I found it racist This is my reason for disliking Sean Penn AND Madonna. On the plus side, this movie and Who's That Girl showcase Madonna's lack of natural acting ability so one is never tempted to even wonder if her remake of the Italian classic Swept Away deserves a look-see and if you hated Sean Penn's cannibalistic turn in Mystic River, you'll love this film as evidence of the actor's lack of integrity and fairness albeit towards the Chinese who aren't supposed to be worth much never mind the rise of their currency. I was fortunate enough to be in the audience of the original Broadway run of Evita and I have the cast recording and I am convinced that Madonna basically and only copied what she could glean off the recording of Patti Lupone's performance for the extended music video that was the moovie Evita. I don't want to express anything hurtful so I will restrain myself from giving my complete opinion about this movie and what I think it says about these two actors. This movie is offensive to me and the lack of outrage by the critics when this movie came out is also offensive to me. I'm ashamed that this movie was created in my lifetime when my country presents itself as good enough to tell other countries how to behave.
Why does Sean Penn tend to play characters who are from the wrong side of the tracks anyway? Wasn't he born with a silver spoon in his mouth? This reminds me of Matt Damon making Good Will Hunting and Marky Mark caint do nuttin about that. Haw.
Madonna is a narcissist and she bootlegs intellectual property. She's safer just being herself.
A Must For The Madonna Completist! It's hard to believe that 21 years have passed since this Madonna-Sean Penn disaster was first released. And time has not worked any wonders on this clumsily plotted, awkwardly incompetent movie. What you get with this SPECIAL EDITION release is a beautifully remastered picture with 5.1 sound, a gaggle of special features which are quite funny (one of which I'm actually on--listen for me on the fans commentary, I'm the bitchy New Yorker in the room!). It's a movie only a dedicated Madonna fan could love, and if you are one, then you simply must upgrade!flop suey It seems like "Shanghai Surprise" is synonymous with bad movies. I don't care, I really love this movie. Because it falls into that so bad it's pathetically funny category. Madonna plays the part of Gloria Tatlock, missionary for all the laughing sinners. Gloria meets Glendon Wasey (don't you just love that name?) (played by Madonna's first-husband, Sean Penn) and although it is a dramatic action story (they're searching for opium) it is also a love story between Gloria and Glendon. My favorite part was when Gloria fell out of the window while Glendon laughs at her.
Disappointing because the stars ARE stars Madonna has proven time and again that she's a talented actress, from the sly fun of "Desperately Seeking Susan" to her phenomenal performance in "Evita", and of course Sean Penn's an Oscar winner. Although this is one of their earlier films - WHAT WERE THEY THINKING???? This movie isn't fun, just dumb, from the blase plot to the far-fetched premise of Madonna as a missionary. This talented couple is utterly wasted on this flick and the lousy script is more of a tragedy than the Penns' failed marriage. Ugh.give it a chance i saw this movie in the theater when i was a kid (the place was completely empty). i haven't seen it in ages since but i just got the dvd and i didn't remember it being so good. what an enjoyable film.
madonna and sean are both sexy and adorable. the plot is full of fun twists and the ending is so uplifting. i don't think it's anything oscar-worthy but it does what a good movie should do: it entertains.
along with desperately seeking susan and who's that girl, this is one of madonna's most natural performances. she doesn't overpower the movie the way she has in all her post-league of their own work (that power only worked to her advantage in evita).
also, she's not as mannered and affected here as she is in later films. the only stiff part is in the beginning (where one newspaper reviewer said she seemed to be reading off cue cards) where gloria is treating glendon with distaste. i guess it's hard for madonna to play "stiff" without seeming like she's acting.
but the rest of her performance is very natural. her smile at the end when sean takes her arm and makes her wave to faraday is extraordinary, on par with the acting of a good romantic comedy actress like sandra bullock or julia roberts.
i can see why sean and madonna wanted to do this. it had the potential to be well-received (though period screwball comedies/love stories were an outdated genre after 1975) but i think the media can make or break you. the media was really fed up with the poison penns and that's why they trashed this movie.