Viewed – 22 April 2011 DVD
I’ll admit to not really having much prior knowledge of prolific action-comedy star Stephen Chow before sitting down to watch this. I had naturally heard the fuss over the much acclaimed Shoalin Soccer but again didn’t get around to watching it. So this is something I’m viewing more out of word of mouth than anything else. Chow plays a down on his luck guy who wants to be part of a notorious local gang rather than be a poor beggar. Yet as he is generally a good person, becoming an evil henchman comes with some difficulty. When the gang are humiliated after getting beaten up by a group of peasants in a poor village however, Chow see’s an opportunity, and vows to defeat the peasant villagers in order to prove his worth.
This knock-about farce of a story is livened up considerably by some outrageous and very entertaining action, blending wire-enchanced kung fu with excellent special effects, making this a visual tour-de-force. Directed and written by Stephen Chow this is a frenetic and often laugh-out-loud funny experience that whilst barely worrying about a cohesive plot or three-dimensional characters, makes up for this with pure cinematic fun. The set design should also be applauded as should be the often very imaginative and stylish camera work, and with what can only be described as cartoon-like fight choreography from none other than Yeun Wo Ping (The Matrix, Kill Bill), this is a spectacle that’s very hard to dislike.
Verdict: 4 /5