From Beijing with Love


My favorite Stephen Chow film. It is a very funny sophisticated and clever parody of James Bond/spy films (including Bond like opening credits and a Q like person) with Anita Yuen co-starring.  There are lots of wonderful sight gags but the movie also has some terrific action sequences.
It's Chow, Stephen Chow
The man with the Golden Gun has stolen a dinosaur skull from the Chinese mainland and in an early cameo Yu Rong Guang fails to retrieve it. Chow is brought out of retirement as a pork vendor and given the mission. His contact in HK is Anita, but unknown to Chow her real intent is to kill him. Her attempts are worthy of the Pink Panther.
Yu Rong Guang
Pauline Chan and a Jaws like character are also trying to kill him.
Pauline Chan
My favorite scene is after Chow gets shot he instructs Anita to dig the bullet out with a hammer and screwdriver while he anaesthetizes himself by watching a x-rated video.
I also love the scene when he is trying to impress Anita with his killing skills and it appears that his knife throw attempt is way off the mark and she looks at him like a loon - then later the camera zooms in and we see that he has nailed a fly to the wall from 20 feet away.

Reviewed by YTSL

Maybe it IS a cultural thing.  I also suspect that the English sub-titles give us the gist but do not provide insight into the Cantonese puns and other pieces of verbal humor that supposedly are peppered throughout Stephen Chow's movies.  All I know is that, try as I might, I do not find those of his efforts which I've seen so far to be as side-splittingly funny as others obviously do.

FROM BEIJING WITH LOVE is no exception to this "rule".  To be sure, there are a some choice scenes, moments and gags in this movie (I particularly enjoyed the James Bond parody opening credits, Anita Yuen's efforts to kill Stephen Chow and the grenade launcher's doing away of the kung fu master).  But in general, I found them to be few and far between...and too strangely mixed with serious action, maudlin romantic moments and negative critiques of Chinese communist state relations with its citizenry (the last of which leads me to think that this -- lest we forget -- comedy would surely not have been green-lighted if it were offered up as a project today).
Don't get me wrong: This is not a bad production.  And even while it is not my cup of tea, I do not rue spending money to rent the video.  However, this is definitely not a movie that I will be planning to watch again, whose jokes I will be chuckling over for days to come, and -- rather damningly -- which I would be all that inclined to recommend even though it's got one of my favorite actresses(Anita Yuen, badly underused) in it.

My rating for this film:  6.