The Bodyguard From Beijing
1994 Directed by Corey Yuen. Starring Jet Li Lien-Jie, Chueng Lai Tai, Kent Cheung.
REVIEWED By Joey O'Bryan, Fri., Oct. 21, 1994
Hong Kong martial arts superstar Jet Li Lien-jie leaves his pigtail, swords, and spears behind for this entertaining modern-day action picture, opting instead for a full head of hair and a seemingly never-ending arsenal of handguns. Li plays a stoic bodyguard from Mainland China who is sent to Hong Kong in order to protect the spoiled young wife (Love on Delivery's Chueng Lai Tai) of a wealthy businessman who, after witnessing a brutal murder by Triad gangsters, is constantly in danger from their vicious hitmen. As the film progresses, the initially rigid Lai Tai slowly starts to fall for Li, who has himself become the target of a personal vendetta when he makes the mistake of killing an unhinged ex-soldier's brother in the line of duty. Although the plot and title bear resemblance to a certain American Kevin Costner vehicle, Li makes an infinitely more convincing bodyguard, the romantic subplot between Jet and Lai Tai moves in unexpected directions, and director Corey (Fong Sai Yuk) Yuen Kwai keeps the pace fast (unlike the ridiculously overlong Costner picture) and provides a brauva action climax to boot. It ends up on a cleverly ambiguous note, leaving Li's character's fate more or less up to the audience. There is some unwanted comic relief with Li's two bumbling cop sidekicks, as well as some goofy sitcom-esque transition shots, but for the most part, Bodyguard Fom Beijing is lively, unpretentious fun.