The Bodyguard from Beijing
AKA: The Defender
Director: Corey Yuen
Stars: Jet Li, Christy Chung, Kent Cheng
A pop star (Chung) is targeted for assassination after she agrees to be a witness in a murder case. The Hong Kong police (led by Cheng) don't seem to be up to the task, so her boyfriend (or is it her dad? The subs are badly translated in parts) hires a presidential guard from the Mainland (Li) to be her bodyguard. Even though the two hate each other at first, eventually they fall in love -- but the romance is threatened when the bodyguard himself becomes a target. If this sounds familiar, it should. The Bodyguard from Beijing is a HK remake/re-tooling/ripoff (however you want to view it) of the popular (but horrid) US movie The Bodyguard, with Chung taking Whitney Houston's role and Li filling in for Kevin Costner.
I don't usually like romantic sub-plots in action movies, mostly because the relationships seem so false that they become unbelievable. Bodyguard falls into this trap -- there's really no chemistry between Li and Chung and no real development of the relationship. Chung literally falls in love with Li in a matter of minutes and it just seems fake. Throw in a bunch of other tired cliches (the inept sidekick, an annoying/cute kid) and Bodyguard could have been a huge stinker.
What saves the movie are the action sequences. Corey Yuen is one damn good action director. Li is in fine form here, displaying his trademark coolness under fire. While most of the action is of the gun-fu type, there is a great martial arts sequence at the end that should satisfy any kung-fu fan. If you turn your brain off, you'll have a pretty good time watching The Bodyguard from Beijing. And thankfully, unlike the US original, there's no horrid Whitney Houston ballads to put up with.
A review of the DVD (US version) for this movie can be found here
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