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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Miracles

Starring: Jackie Chan, Anita Mui
Director: Jackie Chan
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 122 Minutes
Release Date: January 1989
Genres: Action, Comedy, Martial Arts

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

The sweetly silly MIRACLES (QIJI), stars Jackie Chan (RUSH HOUR and SHANGHAI NOON), who also serves as the film's writer and director. Originally released in 1989, a new, uncut and undubbed version is being shown in selected theaters now in the United States. With a handsome new print that shows off the picture's sumptuous and colorful sets and costumes, the movie manages to rise above its slapstick roots.

For those who go to Chan films only to see his signature brand of comic kung fu -- he prides himself in doing his stunts himself, no matter how painful -- the movie may be disappointing. Not until a long ending sequence set in a rope factory does Chan really allow himself to cut loose and show off. When he does, it is such a treat that even those who find the body of the story flagging will think it is worth the wait.

The plot has the always adorable Chan, as Cheng Wah Kuo, accidentally becoming the leader of a group of Hong Kong gangsters, who are never happier that when their Tommy guns are blazing. (The period isn't specified but appears to be the Roaring Twenties or perhaps just a bit later.) Kuo wants his gang to find more respectable ways to earn a living, so he starts a nightclub called the Ritz in which Luming Yang (Anita Mui) becomes the lead singer.

The least interesting subplot has Kuo's rival, Tiger (Chun Hiang Ko), trying to extort half of the nightclub's earnings. The main story concerns Kuo's big-hearted attempt to turn a flower woman, Madam Kao (Yah-Leh Gui), into a wealthy socialite for a short time in order to impress the family of the Shanghai man that her daughter, Belle (Gloria Yip), wants to marry. Lies beget more lies as Kuo tries his best to help Madam Kao impress her future son-in-law's parents so that they will give their permission for him to marry her daughter.

"I'm tired of this farce," Kuo's right-hand man says at one point. And to be honest, so was I. A little trimming sometime could be a good thing. Still, even if it does drag a bit, Chan's charm saves the day. It's a good-spirited production that's certain to leave a smile on your face.

MIRACLES runs 2:07. The film is in Cantonese with English subtitles. It is rated PG-13 for action violence and some language and would be acceptable for kids old enough to read subtitles.

My son Jeffrey, age 12, seeing his first subtitled film, gave it ** 1/2. He said that he liked it and that it was cool and funny. He found the subtitles -- it's a talky film -- a bit hard to keep up with at times.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

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