Jackie Chan. Action Romantic Comedy. Need we say more? 88 Films has brought Gorgeous to Blu-ray with two versions and loaded with extras!
One of the joys of being a fan of any actor is when they’re allowed to flex. Not flex in the way that they’re showing off but flex their talents into something out of their comfort zone. Gorgeous is a prime example of how a Super Star, Jackie Chan in this instance, takes the challenge to do something different. The results are a unique romantic comedy that’s always goofy and harmless with stings of action.
Chan plays a good guy billionaire (there isn’t such a thing in reality, but here… okay) that specializes in recycling that ends up entangled with Bu (Shu Qui) a young Taiwanese woman who finds a literal message in a bottle. Many misunderstandings, expectations, corporate takeovers, and a few boxing matches swirl around the two would-be lovers until the happiest of happy endings.
One of the beautiful things about Gorgeous is how non-action based the film is. It truly is a romantic comedy complete with a Gay Best Friend to give our young heroine guidance. Though few of these roles are filled by screen Superstars like Tony Leung. Even the spikes of action seem to be designed and created specifically for the film’s softer more romantic tone. In fact, the action manages to be lighter and funnier than even Chan’s normal set pieces. Though the comedic set pieces far outweigh the action but when people like Stephen Chow show up in a hilarious bit involving a police dog, you know they’ve made sure the balance is shifting to the balance.
All of this is for nothing if the chemistry between the leads doesn’t work. Fortunately, Chan and Qui are a great match. Qui is the right amount of youthful exuberance to counter Chan’s more stately refined exterior. Think Julia Roberts and Richard Gere – Pretty Woman NOT Runaway Bride – on the level of success and age difference. Though Richard Gere would never face off against the legendary Brad Allan as Chan does in Gorgeous.
If one is looking for a rom-com with a bit more punch – pun completely intended – the Gorgeous is the film for you.
The new 2K Transfers from Original Film Materials of the Hong Kong & International versions of the film are beautiful representations of these 35mm shot films. The handsomely sharp image has been beautifully restored, the result being a sharp handsome Blu-ray that’s lightyears ahead of the previous home video iterations of the title on Blu-ray. There isn’t a fault or issue with the image, not a scratch or defect, not any digital issues like artifacting or ghosting.
They include the following:
- Audio Commentary with Frank Djeng and FJ Desanto [Hong Kong Version]
- Audio Commentary with Action Experts Mike Leeder and Arne Venema [Hong Kong Version]
- Audio Commentary with Jackie Chan [International Version]
- Shy Guy – Andy Cheng on Brad Allan
- Interview with Director Vincent Kok
- The Making of “Gorgeous”
- Music Video
- Music Video 2
- Hong Kong Trailer
- English Trailer
The Audio Commentary with Frank Djeng and FJ Desanto begins with the huge success of the film and some of the various credits and setting up the film. Some of the details include a history of the island that Bu – the character played by Shu Qui – in Taiwan; the various dialects used in the film throughout, the locations the production used; the career and work of Richie Jen; the change of pace for Jackie Chan – how this film differs from other Chan’s films – including the character, the setup, the action the comedy; the age difference between Shu Qui and Jackie Chan, Tony Leung’s hesitance in taking the role in the film and the reasons why; the career of Shu Qui – and her time in Category 3 films and transition out of those films; the various differences between this and the international cut – which had 20 minutes cut out of it; the development of the film original without Jackie Chan and the reasons he ended up starring; FJ’s discussion of his second encounter (and his first encounter) – a larger discussion about fandom of Jackie and his fan club; the cameo by Stephen Chow – and how it came about; how this lines up with other CNY films; a larger discussion of Brad Allan as a stunt performer, actor, and the only non-Chinese, and how he eventually appeared and joined Jack Chan Stunt Team; a discussion about the two Jackie Chan vs Brad Allan fight scenes; discussion throughout the film about the various cast and crew that contributed to the film and a larger discussion of their work with Jackie Chan, and much more. Again, Djeng and Desanto deliver an entertaining and informative commentary track.
The Audio Commentary with Action Experts Mike Leeder and Arne Venema begins with a pretty hilarious bit about the logo for the film [if you’re a huge fan of HK films you’ll get it]. Some of the details include the literal translation of the Cantonese title, the film that Chan was supposed to do in Japan and how he chose this film over that film; a great discussion of Lam Suet – actor and prop master; a discussion of Shu Qui and her breaking out of the Category 3 films into super stardom – including various titles she starred in; a discussion of Tony Leung’s role – including how he got his start with Stephen Chow, and another mention of the infamous Space Station show he alternated starring on with Chow; the cameo by Daniel Wu – a larger discussion of his career and how big he got; the trouble outside the production that Jackie Chan was having at the time; another great discussion of the cost of the apartment Chan lives in – which is a call back to their discussion about Sammo Hung’s Character’s apartment in Dragons Forever; a side conversation about Chan’s real life apartments around HK and China; the work of cinematographer Man-po Cheung – a long list of great films he’s worked on; Shu Qui being offered Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon – and a whole discussion as why she passed; why they used Chow Yun-Fat as apart of a comedic set piece; a larger discussion of the “brown face” scene – and how it is more common than one would think; the graffiti that lines in the apartment and how debt collectors do this all the time in HK; the cameo by Stephen Chow; the very luxy restaurant Felix Feast on HK Harbor – which they filmed at; Leeder being on set for the first Chan vs Allan fight; a larger discussion about Brad Allan – how he came up in the industry a few interesting anecdotes about training and his credentials, and his passing and what he meant to everyone and the industry; a larger discussion throughout the film about the various cast and crew that contributed to the film and a larger discussion of their work with Jackie Chan – which varies from the similar talking points from the Djeng and Desanto track, and much more. Leeder and Venema provide another winning commentary track – deeply informative and highly entertaining, especially for those that love HK Film industry history and anecdotes.
The Audio Commentary with Jackie Chan, in English no less, opens with a discussion of why he chose to make this film from his point of view. Some of the details include wanting to make another Armor of God 3 – which never happened at the time (which eventually did happen, years later, as Chinese Zodiac as released internationally); the development of the screenplay and story and how it evolved; the wanting to bring on a new actress to star in and how Shu Qui was cast; using and casting Brad Allan – and a larger discussion of why he cast him and his personal history with him; the casting of Emil Chau; the reason why he always directs his own action scenes and a great discussion of why his set pieces are so intricately complex; a larger discussion of how he and his stunt team approaches the stunt and just how complex it is; how he cycles through so many people on his stunt team and why he has so much fresh talent; Chan’s singing his title songs – why he didn’t sing on this film, how he’s sung title songs for other star’s film (like Jet Li), and also a sample of his talents; why he did not direct this film – a larger discussion about Vincent Kok as a director on this film; some of the dictums that he approaches his films – no extreme violence, no sex, etc.; his relationship with Leonard Ho – and a discussion of why he didn’t do other films up until around the time of making this film in 1998-1999; his reasons why he did not do romances and dramas and also his want to take those on along with working with directors like Johnnie To; what he heard regarding the film’s success with fans beyond the box office; a discussion of how the first Chan vs Brad Allan fight evolved and changed from his normal fights; how he uses his production offices and how it was referenced by his production designer and art director in this film; why he gives cameos to the various people in his life; how films are photographed and designed in HK as opposed to America; how he approached the film as “no villains” dictum and how that evolved into the action; and much more. Chan gives us some great insight into how he approaches films from every aspect from development, action, stunts, character, and drama. All along being entertaining and a gracious host. Chan speaking English shows just how much he loves his Western Audiences as he does his Eastern Audiences. Highly recommended.
Shy Guy – Andy Cheng on Brad Allan (17:01) – in this all-new interview, actor/stunt performer Andy Cheng discusses the late Actor/Stunt Performer/Action Choreographer. Some of the details include that Chan personally paid for Allan’s work on Mr. Nice Guy – which was his first film; the various other films he did that eventually led to his work on Gorgeous; Allan getting the Action Choreographer on Shang Chi and his bringing in Cheng – and how they approached the film together; and much more. Cheng gives a great eulogy to a talented performer gone too early.
Interview with Director Vincent Kok (23:54) – the all-new interview the director/actor discusses his origins and beginnings. Some of the details include how he got into the HK Film Industry, his mentorship under his “Sifu” and how that worked, his working and personal relationship with Stephen Chow; how he got the assignment for Gorgeous; the development and changes made to the initial script by Ivy Chan; how he had a meeting with Chan during the press tour of Rush Hour; the casting of Shu Chi; how he collaborated with Chan – from acting to the action set pieces; how the Stephen Chow cameo came to be; how he was able to cast Tony Leung and working with him – including the action scene; and much more.
The Making of “Gorgeous” (30:03) – an archival making-of that was created and produced by Gold Harvest for the release of the film. Using a combination of B-Roll Footage, talking head interviews, and footage from the film to create a relatively in-depth look at the production. In Cantonese with English Subtitles.
Music Video (4:07) – slightly more “romantic” version of the music video.
Music Video 2 (4:07) – the second music video is more “comedic” in tone.
Hong Kong Trailer (2:04) – In Cantonese with English Subtitles.
English Trailer (1:32) – Dubbed in English.
The Final Thought
88 Films again delivers again with Gorgeous. Another great Blu-Ray edition filled with great bonus content and equally great picture and sound. High Recommendations!