We’ve been doing double features for a while and I just couldn’t figure out how to break up these three films so I decided to keep them together. Welcome to the very long ago but finally revisited for now Triple Feature. A long description for just a sporadic segment to say the least. However, Stephen Chow and 80s/90s Hong Kong Comedy is what I like. It had a lot of charm and is witty and fun for the most part. Other than Look Out, Officer!, the other two are first time viewings. All of them can be found on Netflix (Canada), if you have another version of Netflix then you will have to see if its there.
Its a longer post so let’s check it out!
Look Out, Officer (1990)
Director: Sze Yu Lau
Cast: Stephen Chow, Bill Tung, Stanley Sui-Fan Fung, Vivian Chen, Kong Fong, Siu-Wai Mui
After police officer Biao is murdered, his soul cannot be at rest for his murder has been written off as a suicide. Therefore the heavens send him back to Earth as a spirit to find his ‘savior’ who will help him clear his name. Sing, a rookie officer, is the savior and in return for finding Biao’s killer, Biao must get him a girlfriend and a promotion. – IMDB
Look Out Officer is one of the earlier films in Stephen Chow’s filmography coming right after 1989’s Saint of Gamblers that gave him the main character and revealing that he was able to be funny. This is one of the rare few movies where he carries the movie with other comedic actors instead of his partner of crime, Man-Tat Ng. However, it delivers so well. In some ways, its absolutely absurd and silly but there are some great moments that land well. Plus, it adds in a supernatural and crime element to the story. The effects are pretty much dated and fairly laughable but being a comedy, it just adds in to the great moments. To be honest, I actually forgot about some of the supporting and cameo roles here and how they were part of this movie but has gone through the years to bigger and better things in different areas of entertainment.
Perhaps because this was one of the handful of Stephen Chow movies that I watched when I was young that there is a nostalgic love that I have for it. However, something here works well although it does merge itself well with having a decent knowledge of the Hong Kong society especially with their emphasis on the crimes and the undercover part. Its not a perfect movie but a truly entertaining one as it works something like the spirit helping him, Biao is something like the genie to Aladdin who has the ability to destroy his plans if he so wishes. Bill Tung and Stanley Fung are both incredible actors on their own and both have a decent career so their presence definitely adds onto the overall success of the film to help some of the jokes here land and for Stephen Chow to work together with.
Doubles Cause Troubles (1989)
Director (and writer): Jing Wong
Cast: Carol DoDo Cheng, Maggie Cheung, Wilson Lam, Pak-Cheung Chan
When the tenant in their flat dies under suspicious circumstances, two bickering cousins are forced to navigate both sides of the law. – Netflix
Before Maggie Cheung got all serious with her acting role choices, she did a lot of comedic acting roles in the 80s and 90s films. On the topic of Stephen Chow from before, she did actually play a love interest for Stephen Chow in All’s Well That Ends Well. In Doubles Cause Troubles, we have Maggie Cheung playing opposite talented actress Dodo Cheng who honestly is known for her humor and her overall empowering presence. Both of these ladies held their own as they played cousins bickering and eventually having to work together, realizing that they have a pretty good connection. In all the random silliness they get caught into for this, the focus here may be the crime elements and the other characters all hilarious to watch as well, especially Pak-Cheung Chan, however, they are the stars here as their presence is undeniable. They are the show.
Doubles Cause Troubles is a little over the top but the movie is a typical Jing Wong with a lot of signature comedic style that Stephen Chow films have also. His writing and directing is incredibly on point. There are so many familiar faces in this film, especially if you are familiar with the Hong Kong film industry. Especially Wilson Lam, who I’ve heard has been recently spotted coming back out of the woodwork to acting again. He was the non-comedic element that kept the film grounded in the crime element. The plot is a little everywhere as it masks the bickering for love and the crime elements of who is trustworthy. Its saving grace is how easily its two leading ladies can deliver all the jokes and make it an overall enjoyable experience packed with laugh out loud moments.
The Mad Monk (1993)
Director: Siu-Tung Ching & Johnnie To
Cast: Stephen Chow, Maggie Cheung, Man-Tat Ng, Anita Mui, Michael Wai-Man Chan
Internationally proclaimed comic genius Stephen Chow must change the lives of radiant prostitute Maggie Cheung Man-yuk, filthy beggar Anthony Wong, and a killer in this heavenly comedy directed by masterful new wave filmmaker Johnnie To. – IMDB
A double feature for Stephen Chow and Maggie Cheung in this segment, what are the chances, right? Suffice to say that I’m a big fan of Stephen Chow but even he has films that I don’t quite like so much and The Mad Monk definitely falls into that one. Its not exactly the jokes or the acting that I don’t like but rather the overall sillier and dumber approach here that gives off this off-hilter humor that I’m not a big fan of. There are some too over the top moments than preferred. The Mad Monk lacks in terms of being more unique.
I feel bad saying that mostly because the talented Siu-Tung Ching and Johnnie To paired up to co-direct this film. Siu-Tung Ching comes off making 3 movies each for The Swordsman and A Chinese Ghost Story, which I have a little memory of but have never revisited. While Johnnie To had come off of working on Justice My Foot with Stephen Chow, which happens to be one of my faves as well, its shocking to think that maybe this film might have worked if I was younger or discovered it when I was younger. It does have some strong cast here aside from the ones mentioned before like Anthony Wong who played one of the three people he need to save. Anthony Wong can be a funny man but he has some dramatic roles as well and is a very well-rounded actor.
Its hard to fault anything here because I think the movie delivered as it had wanted to. Everything fit together except my mindset and comedy preference and that usually is the most subjective element to making comedies.