Hong Kong martial arts master Jet Li plays a bodyguard from the Beijing secret police, sent to Hong Kong to protect a beautiful young witness to a mob killing, played by Christy Chung. Li turns her home into a high-securit... more »y prison, complete with video cameras surveying every room, even her bedroom. Furious, Chung resists his efforts to protect her--until the threat to her life is made abundantly clear in a spectacular shopping mall shootout. As is natural under such circumstances, romance begins to bloom, much to the dismay of Chung's lawyer boyfriend, who hired Li in the first place. Made in the last few years before the British province of Hong Kong was returned to the rule of mainland China, The Bodyguard from Beijing makes many (possibly anxious) jokes about the differences between the austere Communist bodyguard and the lackadaisical H.K. police. Li's character is so consistently stone-faced that his usual boyish charm is repressed, and the movie emphasizes gunplay over acrobatic kung fu action, but there are still kicks galore and the usual Hong Kong combination of spectacular violence and outrageous sentimentality--all captured in stylish, glossy cinematography. And how often do you get to see venetian blinds used as an offensive weapon? --Bret Fetzer« less
"I had never heard of Jet Li before Lethal Weapon 4 arrived in theaters. I'm a Mel Gibson fan so I naturally watched that movie. Jet Li was in it for maybe just over a half an hour but his fantastic moves nearly stole the film away from Gibson's humorous dialogue. Afterward, I was in search of Jet Li movies. Since then, I have seen about five and The Bodyguard from Beijing is my favorite (it's about on par with Lethal Weapon 4 but that wasn't really a Jet Li film). It has everything any action fan could ask for: a decent plot, well-developed characters (as good as possible for a Hong Kong film), humorous dialogue and situations, as well as long action sequences that are absolutely breathtaking.Ching (Jet Li) is a bodyguard from China who is assigned to protect a woman named Michelle Yeung (Christy Chung), a schoolteacher who witnessed a murder committed by a corrupt businessman. It seems she will be testifying at the trial as a witness and the businessman will stop at nothing to prevent that from happening, thus entering Ching as the man who must protect Michelle. Naturally, Michelle hates Ching the moment she sets on eyes on him, but slowly begins to fall for him despite the fact she already has a boyfriend (a very rich one, no less). Ching begins to have feelings toward her, too, and his image of a hardened bodyguard softens throughout the film.The number one question any Hong Kong film fan will ask first about this movie is if it has any good action. Yes, Bodyguard from Beijing has some spectacular action sequences that range from shootouts to an amazing martial arts fight between Li and the main villain. The shootouts aren't typical Hollywood where the hero blasts all the villains away without breaking a sweat. In this film, Li constantly moves around (quite gracefully too) to avoid being shot and displays some excellent footwork.Li is charismatic as usual and is very much likeable in almost all of his films. Christy Chung is far from annoying as some people seem to think, and Kent Cheng is quite hilarious.Action fans should look for this film. It certainly wouldn't hurt to spend just over an hour and a half watching this film."
A fast-paced, fun, and entertaining ride
Eric | Tennessee | 04/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Bodyguard from Beijing is the best of all the Jet Li movies I have seen (I have not seen Fist of Legend). The film marvelously combines romance with grand shootouts and fabulous martial arts action sequences. The result is dynamite Jet Li.Li stars as Ching, a bodyguard who is sent from communist China to protect a woman named Michelle Yeung (Christy Chung) in Hong Kong. She witnessed a murder committed by a corrupt businessman and is ready to testify on trial. She feels her life isn't in that much danger until they attack her in a mall, where Li invokes the wrath of an extremely dangerous retired soldier whose brother he killed.I'm hoping either New Line Cinema or Miramax will pick this film up and distribute it in the U.S. There's really no reason not to. Despite the fact the plot has been seen before, it's still an extremely enjoyable movie to watch. As usual, the best aspect of any Jet Li movie is the action and Bodyguard from Beijing has a lot of it, ranging from the incredible shootout in the mall to the long action-packed finale inside a luxurious house that has Jet Li hopping up and down stairs and sliding down pillars, reloading his gun without even grabbing the clip, while shooting down badguys all the way. As awesome as this shootout is the martial arts fight that comes right after it is even better. It's a furiously fast fight that involves Li fighting the retired soldier. Both men are quick and very well-trained in the martial arts. The fight involves them kicking and punching each other around while trying to get water from a sink (because of a gas leak). There's no lack of creativity in this action sequence as wet cloths and venetian blinds are used as weapons. The fight never loses pace or momentum and its movement is consistently fluid. The action sequence looks so genuine and well-choreographed beyond most of what I've seen. It's one of the best martial arts fights I've ever seen on film, ranking with Jackie Chan's ladder sequence in First Strike, the martial arts fight atop a building in Who am I?, and the deliriously long fight in the conclusion of Drunken Master 2. Much of Bodyguard from Beijing's success can be given to director Cory Yuen though it all mostly goes to Jet Li.As for the performances, Jet Li is his usual solid self though is more fun to watch this time. Christy Chung delivers a decent performance as Li's love interest while Kent Cheng is all right in the role of comic relief. Ngai Sing is particularly menacing as the villain though his character should have been in more of the film. That's really my only complaint, something most people would find minor."
HK take on Hollywood's The Bodyguard pleases
Lisa A. Adolf | Everett, WA USA | 09/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jet Li portrays John Chang, a mainland Chinese bodyguard trained by the military to be the best and latest word in protection. After using a controversial technique in a training exercise, he is diverted from taking a coveted assignment with his comrades. Instead he is sent to Hong Kong to protect a young woman, Michelle, who is the only surviving witness to a murder. Michelle is the mistress of a wealthy man, who spares no expense at protecting her life after two other witnesses are murdered by the triad leader suspect's gang.Li's John Chang is all business, a repressed, grim faced young man who has one objective: to protect his client, even at the cost of his own life. His vibrant charge soon finds his protective restrictions stifling and she sets about making life as difficult as possible for the man charged to protect her. It is not until an attempt is made upon her life in a shopping mall she has stubbornly insisted on visiting, that she begins to appreciate her no nonsense guardian. Soon, appreciation leads to infatuation, and Michelle turns the full force of her romantic charms on the unsuspecting and emotionally ill-equipped Chang. She buys him fancy clothes, an expensive watch, finding herself increasingly dissatisfied and impatient with her rich but milquetoast boyfriend. The romantic tension is almost too much for Chang, who finds himself uncharacteristically unable to concentrate on his work as her protector. The gang charged with her annihilation is now led by the brother of one of the gang killed at the shopping mall shootout. He is intent on revenging his brother by killing John. Taking advantage of Chang's distraction, he and his crew launch an attack on Michelles seemingly impregnable home which initiates the film's final showdown.Jet Li's martial arts skills take a back seat to gunplay and suspense until the climax of the film. Li's wushu talents are on full display as he engages in hand to hand combat with his foe. Intent on not repeating his mistake from the opening training exercise, Chang must now show a willingness to die for his client.Highly entertaining and ultimately more satisfying than Hollywood's The Bodyguard, Jet uses his screen appeal to good advantage in the film. The supporting players are excellent, especially Kent Cheng as one of two policemen that aid John in protecting Michelle. An excellent viewing choice for those who may not be fans of Li's period wushu pieces, the film will probably disappoint those who crave fight-laden martial arts films."
Not a bad action flick. Should see.
James Ruiz | USA | 01/23/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Jet stars as a bodyguard (obviously). Kind of a rip off of 'The Bodyguard', except Jet makes Costner look like an amateur. Great action, good plot, and Jet's smooth moves make this a decent modern-day action movie."
Go Find the Original Version, Not the Americanized One
Eric | 09/04/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I am so tired of the current trend of taking good films from Hong Kong and Americanizing them. The Defender is a perfect example. The original title was The Bodyguard From Beijing and it was subtitled as all good HK films should be. The film is based on the American film The Bodyguard with Jet Li protraying the role of Kevin Costner and charged with protecting the female lead. Jet Li plays a Chinese military officer, and the HK Police in the film never miss a chance to poke fun at Red China - something that the newer HK films are forbidden to do. Anyway, Jet Li acts in his typical style, getting into fights and all. There's a great fight at the end of the film in a kitchen filled with a noxious gas. Jet Li and the other guy go from beating on each other to trying to get some fresh air - great HK action! There's another scene set in a mall featuring Jet Li vs. everyone! If you're looking for an action movie with a plausible storyline thrown is as well, take a look at this one."