FROM BEIJING WITH LOVE (1994)
From BEIJING WITH LOVE
After a giant dinosaur skull is stolen, the head of the Chinese secret police decides to assign the case to the force’s most incompetent reject: a rural butcher who stands around all day drinking martinis (shaken, not stirred). With a truckload of insanely useless gadgets and a contact who constantly tries to kill him, the young agent must locate the skull and find out just what is going on here.
This is a James Bond-parody, that in my book, is better than any other 007 parody, even if there are quite a few of those. Must be Stephen Chow, he is so insanely funny.I discovered this gem just after I watched SHAOLIN SOCCER( also a must-see). I was blown anway by this so much, laughing so hard, that I thought” I have to track down more of this guys work”.Because he isn`t just an actor, but often also the director. Then there also was KUNG FU HUSTLE…both of which found its way into german cinemas…a bit cut down and slightly altered, but still. Me, I always got the original version, because they always seem to cut down those movies from Hong Kong and China, often stealing 30 minutes or more from the original version. What about the integrity of the film, guys? Once a distributor has the movie rights, they cut it to shreds to “optimize” and alter the movie for the US or European market, as if we aren`t able to digest a movie in it`s intended form.
Most of the time for the wrong reasons, anyway. Rumble in the Bronx with Jackie Chan runs under 90 minutes? Are you frickin kidding me? It is 104 minutes in it`s original length..holy cow.
Same with FIRST STRIKE, clocking in at 107 minutes..we get 80 minutes. Thank god I had my video store, specialized in uncut action and horror stuff, and they rented them, too. Great times..nowadays its just-the internet-you get anything you want with a few hits on your keyboard. No more need for a store to order for you…or to pay ridiculous prices , like the mail-order video mags from back then.One store here was and is called HARD TO GET. And that’s what those movies were back then, hard to get…at prices you`d shake your heat at today.
But ok, back to FROM BEIJING WITH LOVE:
This is not a big production or anything, its typical Hong Kong cinema , the crazyness makes up for the lack of production value.In these films, it’s the stunts and the great ideas that are the focus.
Long before THE MATRIX(which is a great film, no doubt) Hong Kong delievered insane movies, which Hollywood came to recognize pretty late. Again, I don`t even know how to review this movie.All the little things that make this film so awesome are hard to line up.But I can say that Stephen Chow to me is a comedic genius.If I wanted to compare him to other great comedians, I wouldn’t know if that’s possible…and it feels weird, just cause he is asian, and to compare him to steve martin or somebody else seems really odd.
But you can take a look at him yourself.
He plays a guy who desperately wants to be a high profile agent, but is just a reservist on hold. Ten years since he`s served in the military..probably just a short stint anyway…He obviously is a big James Bond fan.He is selling meat on the market , showing off his meat cutting skills, when he is called to serve his country…but the intention of course, is to find the worst candidate possible for this case, as the head of the secret service has his own motives.
Ling Ling Chat( Stephen Chow) has a crazy friend, who thinks of himself as an inventor, he comes up with the most ridiculous inventions imaginable…very funny. The whole movie is absurd, but that is part of the fun…you get great fights, a crazy villain in a metal suit, a beautiful female agent(love story included), its just a fun ride with everything you`d expect from Hong Kong cinema…If you don`t know the films of Stephen Chow, that`s a big cinematic hole, you just have to fill.
Get ready to laugh ….this, and the other 2 movies of him I mentioned are a ticket to ROFL-land. Go get your ticket!!!!