Miracles
HONG KONG LEGENDS
 
Starring:
Directed By:
Jackie Chan
Year:
1989
Run Time:
122 mins
Producer: Hong Kong Legends
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Languages:
CANTONESE 5.1, English 5.1
Subtitles:
English, Dutch
W/S Subtitles:
Yes
Ratio:
2.35:1 Anamorphic
Region:
PAL 2 & 4
Genre:
Comedy/Drama/Action - PG (UK)
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MOVIE
8/10

Having been stung by critic's comments that he was just another action movie director, Jackie Chan took it upon himself to craft a film which would not only bring him financial, but also artistic, success.
This new approach brought about the creation of Miracles - a story far removed from Jackie's many cop-socky productions of years gone by.

Jackie plays Kuo Chen-Wah, a naive young Cantonese man just arrived in 1930's Hong Kong.
Upon his arrival, a seemingly excellent job opportunity falls into his lap, and Kuo quickly parts with the bulk of his savings. After finding the job to be a hoax dreamt up as a 'get rich quick' scheme, the virtually penniless Kuo realises his fantasy of a better life may be short-lived.
Buying a 'lucky rose' from a kind-hearted woman on the street with his remaining money, Kuo's future instantly takes a dramatic change...
After rescuing the boss of a Triad gang following a street shoot-out, Kuo is appointed as their new leader - a position coveted by other members of the "family".
In the process of attempting to ward off their biggest rival, Mr. Tiger, and living up to his role as the new boss, Kuo sees his opportunity to help the elderly seller of his 'lucky roses', and make her dreams come true.

The tone of the piece is far removed from the likes of Police Story, and Armour Of God, with Chan making even the fight scenes seem more like extended comedy sequences.
This 'lightening' of the action is placed alongside a more dramatically led plot, which, whilst being very well acted, remains fairly lightweight.
Still, there is much to be enjoyed. In particular, the costumes, set design, music and not least direction, are all of an extremely high standard. Although not containing as many "I've got to rewind that" moments, the film's stunt and fight action is also very good.

It's fair to say that Miracles is Jackie's finest directorial effort, as the grand scale of the nightclub scenes in particular are shot with some superb extended camerawork.
As mentioned, the set design, and costumes show that this production meant a great deal to Chan. Each scene is meticulously shot and designed, keeping the viewer firmly in the belief that they're watching a 1930's drama.
Although I'd be lying if I said that I thought that this was Jackie's best film, in terms of its quality and dramatic content, it's far in advance of anything Jackie's done before or since.

PICTURE
10/10

Having been Jackie Chan's "baby", the print has been very well preserved, and as such is in quite exceptional condition.
I was unable to notice a single mark, nick or sparkle throughout, and was just left to marvel at the stunning job HKL have done.
'Faultless' may be too strong a word for the transfer's quality, but it's certainly deserving of 'superb'.
The crisp detail of the suits, sets and costumes are reproduced with great clarity. Allied with the beautiful colour evident throughout, this transfer gives most mainstream UK DVD's a run for their money.
I honestly wouldn't have believed that a Hong Kong film from the late 80's could look this good, but to their credit, HKL have once again managed to convert me.

SOUND
6/10

This is unfortunately where the disc's biggest failing surfaces.
Three or four times during the film, dialogue becomes drowned out, overpowered by the left and right channels.
This quickly becomes extremely irritating, especially as at one time, it occurs during the film's song and dance sequence. The music suddenly drops in volume and it feels as if your ears have popped - not a good thing. Other than this, the sound mix is fairly natural, with music emanating from the front speakers, along with the occasional directional sound effect.

SUBTITLES
8/10

A few liberties are taken with the translation of certain sentences, but the subtitles are otherwise very good - clear and grammatically perfect.
There are, however, a few lines of completely mis-translated dialogue.

MENUS
10/10

Easily the best designed menus produced for a HKL release, their composition and more importantly, the way they compliment the film, are excellent. No navigational problems, and a theme which is very much in keeping with the movie's 'flavour', add up to a great DVD environment.

EXTRAS
10/10

Biography

Jackie Chan
The same animated biography which adorns every HKL Jackie Chan disc, read by voice-over-man....no comment.

Photo Gallery

30 film stills, although no behind-the-scenes shots.


Trailer Selector

The UK Promo Trailer and the Original Theatrical Trailer, which contains removable subtitles.

Further Attractions

Information and/or Trailers for:
• The Big Boss • Fist Of Fury • Once Upon A Time In China • Snake In The Eagle's Shadow • Armour Of God • Battle Creek Brawl • Iron Monkey • Purple StomDrunken MasterCity Hunter

Interview Selection


Jackie Chan (10 mins)
An interesting chat, in English, with Jackie. The interview covers Jackie's opinions of film making and fight choreography.
The most fascinating aspect, from my point of view, is the short clip of Jackie in his own archaic-looking editing suite. He moves through Miracles' song and dance scene, explaining the camera movement, and how he cuts the shots together.
It lasts little more than two minutes, but manages to provide a glimpse of how in love with cinema Jackie really is.

Commentary

How does Bey Logan do it? Yet again, a fascinating and good humoured commentary is provided, saving the otherwise rather limited extras.
It's always a pleasure to listen to Bey waxing lyrical about all aspects of a production, and especially so on a film of this scale.

CONCLUSION
8/10

The pinnacle of Jackie's directorial career, and a genuinely fun film to boot, HKL's constantly improving DVD technology pays it the respect it so richly deserves.
The exceptional picture quality is enough to show that Hong Kong films finally have found their rightful owner in HKL, and also prove that Miracles really can happen...

MOVIE
8/10
PICTURE
10/10
SOUND
6/10
SUBTITLES
8/10
EXTRAS
7/10
MENUS
10/10
PACKAGING
7/10
OVERALL
8/10