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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Gorgeous (Special Edition) (Blu-ray Review)


The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements


A beautiful young woman from Taiwan looking for romance follows a message in a bottle that leads her to Hong Kong and a successful retired kickboxer and businessman playboy whose heart she tries to win.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

The 1999 film Gorgeous is a marked shift in style for its star Jackie Chan. The film, a lighthearted Chinese New Year vehicle, is a rom-com far from the throwdown, knockout martial arts films he built his reputation on.

In Gorgeous, Chan leans more heavily on the comedy that was always a big part of his movie persona and allows the fighting to take a backseat to the romance. The gorgeous Shu Qi plays young Taiwanese woman Bu who, hoping for romance, follows her heart – and a message in a bottle she finds in her fishing village – to Hong Kong looking for the love of her life. There she discovers the gay man Albert (Tony Leung) who sent the message who, feeling responsible for her, allows her to stay with him. Meanwhile, successful businessperson C.N. (Chan) and his rival Howie (Emil Chau) have been fighting over girls and business since their school days. Bu ends up caught in the middle of their rivalry when she decides to pretend to be the runaway girlfriend of a mob boss to get C.N.’s attention. At the same time, Howie hires a Western fighter (Bradley James Allan) to humiliate C.N. who decides to start training again to take on the fighter in a rematch after being beaten for the first time.

The story in Gorgeous is very convoluted, but it is important to remember that it is not really meant to make sense. This is just a vehicle for some very lighthearted, family time out during the Chinese New Year season. What keeps the film compelling is the charismatic Shu Qi who is a far better actor than she is given credit for, especially at this point in her career. Chan, when called upon, puts on his usual dazzling show of martial arts choreography, but nothing here is as brutal or gymnastic as the old 1980s Chan. Many of the “fight” sequences are played for laughs, with Chan drawing on his Charlie Chaplin influences.

  • Jackie Chan and Bradley James Allan in Gorgeous (1999)
  • Jackie Chan and Bradley James Allan in Gorgeous (1999)
  • Tony Leung in Gorgeous (1999)
  • Jackie Chan and Shu Qi in Gorgeous (1999)
  • Gorgeous (88 Films _ US88FB014)
  • Gorgeous (88 Films _ US88FB014)

The Video

Both original and international cuts of Gorgeous are from “2K Transfers from Original Film Materials of the Hong Kong & International versions of the film” according to 88 Films. “Film Materials” does not necessarily mean the original camera negatives, or it could be a combination of “original” sources. The film is presented in 2.35:1 AVC 1080p and while the color reproduction, shadow details and contrast look good, there is some softness, a bit of haloing, and even spots where some aliasing can be seen around edges, such as around Jackie Chan’s cellphone.

The Audio

Gorgeous gets a Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix for both the original and international cut and the international cut also gets an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 dub. There is not much to this mix. It sounds almost like it could be reprocessed given the at-times heavy presence of reverb and sounds in the surrounds at the same time as the front channels. There are occasional discrete effects panned into the surrounds that seem out of place, like a car horn honking way off to the side. Apart from this unbalance, the mix does present the dialogue and main sound effects clearly and with solid midrange.

The Supplements

88 Films offer a fantastic slate of collectible and bonus features in a sumptuous package that keeps 88 at or near the top of the list of distributors who always have the most beautiful artwork and packaging. The three audio commentaries (one with Chan on the international cut) are fantastic inclusions. I always enjoy Frank Djeng’s observations and his commentary with FJ Desanto is no disappointment here, but Mike Leeder and Arne Venema make a great duo with a more upbeat and fun commentary.

Special Edition Features:

  • Reversible cover with new artwork by Sean Longmore
  • Double-sided foldout poster
  • Slipcase
  • Booklet with notes by Matthew Edwards

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary with Frank Djeng and FJ Desanto
  • Audio Commentary with Action Experts Mike Leeder and Arne Venema
  • Audio Commentary with Jackie Chan (International Cut)
  • Shy Guy – Andy Cheng on Brad Allan (1080p; 00:17:01)
  • Boxing Day – Vincent Kok Tak Chiu on Gorgeous (1080p; 00:23:54)
  • [Archive] The Making of “Gorgeous” (SD; 00:30:03)
  • Music Video (SD; 00:04:07)
  • Music Video 2 (SD; 00:04:07)
  • Hong Kong Trailer (1080p; 00:02:04)
  • English Trailer (SD; 00:01:31)

The Final Assessment

This is a fun, sweet, and lighthearted holiday movie wherein Shu Qi and Tony Leung steal the spotlight from star Jackie Chan, which is not necessarily a terrible thing. Although neither the film nor the 88 Films transfer rise to the level of reference or required viewing, it is still a compelling release.

Gorgeous (Special Edition) is out on Blu-ray April 11, 2023, from 88 Films.

  • Rating Certificate: PG-13 (for some violent content)
  • Studios & Distributors: GH Pictures | Golden Harvest Company | Golden Harvest Pictures | 88 Films
  • Director: Vincent Kok
  • Written By: Jackie Chan | Ivy Ho | Vincent Kok
  • Run Time: 120 (HK Cut) | 99 Mins. (International Cut)
  • Street Date: 11 April 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: Cantonese DTS-HD MA 5.1 (HK & International)
  • Secondary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 (International Cut)
  • Subtitles: English

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A beautiful young woman from Taiwan looking for romance follows a message in a bottle that leads her to Hong Kong and a successful retired kickboxer and businessman playboy whose heart she tries to win.Gorgeous (Special Edition) (Blu-ray Review)