Gorgeous (1999)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Jackie Chan, Shu Qi, Tony Leung, Emil Chau
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurette, Music Video, Talent Files

Fans of Hong Kong Martial Arts superstar Jackie Chan’s fans may be a little surprised by the master’s latest movie, ’Gorgeous.’ Now available on DVD through Columbia TriStar Home Video, the film is more of a romantic comedy than the furious action comedy Chan has become so famous for. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t really be a Jackie Chan movie without any fights, right? Get ready for some very cool – albeit very different – fighting sequences in this movie. Most of it is body work without overly flashy action stunts, giving the film a very distinct note. Breathtakingly executed, these showcases of martial arts are nothing short of mesmerizing once again, with a good portion of humor.

Remaining faithful to the original version of the movie, Columbia TriStar Home Video presents ’Gorgeous’ in a 16×9 enhanced widescreen version that is neither cut nor modified. (Editor: After initially publishing this review, we have learned that the film has actually been cut by 22 minutes compared to its original Chinese counterpart, making it obviously much less desirable than the original version released in Hong Kong.) The 2.35:1 aspect ratio is nicely used to create interesting image compositions with great visual depth and beautiful lighting set-ups. The colors are strong and absolutely natural, also rendering skin tones very faithfully. The compression is meticulous and no signs of artifacting are evident in the presentation, giving the movie a crisp and clean look.

’Gorgeous’ contains the original Cantonese language track in a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital mix, as well as an English dubbed track in 5.1 Dolby Digital. Fortunately the disc defaults to the Cantonese track with English subtitles turned on, which most serious fans of the film will certainly appreciate. The audio quality is very good and without distortion. The track makes good use of the surround channels in a number of scenes, although for the most part, the sound field is firmly located in the front of the mix with good left-right integration. Dialogues are well integrated and never drowned out by the sound effects or the atmospheric, light-hearted music.
The DVD also contains a running length audio commentary by Jackie Chan. However, it is almost entirely non-technical and Chan mostly talks about the people in the movie and how the film itself came together. Given the language barrier, the track is also dragging a little at times, making it hard to follow his thoughts while the movie is running.

As I said in the opening, ’Gorgeous’ is quite a change of pace for Jackie Chan. But even as a stockbroker and heartbroken lover he comes across as amusing, likable and charismatic as ever. This maybe not be his most spectacular or gripping movie but with Jackie Chan you always know you get solid humor and spectacular Martial Arts, always a notch above the rest.