Love on Delivery
I knew I was back on safe ground again as soon
as the camera zooms in on Stephen Chow kneeling down naked – yes I recognized
this - a parody of The Terminator. After recently watching three of his
earlier dramatic films, I was in desperate need of a few laughs and this
film definitely provided them. There is not a serious moment to be seen
in this film and it feels fine.
There is not much of a story here – just your
basic love triangle – fight to the death kind of thing – but Chow builds
a number of funny routines around it. In some ways the film is a bit too
dependent on gags and silliness with the flimsiest of plots, but it was
just what I was in the mood for.
Christie Chung is a student at a judo school
where the oafish instructor keeps hitting on her. To teach him a lesson,
she pretends to be interested in a simple food delivery boy, Stephen Chow.
Looking into those large brown eyes, Chow is instantly smitten and does
everything he can to win her hand – even go through a hilarious scene where
he takes his life into his hands by trying to buy Jackie Cheung tickets.
The judo instructor picks a fight with Chow and
the result is that Christie thinks that Stephen is a coward – which he
very sensibly is. So he turns to Ng Man-Tat to instruct him in the ways
of Traditional Chinese Boxing. NMT is a bit of a con man or is he?
Finally, Chow thinks he is ready and in a hilarious
fight takes on the instructor in a Garfield mask. Chow uses the Invincible
Wind and Fire Wheel to defeat his opponent, but his problems are just beginning.
An even tougher opponent enters the scene as a rival and this leads to
one of the most ridiculous and funny fights ever. You have to witness round
3 to believe it.
This film pokes fun at a variety of targets
from journalism to television to advertising and anything else that gets
in its way. This is a favorite Chow film of lots of people and though I
would not rank it in his top echelon of films, this sweet very amusing
film is well worth watching.
My rating for this film: 7.5
Reviewed by YTSL
The Terminator, Ultraman, the Karate Kid, Bruce
Lee, Jackie Chan, Garfield the Cat, all kinds of martial arts (kungfu,
karate, judo, kendo, Western-style boxing, etc.), traditional staple jokes
("Waiter, there's a fly in my soup!"). All of them -- and so much
more! – are fair game for Stephen Chow to incorporate into as well as touch
upon in his particular brand of comedy and parody in this 1994 Chinese
New Year offering.
LOVE ON DELIVERY's protagonist (portrayed by Chow,
of course) is an earnest as well as honest love-struck delivery boy who
aspires to become a martial hero to win the woman (played by a very popular
actress, if the statistics for this web site are to be believed!) he adores.
Although he tries to win the judo expert's (yes, I am referring here to
Christy Chung!) affection by doing such as procuring hard-to-get Cantopop
concert tickets, she is fixated on finding a certain male archetype that
he, at least early on in the film, clearly does not conform to. Worse,
a series of events conspire to make her conclude that he is a coward (when
he really seems to be just a very nice, giving guy). At the point
when he is truly down in the dumps, he gets acquainted with a petty grocer
(who comes in the form of frequent Chow movie collaborator, Ng Man Tat)
who teaches him a special -- how special it is the viewer will see for
him- or herself later in the movie -- brand of kung fu on the side...
Thus far, this review of LOVE ON DELIVERY probably
does not depart too far from many others. At the very least, I think
this shows that I (too) did "get" this undemanding movie's basic storyline,
multitude of references and such. This (re)viewer also can understand
some people's description of this inoffensive work as one of the more even
of Stephen Chow's efforts; in that there are way fewer sudden changes of
emotion between scenes here as in, say, "King of Comedy" and less doubt
as to whether there really are parts in the film which we are supposed
to take fairly seriously, as was so with "Royal Tramp" I (and maybe also
II). This admitted neophyte with regards to the movies of Stephen Chow
(this is only the sixth I've seen) additionally already realizes that they
largely exist to amuse and entertain rather than make serious and profound
statements about most anything.
To be sure, someone who watched her share of
Japanese cartoons in her youth found it very clever that with not much
more than a crescent-shaped piece of cardboard and two halves of a boiled
egg, a man could be made to so obviously bring to mind THE Ultraman!
And, yes, a certain -- somewhat inexplicable and surely unusual -- amount
of amusement was derived from the sight of a Garfield masked and hooded
man striking a seriously heroic pose. This (re)viewer was even touched
by the improbable warrior's greatest strength being his endurance and ability
to withstand -- rather than hand out -- punishment. But I will be
honest (and brave the wrath of the number of Stephen Chow fans out there,
who surely must exceed that for Christy Chung!) and admit that all this
still doesn't take away from it being so that this unsubstantial piece
left me feeling insufficiently (emotionally, not just intellectually) satiated
Neither -- perhaps most damning of all -- was
there any one thing or moment in LOVE ON DELIVERY that prompted me to guffaw
or reduced me to hysterics the way there was in "King of Comedy" (my favorite
Stephen Chow movie thus far) or even "All's Well, End's Well" (another
Chinese New Year film which benefits from the presence of Chow as well
as a whole bunch of other respected stars). And I include here the
inexplicable and surely unintentional resemblance that I kept on seeing
between the meanest and hardest -- and also wooden-expressioned and -mannered
-- villain of this piece and a certain American politician who people have
likened to a tree trunk...
My rating for this film: 6.5