Mr. Canton and Lady Rose
AKA: Miracles, Canton Godfather, Black Dragon, Chinese Godfather, Singapore Sling
Director: Jackie Chan
Stars: Jackie Chan, Anita Mui, Richard Ng, Bill Tung, Lo Lieh, Gloria Yip
Most Hong Kong film fans know how influenced Jackie Chan is by films from Hollywood's "golden age." Some elements from these movies have crept into many of Chan's own, such as Project A and its' sequel. This movie, however, is not just inspired by those films from years gone by, and perhaps that is why it tends to divide Jackie Chan fans so much.
The movie's plot (most of which is derived from a Frank Capra film called Lady for a Day, which was remade in the 1960's as Pocket Full of Miracles) centers around Chan, who plays a immigrant coming to Hong Kong. He meets up with a kindly old flower seller and decides to buy one -- and just narrowly misses being hit by a car. The car is full of gangsters and Chan helps fight off a rival gang. The gang's leader mistakenly makes Chan his successor and the story is off and running. Chan tries to make the gang go legit by opening a club and things seem to be going well, until Chan learns that the flower seller (whose wares have seemed to always bring him good luck) is facing a crisis. Chan enlists the aid of his gangster buddies to hatch a plan to save the day.
I will admit this movie has its' share of faults -- a somewhat overlong running time, hammy acting, a cheesy music score, a script too convoluted for its own good, a few too many characters in the mix, and a sugary-sweet ending. However, I found quite a number of good things in the film as well. The movie, for the most part, is fun. It doesn't take itself too seriously and that feeling rubs off on its audience. There's also a nice bit of outright comedy, mostly coming from Richard Ng as a bumbling policeman. Anita Mui delivers a wonderful, almost Bubsy Berkely-esque song-and-dance number. The action (even though there is not as much of it as in most other Chan movies) is done quite well. Some of the cinematography is quite good for a Jackie Chan movie; supposedly a crane shot of Anita Mui entering a hotel room cost more to shoot than many of Chan's early films. Lastly, it was nice to see such a wide range of stars in the film -- everyone from old-school stars like Mars to more contemporary people like Yuen Biao and Amy Yip.
This isn't the usual Jackie Chan fare, but if you're willing to try something a little different, give this film a chance. Despite the bad word of mouth this movie has gotten, you may just be pleasantly surprised.
(As a side note, this is Jackie Chan's favorite film of his.)
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