AKA: Black Dragon, The Canton Godfather
Director: Jackie Chan
Writer: Jackie Chan, Edward Tang
Producer: Leonard Ho
Cast: Jackie Chan, Rose Gua Ah Leh, Anita Mui, Wu Ma, Michael Chow Man Kin, Fung Hak On, Ricky Hui, Ray Lui, Mars, Richard Ng, Dick Wei, Gloria Yip, Kenny Bee, Alan Chan, Anthony Chan
Running Time: 125 min.
Let this film go down as one of Jackie’s best looking films. The cinematography, camera-work, and sets are really a step up from his normal action-fests. I understand that Jackie learned to use a steady-cam for this movie and its safe to say that he fell in love with it. There are some rather complex and gracefully shots in this movie. But, unfortunately, good movies are not simply a bunch of pretty pictures spliced together.
Jackie plays a poor country boy who rescues a gangland boss and ultimately gains control of the crime world of 1930s Hong Kong. He romances the beautiful Anita Mui, who is a welcome addition to any movie, and battles a rival gang.
There are fewer fights in Miracles and considerably more story, which is all at once a plus and minus. Fewer fights are bad because unless you have lived under a rock, this guy is the best action star of his time. More story is good if you have something to say, to show, and to explore. What we get in the story are a lot of farcical comedy scenes, some force-fed touching moments, and Jackie playing the good guy. Fight scenes are still forced into the mix, not that anyone would complain. I was waiting for them and have the fast forward button calluses to prove it.
Action fans seem to rate Jackie’s films based on the quality of the stunts and fights found within. I am no different. There are three quite wonderful fight sequences in this movie. They are really some of his best. The fight in the tea house. A fight featuring rickshaws, stairs, and clay pots. The finale is the infamous rope factory fight. Individually, these scenes are better than the climaxes from most movies. There are simply unmatched skills at work right up on the screen. Creativity to spare.
Jackie, apparently, is his own worst enemy. He has created for himself a persona that is not easily shed. We see and love his films for the rewards we expect. Action. Action. Action. I hope in future that he can maybe branch out (maybe as a director) and show us that he can be a Kubrick, a Wilder, or a Spielberg.
Reefer’s Rating: 7/10
By James H.
It seems that Jackie Chan has spent his entire life trying to make the prefect kung fu/comedy film. He tries like hell yet again, with “Miracles”. Chan has a gift, whether you would like to admit it or not. He has a gift for action, directing and physical comedy. He does not, however, have a gift for writing.
The two problems with “Miracles” are the story and the running time. The two, coincidentally, go hand in hand. You may or may not know this, but “Miracles” runs a full 127 minutes long. What’s the problem with that, you may ask. Well, a large portion of that running time is devoted to a sub plot that is cliched, wholly unoriginal and remarkably boring. I will not describe said plot, as I do not want to waste more time on the subject.
The main plot concerns a country bumpkin (Chan), who inadvertently becomes a mob boss. A rather interesting plot does make room for some good, even great scenes here and there. There are some great fights near the beginning and one at the end involving several henchmen in a rope factory.
As always, Jackie does a great job as director. There are some very nice shots, and great cinematography, although the second half of the film is very flawed in terms of pacing. With a better script, and a more liberal editor, “Miracles” could have been the “Godfather” of kung fu films. Unfortunately Miracles” ended up being the “Mobsters” of kung fu films. I’m just glad Richard Grieco wasn’t in it.
James H’s Rating: 5.5/10
To a fan of 1930s screwball comedies, this movie is Nirvana… The Holy Grail… and Valhalla rolled into one. It’s a wonderfully faithful reproduction of the style (Anita Mui’s manners and movements are pure 30s!) mixed with Jackie’s special brand of mayhem. What could be better? The result is pure delight! Granted, there are only a few fights leading up to the incredible rope factory brawl, but you can (and did) say the same for Wheels On Meals and Who Am I?, and the battle with the richshaws (?) was awesomely inventive. I think most of the physical outtakes were from that one fight – shows you how hard it was to film.
I got the dubbed Venom Video version from Advantage. The picture quality is very good and the voices are clear. My only objection is that many of the gangsters did imitations like Bogart or Peter Lorre and it sounded bizarre and Jackie was dubbed (I think) by the same guy who did Twin Dragons. He did a better job here, but it still sounded awful in spots.
Dubbing aside (and we can’t blame Jackie for that), this movie is just wonderful. I especially adored Jackie’s typical, “Why can’t we do good…?” speech and the gang’s non-typical reaction! Brilliant! If you love 1930s comedies, you’ll LOVE this movie! If you don’t – “Go feed the goldfish!”
Ro’s Rating: 10/10
Wow. I never thought that I’d see Jackie Chan play a Hong Kong mob boss. The movie starts off with Jackie playing a dumb-ass who only knows how to fight (imagine that), and the movie ends with Jackie playing a dumb-ass who only knows how to fight. Only at the end of the movie, he controls one of the most powerful organized (I guess) crime syndicates in HK. Don’t get me wrong though, I liked the movie a lot. The fight scene in the restaurant when Jackie had to prove that he was tough enough to run the gang was short, but pretty cool. I liked the string factory fight, but not as much as the fight in the restaurant when Jackie was meeting with another mob boss. Overall, it was a very good movie, maybe not worth buying, but definitely worth watching.
Exothrash’s Rating: 8/10
Some movies are kind of like the average American middle class family sofa. From the exterior, it is both inviting and fuctional, but not as appealing to the eye as it could be. Perhaps the pattern is ugly, the colors clash with the wallpaper, or there are some rips in the upholstery that will make it a little less pleasant to rest your weary bones upon it.
And, when the time comes for a thorough cleaning of the environs, it might be deemed appropriate to remove the cushions and scavenge the mixture of undesirable refuse and buried treasure to be found beneath them. At first, the waste material that has found its way betwixt the cracks of the supreme family seating unit is a dizzying array of nauseating garbage; dust bunnies, lint, used kleenex, and condoms whose times and owners have come and gone as far as the eye can see. But look beyond this germ’s paradise, and lo! there’s that spare key to the tool shed you thought was lost forever. Here’s a ketchup packet from McDonald’s that has yet to expire; there’s one of those ill-fated Susan B. Anthony silver dollars. And what’s that in the corner with that wad of chewing gum that lost its flavor two years ago stuck to it? Why it’s that prescription you picked up last month, lost, and had to use one of your five remaining refills to replace!
So you see, the family sofa in question hosts a veritable smorgasboard of wayward articles that it’s definitely worth your time and energy to extract…you have only to pluck them from the grime and spent hygiene products with which they are integrated.
MR. CANTON AND LADY ROSE is that sofa. It is neither the best nor the worst case of Jackie directing himself. It sounds like a mixed bag if ever there was one after reading the reviews posted here. If you can tolerate the negative aspects of the film, it will be that much more rewarding when you get to see the excellent restaurant fight, the remarkable rickshaw sequence, and the blow-U-away rope factory scene that should be firmly implanted in the list of Jackie’s ten best finales. Sure there’s a cheesy, sitcomesque story and plot holes big enough for the average male pervert to have an orgasm with, but if you introduce me to a person who gets their jollies by watching Jackie act rather than risk his life, I will in turn introduce them to the jarred and preserved brain of some hapless organ donor to fill their empty cranium.
Numskull’s Rating: 6/10
Geez, people seem really divided on this one. I see both over the top blowjob reviews AND really bileful maligning blurbs. Brothers, Sisters; come together. Can’t we call a truce just this once?! This is NOT a BAD film, do you understand this?! Y’wanna see a bad film, rent the sequel to the Power Rangers movie, and then get back to me. Better yet, try to keep from taking a sledgehammer (or a jackhammer) to your VCR whilst watching Cannonball Run 2. Then again, this is NOT one of his best movies, especially when it comes to story (how often does THAT happen) or acting. Fights, certainly, some the best ever caught on film, but the (over) acting, uh, no. This movie has it’s moments to be sure, and I’m sure if I had and emotion left in my soul after my recent break-up, I’d feel sorry for the old bag in this movie. There is more plot in this movie than the last 3 JC American theatrical releases, BUT as for the acting, I saw nothing special other than what seemed to me to be a rather forced teary moment at the end. I’d even go so far as to say that I thought Crime Story was the epitome of his acting career.
The fight scenes, yes, are amazing, but again, we KNOW THIS! You don’t go into a Jackie Chan movie thinking or expecting anything less, do you? It’s one of the reasons why you’re a Jackie Chan fan whom happens reading this stupid review right now (which, by the way, is written by a total crank), correct? So why should I waste MY time discussing it any further? They’re superb, that’s all you need to know. If I were to put this movie in my list of favorite JC films, it would probably go in somewhere towards the end of the list, but it’s still a good goddamn movie. Not great, just good. So there. Now BUG OFF!
Dan-O’s Rating: 7/10
By Hendri Liato
Many complained about Jackie Chan trying to make a film instead of just a JC film chockful of set-pieces from the first reel to the last. That’s cynical. While this obvious riff on LADY FOR A DAY sometimes bogs down miserably in trying to observe a semblance of a plot, the whole film has a nice, cheery period atmosphere about it. The gags and melodramatic moments are sometimes crude but when they work, they complement the film to a degree. And I just love seeing actors and stunt people throw punches and kick furnitures in three-piece suits. The fight sequences are all excellent. The fight at the tea house is brimming with comic inventiveness and has a wonderful flow to it. It is one of the best edited sequences in all of JC movies. The rope factory fight is a favorite among fans. The setup for this Rube Goldberg grand finale is mind-boggling enough. The film is an all-round well-mounted production even when the plotting and the feeble score (except for Anita Mui’s nicely done song-and-dance number) are both uninspired. And Jackie even tries that Scorsese-esque tracking shot in the night club. One of JC best.
Hendri Liato’s Rating: 9/10
I loved this film! I would have to say Jackie does his best directing and acting ever. The story is simple and at the same time strong. Every minute is worth watching in this. It never left me waiting for something to happen, like a fight. I just watched it with joy scene by scene. Chan’s acting is so well done when he is naive, confused, angry, etc…This film would still be worth watching without the fights. This really shows how good of an actor Jackie really is. He is not just an action star. But the film is not a drama, and so it doesn’t really call for out-of-this-world preformances. So, the acting is kinda a special bonus. You also get great proformances out of Anita Mui and Bill Tung.
The plot and acting acting are only half of it though. The fights are ever so good. First one, Jackie must prove he is good enough to be boss in a fight with two men. The next scene not to long after that is a fight at a restaurant where Jackie fights off many foes. He uses the enviroment a great deal. Watch him hop around tables and a spiral staircase and fend off opponents with chairs and other props found in the area. This sequence had to have been perfectly planned, it was much like a dance. Then next fight is interesting. With several rickshaws scattered around the street…with Chan’s brand of action, you can probably predict what happens. Well, if you haven’t figures that out, he fights using rickshaws. Then the super rope factory fight. What can I say, it’s just hell’a good.
There is a little one on one fight going on in the finale. I think the guy with that white cloth around his head is the guy Jackie fights at the fish market in Drunken Master 2. The person at the fish market also had the white thingy and I could be mistaken. You think it is over, well, your’e half right. No more action stuff (there was already plenty of that), there is a sappy ending. Some scenes that stood out during the movie. At a party rehersal, Chan asks who has a gun, only expecting a couple of people to raise it up in the air. Unanimously, everybody raises a gun. It’s kinda funny. Another, you see all this stuff happening like explosions and stuff while Mui sings a soft song. Go put this movie on the top of your list if you want to buy Chan movies. This one seemed very rare for me. Thank God for Advantage Video.
Aloho’s Rating: 10/10
By Vic Nuyen
Aside from Drunken Master 2, this is Jackie at his all time best. We all have bashed him for his virtually plotless films, and now it is time to bite our tongues and shut up. The story tells us about a poor young man who’s luck changes every time he buys a rose from a local vendor. After buying the first rose, the once poor man with no hope becomes a highly paid triad boss. He eventually learns the ropes, and now is leading his gang to war with a rival gang, but there is also jealousy among his own gang, which leads to all sorts of trouble.
Enter Anita Mui, a out of work singer hoping to pay back her father’s gambling debts by singing at night at Jackie’s new casino. He agrees, and she is a hit. They eventually fall in love, and now enters the rose vendor from the previous storyline. She is in deep trouble, her daughter is coming on a surprise visit. Her daughter believes that she is a rich successful woman, and if her daughter finds out the truth, than she will be humiliated. To make matters worse, her daughters fiance is also coming to visit with his father, and if they also find out the truth, than the wedding could possibly be called off. Jackie agrees to help and earns the gratitude of the rose vendor.
This film isn’t just a series of gripping storylines either, it also contains some of Jackie Chan’s most innovative and breathtaking fights. The best fights occurs in a rope factory and an outside market place. Now, the format that this film has to seen in is widescreen, which showcases Jackie Chan’s talent as a director. The most impressive shot by Jackie is the tracking shot where Anita Mui enters the new hotel and the camera quickly follows her around, showing her admiration for the hotel room. The problem with this film is that it is extremly difficult to find a subtitled letterboxed copy of this film, I managed to track one down after months and months of calling and bidding. Face it, the only way that this film can possibly be viewed is in widescreen. The widescreen version shows that Jackie talent just doesn’t limit to acting, he is a brilliant director as well. Over all, this film should be viewed by all Jackie Chan fan’s everywhere. If you watch it, you probably will be as impressed as I was.
Vic Nguyen’s Rating: 10/10
This movie ranks #10 on my all time JC movie list. After watching this film, I wanted to go put on a 3 piece suit and one of those really suave hats that Jackie seems to have an obsession for. Maybe I am alone on that, but I do not care. This movie has a touching storyline with a tear jerking ending, but who cares, JC still puts on a show for you. There are three fight scenes that leave you a “wow, they must’ve spent years filming that” feeling; the restaurant fight, the fight/chase on the street, and that rope factory fight that everyone seems to have a hard on for, myself included. Don’t expect an ample amount of stunts or comedy, but the storyline is entertaining enough to keep you interested in between fight scenes. Good luck finding a good print of this one, I watched the letterbox/no english/no subs version, then I had to pick up a dubbed/pan & scan copy just to comprehend what was happening.
Clint’s Rating: 9/10