundtrack. Maybe they figured the differences were so small, it wouldn't make be a big deal. It really isn't that big a deal, especially compared to the horrible subtitles we've been dealing with on import discs.

Along with Gen-X Cops, this is one of the first true special editions of a Hong Kong film. There is a slight 30-minute making of featurette on the film, subtitled in English. There are interviews with most of the principal actors, a little bit with the director and some behind the scenes footage. Then there's the making of the video for the film's main theme, and an untranslated blooper reel. The finished music video is included separately. There is also a very small Talent File on Jackie Chan.

The most exciting extra, however, is an audio commentary by Chan himself. Chan's English has improved much in the last few years, but to just listen to him, without seeing the gesticulations he usually falls back on when words fail him, is a bit of a chore. He also doesn't provide scene specific commentary, but rather just talks about whatever comes to mind for an hour and a half, and sometimes his leaps from subject to subject are obvious only to him. He provides a lot of background on how Gorgeous came about, and how he went from producing the film to starring in it. Chan also tells stories to illustrate his philosophy of directing, acting, and producing. One of the most interesting stories he tells is about how he fired a director from one of his films for shooting a sex scene. I couldn't figure out what film he was talking about, and Jackie refuses to say. Jackie also talks frankly about how legendary producer Leonard Ho limited his career, vetoing Jackie's plans to star in Farewell My Concubine (quite a shame) and to kill off his character at the end of Supercop! While this is not the most informative commentary I could imagine for this film, it is a fascinating document about Jackie Chan.

Scott Hamilton, 7/19/00