Monday, February 15, 2010

'Miracles' has Jackie Chan in his prime

Miracles (aka "Black Dragon" and "The Canton Godfather") (1989)
Starring: Jackie Chan, Anita Mui and Richard Ng
Director: Jackie Chan
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars

When kindhearted accountant Cheng Wa Kuo (Chan) is made boss of the Black Dragon criminal syndicate through a series of coincidences, he sets about trying to reform the gangsters, starting with shifting efforts into a successful, legitimate Hong Kong night club, and culminating with an elaborate scheme to bring about happiness for a flower vendor and her daughter, who wishes to marry the son of a wealthy Shanghai industrialist. To pull it off, between the jealousy of his girl firend (Mui), a rival ganglord, and a corrupt police commissioner (Ng), he'll need several miracles.

"Miracles" is a lighthearted romp through 1920s Hong Kong. Bullets fly as tommy guns chatter, but the only death in the film is the gang leader that Chan takes over for. Everyone else survives the cartoon violence to fight another day... and, boy, do they fight!

This film showcases Jackie Chan in his prime. The two major fight scenes in the flim (one in a tea house, the other--and incredibly spectacular--in a rope factory) feature some of the finest Prop Fu of any of his films. The plot--which becomes so burdened with convoluted deceptions as the that the characters run themselvves ragged to keep them straight and concealed--is hilarious. It also manages to be sweet without getting overly sacharine in flavor.

I recommend this film highly for fans of Jackie Chan, lovers of romantic comedies, and those who enjoy movies set during the Roaring Twenties.

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