Director: Jackie Chan
Starring: Jackie Chan, Anita Mui, Lo Lieh, Wu Ma, Bill Tung, Kuei Ya-lei, Chun Hsiung Ko, Billy ChowGloria Yip, Richard Ng
Based on Frank Capra’s “A Pocketful of Miracles,” Mr. Canton and Lady Rose rose out of criticism that Jackie Chan’s films were simply poor shot action set pieces. Taking that criticism to heart Jackie decided to direct this film himself, in an effort to contend against that harsh criticism.
Jackie stars as a country bumpkin who, upon arriving in the big city, finds himself inheriting the gang of a leader while inadvertently playing good Samaritan. Not savvy at all with respect to the crime industry, he is quite adept with his fists, and he has a secret weapon on his side, Lady Rose. Believing her and her roses to be an invaluable good luck charm, he successfully navigates the world of triads, including managing a night club with a little help from his singer/love interest, the late Anita Mui. When Lady Rose discovers that her daughter is coming for a visit with well to do fiance in tow, Jackie agrees to help her put on a show to convince the groom’s family that they are worthy of joining the family. With thugs and con artists at his disposal, will Jackie be able to convince anyone that these criminals are high society?
Jackie is at the top of his game here, every facial expression and joke is spot on. He provides some of his best action in this movie; standouts are his restaurant fight and a showdown with rope factory workers led by a tough as nails Billy Chow. Leading lady Anita Mui is beautiful in the film, showcasing her singing talent and dancing skills in a welcome musical number that serves the film well. Other familiar faces populate the film as well, with Bill Tung and Richard Ng turning in memorable performances.
The film features fantastically dynamic photography. Using multiple cranes and dollies, there are quite a few beautiful sequences throughout the picture. Costumes are well done and truly reflect the time period. Music is well done with a zippy score that reflects Jackie’s love of silent era comedy. Anita sings “Meigui Meigui wo ai ni” or “Rose, Rose I Love You” beautifully and this film actually introduced me to the popular Chinese song. Overall, the film looks and sounds great.
Mr. Canton and Lady Rose is my favorite Jackie Chan film. It has humor in spades, fantastic action sequences, and is probably the best shot HK film of the 80s. With a great cast of veterans, the chemistry on film is undeniable. It is pure entertainment and its delivery of both nostalgia and flash makes for a film you’ll want to revisit over and over again. One of my most watched films ever; I cannot recommend this film enough, do yourself a favor and watch it NOW.