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Forbidden City Cop
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Stephen Chow and Carman Lee
Director: Vincent Kok Tak-Chiu, Stephen Chow Sing-Chi
Producer: Wong Jing
Cast: Stephen Chow Sing-Chi, Carina Lau Ka-Ling, Carman Lee Yeuk-Tung, Cheung Tat-Ming, Law Kar-Ying, Tats Lau Yi-Tat, Lee Lik-Chee, Yuen King-Tan, Vincent Kok Tak-Chiu, Stephen Au Kam-Tong, Mimi Chu Mi-Mi, Lee Kin-Yan, Manfred Wong (Man Jun), Wong Yat-Fei, Yuen Cheung-Yan, Alvina Kong Yan-Yin
The Skinny: Lots of shtick from Hong Kong's King of Comedy. But it's excellent shtick.
This sort-of-sequel to From Beijing with Love finds Stephen Chow as a superspy in Ancient China. As Ling Ling Fat (008), Chow must protect the Emperor (Cheung Tat-Ming) from evil invaders from the Gum province. First they try to do in the Emperor by kidnapping him and stuffing him in an E.T. suit. Ling Ling Fat arrives to save the day, with help from some of his fancy inventiolns. Then the dastardly Gum guys change tactics: they present Gum Tso (Carman Lee), the most gorgeous prostitute in China to attempt a seduction of the Emperor. However, first they decide to take out Fat.
A huge hit in HK, this film is typical Stephen Chow, which means it plods along aimlessly to hilarious effect. The new twist occurs with Chow's character, who is no longer an idiot-savant or a megalomaniac who falls from grace. This time out, Chow is simply a nice guy. Ling Ling Fat cares about his job, the Emperor, the country, and most of all his loving wife (Carina Lau). Watch for references to other Chow films (From Beijing with Love and Out of the Dark get cited), and the opening bit (which spoofs classic wuxia characters) is drop-dead funny. While a bit uneven at times, the film still manages to cohere into one of Stephen Chow's best in quite a while.