겣⺣ (1994)
From Beijing with Love


Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 06/03/2009

"From Beijing with Love" Stephen Chow's irreverent James Bond takeoff pre-dates "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" (1997) by more than two years and in some ways is the superior send-up. Chow, renown for dominating the domestic market with dialect specific punch lines, gets to have his cake and eat it, too, here, with an emphasis on universal sight gags that are augmented by the comedian's sardonic observations as well as a number of digs at his peers (Chow pokes fun at Wong Kar-wai a handful of times throughout the film). Non-Cantonese speakers will miss an additional Bond joke as Chow gives his character's name as Ling Ling Chai ("0-0-7"). The film's Chinese title translates to English as "Locally Produced 007."

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 03/11/2008
Summary: Uneven but ultimately funny

A dinosaur’s skull is stolen and retired spy Ling Ling Chat (Stephen Chow), now a pork vendor, is brought in to investigate. He is aided by Li Heung Kam (Anita Yuen) in finding the “Man with the Golden Gun”, the villain behind the theft. But Li has orders of her own, and must ensure that Chat fails in his mission...

FROM BEIJING WITH LOVE starts off as a straight parody of the James Bond movies, complete with a Maurice Binder-esque opening sequence and title music that’s so close to the original that it’s quite surprising that EON Productions never sued. Furthermore, Chow’s character is called Ling Ling Chat (which literally translates as “Zero Zero Seven”) and includes a gadget-introduction sequence that at times looks like the real thing.

The gags range from fairly awful (Law Kar-Ying, as an insane “Q” character, demonstrates a solar-powered torch) to the hilarious (I loved Chow’s cockroach infested motel room and his “landlady”), but come thick and fast for most of the film. However, there are some extremely jarring changes of tone from the comic to the serious that FROM BEIJING WITH LOVE is sometimes quite uncomfortable viewing. One scene in particular, where a father is repeatedly shot in front of his young son in a shopping mall, is tough to stomach in a film which is supposedly a screwball comedy. The juxtaposition of comic and violent scenes are probably enough to turn off a lot of potential viewers off this film and in this way, it can be seen to be not untypical of Hong Kong movies as a whole.

Nevertheless, consistency aside, there are just about enough funny moments in FROM BEIJING WITH LOVE to make it memorable for the right reasons. There are some great jokes and funny scenes in here, and the humour is typical of Chow’s work from the period. One scene is memorable: Chow is wounded in a gunfight and is dragged back to his flat where Yuen is forced to pull the bullet out of his leg. To kill the pain, Chow puts a videotape of a porno film on while Yuen chips away with a screwdriver and hammer. It’s sick, disturbing and gory, but it’s also pretty funny. The use of the word “darkie” in the scene referring to one of the porn actresses raises an eyebrow, but this is just down to bad subtitling (which have been ported directly from the old VHS version); Chow actually just says “black person”.

At around 84 minutes in length, FROM BEIJING WITH LOVE is the kind of movie that’s quick and undemanding. It’s a definite no-brainer with less plot than usual for a Chow vehicle from the mid-nineties, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you can stomach the violence and the sudden changes in tone, it’s quite harmless and should elicit a few belly laughs.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 02/26/2008
Summary: license to kill...

when a dinosaur skull, a new national treasure of china, is stolen by "the man with the golden gun", an out of service spy, ling ling chai (stephen chow), is brought back into the fold to investigate. sent to hong kong, chai meets up with a beautiful double agent, lee heung kam (anita yuen). will chai be able to crack the case and kam's heart, before he gets himself killed?

this is a strange one; stephen chow's directorial debut, which mixes parody, comedy and brutal violence. the spoofing of bond probably brings the most comedic moments, despite some extreme silliness, however, the combination of slapstick and, rather nasty, violence is a bit jarring. even for hong kong!

still, as a taste of things to come, it's a reasonable introduction to chow's directorial work, even if it's not exactly an indicator of the quality that would follow.

a strange mix, indeed...


Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 08/05/2005
Summary: A few more hits than misses

There is plenty to satirize about the interminable string of James Bond movies and Stephen Chow's Hong Kong version is a good attempt. There may be twice as many laughs for those who (unlike me) know about Cantopop in the mid-1990s and other "local" institutions that are also sent up.

Chow is gifted and occasionally brilliant--some of the devices in "From Beijing with Love" are hilarious. Examples are the toilet phone that connects the corrupt PRC general with his assassin; pornography as an anesthetic during amateur surgery and the lame spy hardware invented by the mental patient who is head of research.. Others, like the transvestite hooker in the cheap motel or the flame throwing bra that they forgot to fill with gas were too obvious.

There is some shocking violence—shocking only that it appears suddenly in the middle of a comedy but is not followed up or even commented upon afterwards. A father is gunned down while pleading with criminals to spare his baby son after they had taken the child hostage during a failed robbery—weird and unnecessary.

The funniest parts of this movie were some of the quick, small touches—Chow acting like a buffoon but not knowing it. Showing up for his first interview in 10 years with military intelligence wearing his butcher apron over a bare chest and a huge straw hat is one example.

A lightweight and not completely satisfying confection.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 05/16/2002
Summary: Very Bad

Is there anything Stephen Chow hasn’t ripped off? It would appear not. Now although this is clearly a copy of James Bond, don’t expect any kind of excitement you would usually get from such films like James Bond, because all this really is, is jokes and piss takes out of previous Bond films. The story is very thin, and lasting at only 75 minutes it’s obvious that their ideas quickly ran out. One for the Chow fans only.

Rating: [2/5]

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: ksbutterbox
Date: 04/02/2002
Summary: Great Fun !

All of the HK film books said avoid HK comedy. So being the defiant one I rented this one. I've been a Stephen Chow fan ever since! The one thing the books were right about..is the 007 theme to entice foreign audiences. It's universal in subject matter and it works beautifully. Slick production and a great cast make this..a near Chow classic. Introduce him with this one to a non asian audience..sure win!


Reviewed by: danton
Date: 01/03/2002

Stephen Chow spoofs James Bond! This movie had me laughing all the way through. The plot is forgettable and not really important anyway (something about a stolen dinosaur head), but is so loaded with one comedic setpiece after another that I ended up having to pause half way through just to recover from laughing so hard. All the requisite James Bond elements (the gizmos, the girls, psychedelic credit sequence, music, martinis, etc) are there, but with a definite HK flavour.

Highlights include the razor built into the hairdryer (you have to see it...), Anita Yuen's first attempts to kill him, and Chow having a bullet removed while watching a porno movie.

Of interest is also that he savagely targets mainland China is this film - quite a brave thing to do with the handover just around the corner.


Reviewed by: RLM
Date: 11/18/2001
Summary: Less than I hoped

This film was less than I hoped from Chow. It's very slow in places and when it does pick up, the humor isn't there. This film is a spoof of Bond films ala HK comedy style. It is extreme at times in violence (as when a father is shot in the head by a thief in front of his son - what's up with that in a comedy film?!?) and lame slapstick humor as when Chow is having a bullet extracted from his leg with a dead pan face. To be fair, it was mildly funny in some places, but those places are too few.
3/10

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 08/07/2001

Now that I've watched it again, I can finally do some reviewing. So let's get going.

The film takes a while to warm up. And it may seem dull here and there, but it is overall very interesting. I'm a little surprised at the level of crude humor though. I did laugh a bunch, but not because something was funny, but because it was plain stupid and lame. For instance, when the inventor (equavelent of Q in 007) brings out the "super weapon", it was just really disappointing. The opening credit, I thought, was also really stupid and mediocre. But it's really a fun ride, & you should see it by all means. It even has the Golden Gun & Stephen Chow, mister 007, as a "swordsman."

[8/10]


Reviewed by: mehaul
Date: 07/04/2001

Excellent Bond spoof with Stephen Chow in the lead role.
8.5/10

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 06/12/2001
Summary: My least favourite Chiau movie so far

I love the scene at the start with Yu Rong Guang taking on a bunch of terroristy types, a nice piece of OTT action. After there it's pretty much downhill all the way though. I really didn't like the film. I found it didn't really have much of a point or a heart, or a message to convey. I found the humour just wasn't funny, and the characters weren't well developed or likeable. I found the occasional moments of brutal violence were just brushed over totally... heartless. It didn't work for me nearly as well as any of Stephen Chiau's other films.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: spanishninja
Date: 06/08/2001
Summary: Shaken, not stirred, and definitely awesome!

"From Beijing with Love" is perhaps one of the finest Stephen Chow movies in his career. It is a spy spoof, political satire, and romance all in one! I will not leak out too many details about the story here, but I will say that there is definitely a nice plot to this movie; it certainly isn't like Austin Powers. Chow's performance is superb as a chinese government spy who was chosen for a dangerous mission despite, -er, because of his inadequacies. Chow typically plays a bumbling mainlander with one exceptional skill, and this rule applies in this movie as well.

The supporting cast is also magnificent. Anita Yuen is very effective in portraying her character (I'm not going to say what it is), but Law Kar-Ying is also great as gadget inventor Man Si, who invents extremely stupid inventions (I personally found the "spying chair" more hilarious than the solar-powered flashlight). Lee Lik-Chi (the movie's director) even makes a hilarious cameo here! Simply put, "From Beijing with Love" will please both novice and devoted Stephen Chow fans alike. Rating = 9.5/10.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: alienlord
Date: 05/03/2001

Fast paced comedy about a butcher who is sent on a mission to find a drug lord/killer. Starts off very well but the premise soon becomes old and the jokes unfunny. The opening credits scene is great. ** and a half/4

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: rolandyu
Date: 04/16/2001
Summary: One of the funniest!

I watched this movie the first time on SBS (a multicultural broadcaster in Sydney - the best channel in Australia!)

It took me a long time to stop my laughing. The stupidest, but the best joke is the solar-powered torch. That one really shaked my stomach up and down. The trampoline style break-in is also fine joke. It was just so stupid but so enjoyable. I couldn't sleep for 3 hours thinking about those scenes.

4.5/5

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: AV1979
Date: 03/20/2001
Summary: Chow as Bond?!

Yep, Steven Chow does it again. This time, he tackles into spoofing the secret agent 007, James Bond. This film was an uproar. This film spoofs nearly every Bond flick (excluding the Pierce Brosnan Bond films), but overall, it was really funny and action packed!!! This is without a doubt of the best to come from Chow.


Reviewed by: nomoretitanic
Date: 03/11/2001
Summary: More Than a Parody

This movie came out before Austin Powers and they shared some of the same gags. Well, Aces Go Places came out before both movies and shared some of the same gags, but I liked this one the best amongst the Bond parodies.

This is more than just a parody, this is also a movie of its own at the same time. Doesn't matter if you're not a Bond watcher, this movie will entertain you.

A lot of old jokes are recycled in this movie, but they're funny, very good useage of recycling. For example, the good ol' Polish invention solar-powered flashlight was great. I saw it coming and I was all like I can't believe they're doing this but then I was blindsided completely by the turns it took. Just a minute-long gag but it was just delivered flawlessly.


Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 02/28/2001
Summary: GOOD

A excellent spoof on JAmes Bond!! Very funny and Anita Yuen and Stephen Chow are great!!
Though 1 hour 20 minutes, you feel very satisfied after watchig this.

8.5/10

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: SUPERCOP
Date: 12/27/1999
Summary: Good intro to Chow's work.....

The master of mo lai to ("make no sense") comedy, Stephen Chow Sing-chi and director Lee Lik-chi filmed this box office smash, parodying the exploits of superspy James Bond, or in this case, Ling Ling Chai (translated 007). Many fans feel this is Chow's finest work to date, evenly mixing dead-on 007 spoofs along with the actor's trademark brand of uproarious, Cantonese humor. Containing some unsuspected gore and violence, that in no way detracts the audience from enjoying this production, and I recommend this one for those wanting a good introduction to Chow's work


Reviewed by: MadMonkey
Date: 12/09/1999

As far as I'm concerned, this is Stephen Chow's best film, at least among the ones I've seen so far. Not only is it a textbook-perfect, dead-to-rights parody of the Bond genre (right down to an opening sequence that will make you laugh until whatever you're drinking comes out of your nose), but it features Chow in that avatar of comic personae, the guy-who-thinks-he's-a-superspy-but-is- actually-very-lucky-and-very-stupid. Er, like Maxwell Smart. Also, Anita Yuen (currently my favorite HK actress) is eminently cute and a great comic foil for the suavely manic Chow. A must-see.

(4.5/5)

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999



(3.5/5)



[Reviewed by Brandon S. Ou]


Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Stephen Chiao in a James Bond parody packed with as many jokes as any Naked Gun movie, starting with a hilarious riff on the Bond title sequence. Nothing and no one is spared in this wall-to-wall parody which goes beyond mere Bond parody to take potshots at everything from Canto pop stars to C'est La Vie, Mon Cherie. RECOMMENDED.

[Reviewed by Michael Perry]


Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

When high-ranking PRC official orchestrates the heist of adinosaur skull for an overseas buyer, he assigns an incompetent secret agent Ling Ling Chai (007 in Chinese -- Stephen Chieu) to investigate; he's a master with knives who runs a seedy pork stand in Beijing. (At HQ, they have the usual parade of items in research. (My favorite was the solar-powered flashlight, which only runs in full daylight.). Ling's contact is Siu Kam (ubiquitous Anita Yuen), who's been assigned to kill him, thus terminally thwarting the investigation; but of course, they fall in love. The laffs percolate just under the Naked Gun standard, with the two stars pretty much carrying the show.

(3/4)



[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 7