Archive for comedy

Review: Badges of Fury (2013)

Posted in Collin Chou, Corey Yuen, Fung Hak-On, Grace Huang, Jacky Wu Jing, Jet Li, Sui-Lung Leung with tags , , on January 7, 2014 by Michael S. Moore

Badges of Fury

Starring Jet Li, Wen Zhang, Michelle Chen, Lui Yan, Stephen Fung, Grace Huang, Fung Hak On, Wu Jing, Collin Chou, Leung Sui-Lung,

Fight Choreography by Corey Yuen

Directed by Wong Tsz Ming

Badges of Fury is perhaps the funniest comedy in Jet Li’s filmography, and for someone who doesn’t do it often, Jet really works here, but don’t be surprised that while his name is at the head of the credits, he is a supporting actor in this film, and Wen Zhang is the star. Of course, the first thing you have to do to best enjoy this film is to understand that the film is a comedy from the outset, a spoof of the kung-fu cop genre.

Around Hong Kong, a slew of actors, dancers, and the wealthy, all of them men, die of unknown circumstances, except that they were smiling at the time of death. Enter Huang Fei Hung (Li) an about to be retired cop, and Wang (Zhang) his overeager young partner are assigned to the case, even after botching up a major crime bust that could have net them a major gangster (great cameo appearance here by Collin Chou, acting like he stepped off the set of Flashpoint). What follows is wrong leads, bike chases, spoofs or mentions of films like Police Story 1, 2 and 3, and in one funny scene, a group of Interpol agents accuse Jet Li of BitTorrenting Fearless and the Flying Swords of Dragon Gate. Their leads take them to one woman who is connected to all of the murdered men, and of course things go sideways, including a fight between Jet Li and Wu Jing, and wait until you see exactly who Wu Jing is playing. I can’t reveal any more of the story without giving away any other jokes!

Badges of Fury 1

The film is just out and out fun. Jet is really game here, playing the grizzled vet who is always mysteriously asking to go home early. Jet is energized, and looks great. Wen Zhang is able to carry the film, doing most of the funny stuff and is able to bounce jokes off of Jet well. Collin Chou and Wu Jing have “fighting” cameos, but perform well in their screen time. Leung Sui-Lung is great as well, but doesn’t really get his performance going until late, playing a character not unlike the one he played in Kung Fu Hustle. The film has scenes that reminded me of the whacked out stuff Stephen Fung did in his Tai Chi Zero series (Of course, he has a small part in this film), like the hilarious entrance of the femme fatale played to perfection by Lui Yan.

Badges of Fury Liu Yan

Corey Yuen choreographed the fights here, and did a great job. The fights were able to match the silliness of the rest of the film, but delivered some good kung fu fights. Jet versus Wu Jing was good, as was Jet vs. Collin Chou. Wen Zhang does a good job and gets the more “out there” fights, but does it well. The final fight between Jet Li and Leung Sui-Lung leaves all believability at the door for a fight that uses a lot of wire work and special effects, but they fit the escalating fantasy of the film.  I said Jet was more of a supporting character, and he is, but the lion’s share of the fights go to him, just as it should.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8

 Jet Li and Wen Zhang take us on a hilarious romp through the “kung fu” cop genre, and fight choreographer Corey Yuen pulls out the stops to make this one of the best kung fu comedies to come around in a long while!

Badges of Fury is out today from the good folks at Wellgo USA!

 

NEXT: Mark Dacascos will teach you how to fight the Brazilian way in Only The Strong!

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Review: King Of Beggars (1992)

Posted in Norman Chu, Stephen Chow with tags , , on July 18, 2012 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Stephen Chow, Ng Man Tat, Sharla Cheung, Norman Chu

Fight Choreography by Yuen Cheung-Yan

Directed by Gordon Chan

There have been many stories told about Beggar So, the creator of Drunken Boxing, and one of the Ten Tigers of Canton, the most recent being the terrific film True Legend, but before that funnyman Stephen Chow (Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle) had his own fictional take on the legend, and continues to grow in the realm of kung fu comedy…

Chow stars as So Chan, the spoiled rich child of General So (Man Tat) who spends his days messing around, even though his kung-fu skills are second-to-none, and on his birth day evening he goes to a brothel and falls in love with Yu-Shang (Cheung), a secret member of the Beggars Association who is trying to get close enough to kill Chiu Mok-Kei, a magician and martial arts master who killed her brother. So Chan covets Yu-Shang, which draws the ire of Mok-Kei (Chiu). Just to get rid of So Chan, she promises to marry him if–and only if–he can be crowned the Master of Martial Arts in a tournament held a few days hence. So Chan goes to the tournament, and has his father help him to cheat through the written portion of the test as So Chan can’t read or write, as he never considered it important before. Chan wins the tournament after his opponent cheats, but  it is revealed to the Emperor that So Chan cheated the written portion of the exam since he cannot read, and after the Emperor gives So Chan a test that he immediately fails, and an enraged Emperor has all of the So family’s belongings confiscated, and the So’s are ordered to spend the rest of their lives as beggars.

So Chan goes into a depression, but tries to come out of it with help from Yu-Shang, who feels responsible for Chan’s current predicament. After an altercation and causes Chan’s arms and legs to be broken by Mok-Kei, he and his father join the Beggars Association, and find that they have to aid them in exposing a plot  by Mok Kei to kill the Emperor, but before that So Chan has to heal and discover a new way of fighting…

King Of Beggars is a fun movie, that is full of Hong Kong style humor, and true to Stephen Chow’s style some standard scenes are raised up as he humorously plays with audience expectations. Chow does a good job of going from comedy to drama to action and back again, and a few scenes have both, but Chow keeps everything moving along smoothly. Ng Man Tat also does a great job providing further comedy as So Chan’s father, and is able to play off of Chow really well, especially as he has to provide the comedy relief when Chow has to play things seriously. Norman Chiu is a right bastard as he normally is in action films, playing Mok-Kei with the right amount of arrogance mixed with confidence. Sharla Cheung is mostly the damsel in distress, but plays it well.

The fight scenes are well done but are really short, and full of wire-harness and special effects, going for a more fantasy tone than a realistic one. My favorite fight is the fight versus the three masters who test Chan after he becomes Beggar So, and uses his drunken boxing for the first time. Chow doesn’t attempt to try to out-choreograph Jackie Chan or Jet Li’s version of Drunken Boxing and it was smart for him to do so, choosing a more effects-laden version that causes more chuckle than awe by design. You can see how some of the style of the fights would come back again in Kung Fu Hustle with much better special effects than shown here.

King Of Beggars showcases Stephen Chow’s brand of kung-fu comedy and positions him for the kung fu comedy classics to come.

(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best):

CHOREOGRAPHY: (6) What was there was good, but a bit too effect-sy for me. None of it is meant to be remotely believable, and isn’t.

STUNTWORK: (6) The stunts are okay, but nothing to write home about. Everyone did what they should, but there weren’t any really memorable stunt scenes.

STAR POWER: (8) Stephen Chow’s star was on the rise, and Norman Chu is a good villain as always. Sharla Cheung was in the middle of her stardom in this film. The other stars were good, but no one upcoming of note.

FINAL GRADE: (7) Not nearly Stephen Chow’s best, but still a funny movie that retells the story of Beggar So in a new way.

NEXT: Germany and new star Mike Moller step into the ring with Urban Fighter!