Hong Kong Cinema


  • Made: 1999
  • Format: DVD
  • Region: Region 2 PAL
  • Release Date: 11 Sept 2000
  • Company: Columbia Tristar
  • Length: 95 mins
  • Picture: Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Language: Cantonese with English Subtitles, English Dubbed
  • Extras: Dolby Digital, Filmography, Commentary, Isolated Score
  • Classification: PG


Vincent Kok


Jackie Chan, Qi Shu, Bradley Allen, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Hsien-Chi Jen, Elaine Jin, Ken Lo, Emil Chow

In the late nineties Jackie Chan started to enjoy world-wide recognition and box office success in the shape of Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon. Unlike Jet Li, he also continued to produce films for the Hong Kong market including 1999's Gorgeous (aka Glass Bottle). Even at the tender age of forty-five he was still eager to capitalise on his iconic sex symbol status in the East with this romantic action-comedy. To make sure that his fellow co-stars do not threaten his role as romantic lead, Tony Leung (Infernal Affairs, Hard Boiled) is cast as an ultra-camp diva! There are plenty of cameos for Jackie Chan regulars and after his work on Mr Nice Guy, and Who Am I?, Bradley Allen gets a well deserved lead as his main opponent.


The young and innocent Bu (Shu Qi), grows restless of her life in a quiet and sedentary fishing village yearning for her true love. Then one day she receives a message in a bottle beckoning her to Hong Kong and she leaps on the first plane to the bright lights of the city. Unfortunately for Bu, she discovers that the author of the message was actually Albert (Tony Leung) in a desperately romantic quest for another man. However all is not lost, as Bu manages to save Jackie Chan from a bunch of thugs onboard his speedboat. The thugs chasing Jackie are none other than the henchmen of his life-long rival (Emil Chow).

Unlike most of Jackie's early movies, his rivalry with Emil Chow is not based in martial arts or crime prevention, but rather big business. The only other notable occasion when Jackie entered the corporate world was in Dragons Forever when he played a soulless lawyer (and was a turn off for many fans, especially in Japan ). This time we see Jackie as a determined and single-minded businessman who has no time for friends, family or a serious relationship. However, as you may have guessed, he starts to fall for the charms of the innocent Bu (who is young enough to be his daughter!). Jackie has another problem to contend with, in the shape of Bradley Allen, who has been hired by Chow to make a mockery of his martial arts after the continued incompetence of his own henchmen.



The action throughout Gorgeous complements the story line rather than dominating it. In contrast to many of Jackie's more explosive action movies, you do not feel that the plot purely exists to support the action. The action shifts between his trademark slapstick action and more intense one-on-one encounters. Jackie starts proceedings with two fun encounters with the cannon-fodder henchmen, there is a chase around Jackie's speedboat that it strikingly similar to the opening fight in Dragons Forever, it is also toned down for a more mainstream feel. The next fight involves Jackie showing off with some baseball bats, the action is enjoyable but arguably sacrifices impact for a more choreographed tempo.

The early action nicely warms up the viewer for the final solo encounters with Bradley Allen. This was a departure for Jackie Chan after a flurry of films that had forgone the more traditional 'end bad-guy' encounter since Drunken Master 2 (1994). In contrast, subsequent films had climaxed with group brawls, explosion and car chases (Rumble in the Bronx , Mr Nice Guy, Thunderbolt, Rush Hour, First Strike etc). The film goes one step further by harking back to classic kung fu movies such as Snake in the Eagle's Shadow and Drunken Master as Jackie gets his butt kicked by his rival before returning for to avenge himself. However, unlike his classic movies, Jackie doesn't return with a new animal form or the drunken gods, but a source of inspiration in his new found love of life and Bu!



The final fight is predictably in a factory (see Miracles, Dragons Forever, Police Story 2, Project A 2), but the combat style is not typical to the genre. There is a genuine respect between the two fighters rather than a 'fight to the death'. The action is well executed, but unlike his last great fight against Ken Lo in Drunken Master 2, there is no real attempt to disguise the wire-work. Chan fans will remember Bradley Allen for his doubling work in Who Am I? as a result of Ron Smoorenburg's lack of timing. In Gorgeous this chemistry between Chan and Allen is evident once again. The camaraderie between the fighters is similar to that between Jackie and Benny 'The Jet' in Wheels on Meals, and once again Jackie overcomes his opponent by 'loosening up' (first done by Bruce in Way of the Dragon). However, the fight offers nothing new for Chan fans, it shows Jackie providing entertaining action whilst acknowledging that he is no spring chicken anymore.



The Columbia Tristar disc is cut by 24 minutes to the meet the standard westernised Jackie film length of 90 - 95 minutes. This is an ignorant move by Columbia who should know better, especially as their Region 1 disc is the full uncut 119 minutes? The extras are nothing to get excited about, but the dual language option will satisfy fans of subs and dubs. The print is good quality but this would be expected from a movie less than five years old.


Gorgeous shows a genuine attempt to explore a softer side to Jackie without the overwhelming schmooze. It shows a complete commitment to the 'family movie', without excessive violence, injury or bad language. This film set the trend for Jackie's career over the next five years as he began to churn out mainstream action comedy (Tuxedo, The Medallion, Around the World in 80 days). The end result might not be to everyone's liking but the film makes subtle reference to his early career whilst trying something a bit different. Gorgeous may end up frustrating loyal fans and fail to charm those yet to see Jackie's Cantonese films, but as ever the man cannot be faulted for his enthusiasm many years after the apex of his career.