Chinese, 2004

Directed by Jingle Ma

Starring Michelle Yeoh, Richie Jen Hsien-chi, Luke Gross, Brandon Chang, Li Bing-bing, Chen Daming

99 minutes

Reviewed by Teri Tom

Rating (a 1 Ė 6 scale): 4

It sure is a nice change to see high job satisfaction in the superhero industry. Ever since Michael Keatonís brooding Batman, itís just been one whiny superhero after another. The pinnacle would be this summerís angst ridden Peter Parker, who brings pathos to an art form. Even Buffy was prone to extended bouts of self-pity and mopey-ness. Since when did superheroes all become so glum?

But not Michelle Yeohís Silverhawk, who fights evildoers with refreshing glee. Cover-girl Lulu Wong by day, caped crusader Silverhawk by night. She saves panda bears then takes time out to play with them, pleads with her enemies for an extra 5 minutes of fighting, and narrowly avoids bad blind dates. She even enjoys bopping around her enormous walk-in closet as she picks out which silver clothes to wear for the job.

The story is pure, cheesy fun. Dumb plot, dorky dialogue, some annoying wirework. But itís also got Michelle Yeoh, still moving great and displaying a comedic side I havenít seen before. Even in her lighter films like Wing Chun, she has usually played the straight man, so itís nice to see her goofier side in Silverhawk.

Of course, that goofier side gets a lot of help from her absolutely charming co-star Richie Jen Hsien-chi who plays Luluís childhood buddy, Rich Man. There are some really cute Miss Congeniality-like flashbacks of the two.

Iím willing to forgive most of this filmís sillier elements. After all, this is just about fun. But one thing that I canít let go is our heroineís poor judgment during the climax. Geez, never turn your back on your opponent! And thatís all Iíll say.

Also annoying is the constant ping-pong between English and Chinese dubbing. Iím sure itís a market-expanding ploy, but it just ends up being distracting. But I digress. I donít want to leave on a grumpy note, because Silverhawk, with its good old-fashioned fun, will definitely lift your spirits.