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China (2004), 99 minutes
Starring: Michelle Yeoh, Richie Jen Hsien-chi, Luke Gross, Brandon Chang, Li Bing-bing, Chen Daming
Reviewer: Teri Tom
Genre: Comedy, Martial Arts
Rating: 3.5
It sure is a nice change to see high job satisfaction in the superhero industry. Ever since Michael Keaton’s brooding Batman, it’s just been one whiny superhero after another. The pinnacle would be this summer’s 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 Yeoh’s 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 it’s also got Michelle Yeoh, still moving great and displaying a comedic side I haven’t seen before. Even in her lighter films like Wing Chun, she has usually played the straight man, so it’s 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 Lulu’s childhood buddy, Rich Man. There are some really cute Miss Congeniality-like flashbacks of the two.

I’m willing to forgive most of this film’s sillier elements. After all, this is just about fun. But one thing that I can’t let go is our heroine’s poor judgment during the climax. Geez, never turn your back on your opponent! And that’s all I’ll say.

Also annoying is the constant ping-pong between English and Chinese dubbing. I’m sure it’s a market-expanding ploy, but it just ends up being distracting. But I digress. I don’t want to leave on a grumpy note, because Silverhawk, with its good old-fashioned fun, will definitely lift your spirits.