Gorgeous | aka Glass Bottle (1999) Review

"Gorgeous" Japanese DVD Cover

"Gorgeous" Japanese DVD Cover

Director: Vincent Kok
Writer: Ivy Ho, Vincent Kok, Yiu-Fai Lo
Producer: Raymond Chow
Cast: Jackie Chan, Shu Qi, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Emil Chow, Richie Ren Yin Chi, Elaine Jin, Sung Young Chen, Bradley Allan, Tats Lau, Vincent Kok, Sandra Ng Kwan Yue, Sam Lee, Kar-Ying Law, Stephen Chow, Stephen Fung
Running Time: 121 min.

By Vic Nguyen

Lovelorn daydreamer Bu (Hsu Chi), on a typical day in her Taiwanese village, finds a mysterious message in a bottle. The contents read, “I’m waiting for you”, signed Albert from Hong Kong. Thinking that this might be her true love calling, she kisses her countrylife goodbye, and hops a plane to HK. Upon arriving in this new land, she immediately locates Albert (Tony Leung Chiu-wai), only to be discouraged, because you see, he is gay. But ever the goodheart, Albert agrees to take her in, despite initial hesitation.

While exploring the finer life of Hong Kong, Bu embarks on wealthy conglomerate CN Chan (Jackie Chan), who is in the midst of competition with his rival, LW (Emil Chow). The evercurious Bu develops a sudden interest in CN, and eventually, a relationship develops between the two. And on the other hand, LW enlists the assistance of an American kickboxer in order to humiliate CN. Upon their first bout, he does the deed, beating CN in an impromptu kickboxing match. Now, with the guidance of Bu, CN must go through vigourous training, in order to beat LW at his own game, and to gain back the pride he lost.

Director Vincent Kok Tat-chiu takes the reins this time, and does a good job for the most part, injecting large doses of light hearted humor and innocent fun into the mix. Occupying most of the screen time, surprisingly enough, is Hsu Chi, who does an admirable job portraying the innocent but immature Bu (or maybe this is what she’s like in real life), while co-stars Tony Leung Chiu-wai (appearing in the film as a favor to the late Leonard Ho Koon-cheung) and Emil Chau are obviously having a delightful time with their roles. The one performance that emerges as a disappointment is Jackie Chan, who coasts through this one with barely a semblance of enthusiasm, and, at the end (excluding a few scenes), comes off as dull and lifeless as the character he plays. Providing fun cameos are a plethora of celebrity faces, most notably Stephen Fung, Sam Lee Chan-sam, Sandra Ng, Annie Wu, Erik Kok, and Stephen Chow Sing-chi (Chan would return the favor later on, appearing briefly in Chow’s own Lunar New Year’s venture, King of Comedy).

Of course, what Chan lacks in the performance department, he more than makes it up with a series of exhilirating, well choreographed action sequences (all of which shows that this 45 year old man can still deliver). Highlights include Chan’s nifty tricks with several baseball bats, and a couple kickboxing duels showcasing the acrobatic agility of Chan and his opponent, in the form of Australian martial artist Brad Allan. The talents of Allan are really a thing to behold, as he throws off an impressive array of kicking combinations that gives Ken Lo and Benny Urquidez a run for their money. The end bout, set in a recycling plant, is terrific, and is worth the price of admission all by itself. And, in the tradition of Jackie Chan films, an outtakes reel is showcased under the end credits (more oriented with flubbed lines than with action goofups), closing the film with additional laughs, and leaving with the viewer with the feeling that they had a genuine good time.

Gorgeous was released on VCD under the Universe Laser and Video label, boasting a double disc package enclosed in a slick, cardboard case. The film itself is presented in it’s original widescreen format, with small, but legible Chinese/English subtitles burnt on the black, widescreen portion. The disc suffers from hazy, undetailed colors, mild jittering and pixelization, which is constant, but not very distracting. Filmed in sync sound with an even mixture of Mandarin, Cantonese, and English dialogue, the disc offers the viewer the former, in addition to providing a dubbed Mandarin track. A DVD version has also been issued by the same company, but unfortunately, I have yet to see it for myself (it reportedly is chock full of extras, including a subtitled making-of documentary).

The bottom line: don’t expect an action packed thrillride, and go away pleasantly surprised.

Vic Nguyen’s Rating: 7.5/10

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