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
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.
Pauline Chan and a Jaws like character are also
trying to kill him.
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.