This film has a good plot (a romance, in a background of change in an exotic place), a great cast (Jeremy Irons, Li Gong, Maggie Cheung), and a well-known director (Wayne Wang, the director of "The Joy Luck Club"). Notwithstanding that, "Chinese box" falls short of expectations, and can only be defined as a forgettable movie.
In case you are still interested in this film, despite what I have just told you, I will outline the plot for you. The main character is John (Jeremy Irons), a journalist in love with Vivian (Li Gong), a lovely Chinese woman with a shady past that he cannot have. John discovers he is severely ill, and decides to make something in the last few months he has left. He wants to make a documentary regarding Hong Kong, the place where he lives as an expatriate. During his new endeavour, John meets a very troubled young woman (played by Maggie Cheung), and manages to document some of the turmoil that took place in Hong Kong before the Chinese takeover in 1997.
All in all, I regret renting this movie, and I regard the time I spent watching "Chinese Box" as lost. Not recommended.
PS: At least I didn't buy it!