The Bodyguard from Beijing (1994)
Reviewed by: Arshadnm6 on 2005-04-08
Summary: Entertaining fluff with a few good action scenes!!
Jet Li is a mainland bodyguard assigned to protect Christy Chung (a wealthy businessman’s girlfriend), who witnessed a murder and has Ngai Sing and his henchmen persistently pursuing her. Kent Cheng is a mild-manner policeman who is also assigned to guard her, but doesn’t seem to be as paranoid as Jet Li. These circumstances set-up a conflict between Christy Chung and Jet Li in regards to running her life and both have to adapt (more in Jet Li’s cases, where he is a hard-nut and has strict principles to his life and job) as in Kevin Costner’s ‘The Bodyguard’.

The final showdown between Jet Li and Ngai Sing is about the only martial arts scene in the whole movie and closely resembles some of the concepts used in the final fight for Jet Li’s ‘Black Mask’ (utilising a gas-filled room etc.). This movie was possibly aiming to display Jet Li’s solid acting ability as opposed to his martial arts prowess (this is a terrible waste of talent considering the involvement of renowned action choreographers Corey Yuen Kwai and Yuen Tak not to mention Jet Li). The characters do put some good acting performances and emotional feelings into the movie (except for Chirsty Chung who is on a whole different page from the actors and just there to be a pretty face to look at!!!). Also, Jet Li uses a gun to awful effect in a shopping mall shoot-out, where about 20 – 30 triad members rush out, determined to assassinate Chirsty Chung, and probably was never taught how to use a firearm for the role (as he swings it about more like a rope or staff or some sort of hand-to-hand weapon in various ridiculous postures).

The budget for this movie is reasonable but never seems to impress and at times looks like a B-movie possibly due to some bad decisions regarding clustered and uninspired environments and surroundings (including a lack of extras). The cast list is also quite small deliberately to concentrate on the main actors (not including Ngai Sing who comes in minor roles throughout the movie, mostly just the two scenes, one in which he finds out his brother was killed in the shoot-out in the mall, and the second where the last fight scene of the movie occurs). Sometimes, the movie runs out of energy due to a lack of interest and Chirsty Chung is not authentic enough for a damsel in distress. Furthermore, Jet Li always tries to put a gap between him and the rest of the actors which is not very helpful.

Overall, the movie’s length is reasonable and the acting is bad and has very little and short action scenes. Furthermore, there are no plot twists, some interspersed comedy to keep things light-hearted. This movie has considerable flaws and tries to be a tear-jerker but fails miserably and the one good thing about this film is that it capitalises on Jet Li’s emotionless acting ability. I recommend if you are really thinking about watching a serious modern day action movie, you can either opt for Jet Li’s Hitman or Black Mask.

Overall Rating: 5.8/10
Reviewer Score: 6