HK Cinema - 1990
For a few years Stephen Chow had been getting
bigger and bigger roles, but for the most part the films were dramatic
or action oriented. In 1988, Chow received the Best Supporting Actor Award
for playing a car thief in Final Justice. Some of his roles had elements
of comedy, but he was not given the opportunity to create a film with his
own comedic vision.
In 1990 this began to change and with All for
the Winner Chow had his first comedic hit. It is a parody of God of Gamblers
in which Chow plays a rural hick with x-ray vision. He also teamed up with
his sidekick Ng Man-Tat in what was to become one of the best comedic relationships
in HK film history.
He continued to make a number of films over the
next few years, constantly bringing new comedic elements into his work.
His form of comedy is referred to as mou lei-tau or nonsense comedy. I
think of it more as “even the kitchen sink” comedy. He will do anything
to create a funny situation or get a cheap laugh. Slapstick, parody, sight
gags, toilet humor, word play, accents are all in his arsenal. Sometimes
he hits a bullseye and you will fall down laughing, other times you are
scratching your head wondering what you missed. Often the humor comes at
you like a hail of bullets and it is difficult to take it all in. Other
times there is a slow build-up with a big punchline at the end. Chow usually
goes through a film with near Buster Keaton like stoicism with only occasional
short bursts of anger or hysterics. There is no doubt that he is the worlds
funniest and most prolific comedian of the 90’s.
Some of his best work is The Fight Back to School
series, Royal Tramp I & II, Love on Delivery, From Beijing with Love,
Chinese Odyssey I & II, Forbidden City Cop and King of Comedy.