߼@ (1999)
King of Comedy

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 05/20/2006
Summary: Mixed bag

King of Comedy is certainly a mixed bag – and often feels like several different movies bolted together.

The best bit is Chiau’s re-enactment of Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury as a stage play – it really is excellent, and makes you believe that it COULD be successfully transferred to the stage!

Elsewhere, you have the usual mix of humour (notably including a scene involving a young naked boy having his privates flicked by Chiau leading to a classic case of misunderstanding – see it to see what I mean), schmaltz and some downright unpleasantness. This is my main criticism of Chiau Sing Chi’s films – they can be really nasty at times, which taken on its own is perfectly acceptable, but when mixed with his usually inoffensive humour seems out of place.

For example, the last section of the film – a triad shoot out that John Woo would have been proud of – comes out of nowhere and left me scratching my head. It really does feel as if they were stuck for an ending and borrowed one from another film. Repeated viewings does tend to make things seem a little less disjointed, but still leaves you feeling you’d watched a compilation film.

Jackie Chan and Chiau Sing Chi had cameos in each other’s films at this time – Chiau appears as a police officer with a crazy dog in “Gorgeous” and Chan appears as a movie extra in this. Chan’s cameo is another highlight of this film.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 07/25/2005
Summary: a mixed bag yields so-so results

[1999 was a good year.] King of Comedy presents a mixed bag of comedy, pathos, and action with so-so results.

Stephen Chiau Sing Chi casts himself as Wan Tin Sau, a lowly and long suffering civil servant with dreams of big success as a Movie Star. Wan struggles doing extra work in HK film business and, even though he's a first class bungler, manages to move up to bit parts and stunt work.

Wan works as the attendent of the community recreation center where his mundane job consists of handing out ping pong paddles and monitoring pool tables. To satisfy his artistic cravings, he runs a theatre workshop teaching the locals acting techniques.

Ng Man Tat plays the Unit Manager of the film company Wan is working for. Each time Wan gets tossed for screwing up, he must try to get his daily meal from the UM whose main duty on the film appears to be guarding the all important boxed lunch!

Karen Mok Man Wai plays a big Actress/Producer of the film within the film. She is great! Chiau Sing Chi the filmmaker shoots Mok with a very gentle, loving eye, even when she's exposed as THE bitch from hell.

One part of the film is major spoof of Hong Kong movie industry, its movies, and its stars. When Tin Sau finally gets his big break as a leading man, he tells his producers that he has decided that his English name will be 'Number' as in Number Wan. Get it?

Another part of the film is very dark. Chiau Sing Chi changes the tone of the movie when he introduces the character of Piu Piu played by Cecilia Cheung Pak Chi. From a troubled background, "club girl" Piu Piu is unsuccessful hustling drinks and cash from patrons at the nightclub where she works.

Her boss takes Piu Piu and other girls from the club to Wan's drama school to learn 'acting skills' to help their performances at work. Wan and Piu Piu begin a relationship that follows a rocky path, exposing both to the unseemly underside of life.

copyright 1999 J. Crawford

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: ksbutterbox
Date: 06/27/2002
Summary: I Repeat and Digress.....One of the Best !

This one is a true diamond in the rough! Why does everyone think this man can only do comedy ? He really shines in this one but Cecilia Cheung steals the film! Great music score and a very moving film..and..(in places) really funny!! Worth many, many viewings. This movie is a tour de force of how brilliant he really can be. If you haven't seen this one than you don't know the real Stephen Chow.( A brutal expose' aimed at the film industry etc..) For the faithful fan..a must see!!

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 06/23/2002


Reviewed by: danton
Date: 01/03/2002

What a wonderful film. This one proved to me once and for all that Stephen Chow has the potential to offer so much more than merely parody - that, and it introduced me to Cecilia Cheung Bak Chi...

The plot is fairly simple. Stephen plays a struggling actor trying to get into movies as an extra. He finds work on the set of the new movie of action star "Sister Cuckoo" (played by Karen Mok) and manages to repeatedly screw things up in hilarious fashion. This part of the movie offers some nice visual parodies of John Woo-style gun battles (church setting, birds and all...). While not on the set, he works at a neighborhood community centre giving free acting lessons to a bar girl (played by Cecilia Cheung) who has a job where she needs to dress up and pretend to be a college girl to entertain male patrons. Pretty soon, sparks fly between Stephen and Cecilia, as well as between Stephen and Karen Mok, and he has to decide between the two, while learning about the true essence of acting (in a funny side plot involving frequent side kick Ng Man-Tat).

The movie offers less of the pratfall/slapstick moleitau style humour of his earlier films like the Fight Back to School series. While there are still plenty of kicks in the groin and the like (this is a Stephen Chow movie after all), on the whole this feels much more restrained and mature. Cecilia is particularly charming in what I think was her first movie role.

As usual, be sure to watch the outtakes and the end of the movie, in particular for Karen and Cecilia going through an acting exorcize where they have to show emotions based on situational cues provided by a partner.

The DVD is excellent, with lots of extra material, including interviews with the cast and deleted scenes (unfortunately, no subtitles). I highly recommend this one, both for Stephen Chow fans and for newbies who would like to give him a try.

Reviewed by: runo_jp
Date: 06/15/2001
Summary: King of comedy

First, I was kind of disappointed by Steven Chow’s new comedy. After a while, it started to grow on me, and I started to enjoy it better than I thought. Still, I am convinced there could have been twice as much jokes as there actually is.

Reviewed by: spanishninja
Date: 06/08/2001
Summary: Excellent "New-Age" Chow movie

Close fans of Stephen Chow (such as myself) may have noticed that his movies have taken quite a turn over the last few years. Maybe it's because he's getting older, or maybe he is either no longer willing or able to perform the wacky roles that he's done before, but his comedies have become much more cerebral in nature, and while most of his work is still every bit as good (if not better) as before, his newer films have definitely a newer flavor. Moreover, he now seems to try to convey messages instead of just merely entertain, and as such movies such as King of Comedy have much more involved storylines than ones like the Fight Back to School films.

Personally, I saw King of Comedy as Stephen Chow's tribute to the new, unsuccessful actor. In this world of mega-superstars, very few people really appreciate the skill, talent and devotion that movie extras possess. His character, Wan Tin Sau, struggles to break into the movie business, perhaps not because he's not talented, but probably because he hasn't been given the chance to adequately showcase his knowledge. Certainly, his quest to try to get work in the John Woo-esque movie being made in the neighborhood is very well described and quite memorable.

There is a love story in this movie as well, and I'm not talking about some of those other Chow movies where he gets the girl after some ridiculous showdown with the movie's villain. Instead, Wan Tin Sau and Piu Piu (Cecilia Cheung) are seen as two down-on-their-luck people who managed to find each other even during harsh times. This part of the story was also enjoyable.

There aren't too many faults with this movie, but the few that it has are quite memorable. As others have pointed out, the ending was kind of ridiculous and came out of nowhere. Maybe the producers ran out of money and the script had to be cut! In any event, this romantic comedy definitely has a different (but equally satisfying) feel than the standard Chow slapstick of years past, and is definitely worthy of my recommendation. Rating = 9/10

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 05/27/2001
Summary: Intelligent and moving, though not particularly funny

KING OF COMEDY - Enjoyed it a lot, don't know why it gets such bad press. Not a funny film (except for Karen Mok's two action scenes, which are hilarious), but quite a dark and moving one. An intelligent film.

Reviewed by: nomoretitanic
Date: 04/15/2001
Summary: Maybe I have a softspot for Stephen Chow

I dunno, but I have yet to see a Stephen Chow movie that I didn't like. Even the bad Wong Jing ones with the annoying mandarin dub redeems itself sometime during the movie. "King of Comedy" is not a bad Wong Jing one.
This movie made me feel so good. The gags kicked in within the opening minute in the movie when Chow is lecturing the extras. His riffs on method acting throughout the movie is great ("...from inside to outside to inside again...") and the John Woo parodies are timeless (except a lil' problem with the realistic aspects of shooting a movie: how can they do all that in one take?) The remakes of Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury or the new song for Thunderstorm ("Yu ah so han-sum, yu ah so xi-maat). The sequence with that little naked kid has to be seen to be believed (on paper it sounds a lil' more twisted.)

However, beneath all that we have a lot of heart. True the characters are wildly exaggerated and stupid-fied (the triad teenagers for example), but they still possess real identifiable human emotions. Chow finds a solid balance between humor and sentimentality. Nothing is ever too sappy or too mechanical: every action in the movie seems to make sense--in THEIR world that anyways.

I was a little disappointed by the really really random and self-contained ending. I still had no idea where it came from. Another disappointment was the misopporutnities such as the karaoke video they were shooting in the movie or the Quentin Tarantino impersonator--both could've been wildly funny but instead they were only mildly funny. Nevertheless, the movie still made me feel really good.

(Ps, if you can, please watch the movie in its original Cantonese copy. The obnoxious Shi-Ban-Yu who always dubs Stephen Chow just sucks in this movie: he robs Chow of all that deadpan hopelessness that he has created and crafted so carefully and probably so painstakingly.)

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 02/19/2001
Summary: I was disappointed!!

I am a big fan of Chow Sing Chi, but i felt let down by this movie. I didn't laugh as much as i should of for some reason!!

I am not saying this movie is bad by the way!! It does have it's funny parts but i wasn't fully entertained somehow.

Maybe my expectations are always too high for the King of Comedy


Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: shelly
Date: 02/07/2001

I loved this movie. Stephen Chiau is back in form, after the mixed success of LAWYER LAWYER [1997] and THE LUCKY GUY [1998]. Here's something new and daring: a satiric comedy, constructed largely as a series of parodies,
that is somehow, at the same time, full of feeling. You can enjoy the brilliant set pieces that send up The Killer, A Better Tomorrow 2, Long Vacation, Excreman the dollop of celebrity pig poo (thanks, Tim!)... But Chiau (and long time collaborator Lee Lik-chi) have done this sort of extended parody-film to brilliant effect already (Flirting Scholar [1993], From Beijing with Love [1994], Love on Delivery [1994]). What's new (or, rather, what picks up on more substantial Chiau vehicles like God of Cookery [1996] and A Chinese Odyssey [1995]) is a belief in *something, underneath: romance, authenticity, loyalty. This film deserves a more extended review that I can give here: but I'll just signal some highlights: Chiau works beautifully with a superb cast: Karen Mok is brilliant, hilarious, glamourous: one only wishes that her part hadn't been cut down so drastically. Ng Man-tat is a revelation: no clowning, no tearing up the scenery: just smooth, powerful energy, completely in character,
unforgettable. But the revelation of the film (as others have already noted) is the gifted Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi as Lau Piu-piu the club girl. What a voice, and what sure comic timing and confident screen presence, for a first-time actress. She and Chiau have a fascinating chemistry: their
scenes together click perfectly. KING OF COMEDY was not without problems: why does Chiau feel he needs such a young romantic co-star? The ending: I
still haven't figured out any way to account for its abruptness, other than
sloppiness. And, as alluded to above, inside this film is an even richer one trying to get out, I'll bet, with a more fully realized romantic triangle that gives space and time to Karen Mok. Nevertheless, warmly recommended: not just for Chiau fans.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: lordmanji
Date: 10/30/2000

This movie has what many others don't, and this quality is a trademark within Stephen Chiau Sing's movies: heart. While the only other recent Chiau Sing movie i have seen was God of Cookery, I found that movie to be what another reviewer best put as "full of spite." In KoC, as in All for the Winner, Stephen's character is made real through selective glimpses into his life. KoC does not intend to be funny, but it IS funny. It is actually a serious movie but comedic happenings as Chiau Sing himself described it. And this works brilliantly: while other movies overblow it on sentimentality into the realm of implausibilty and inaccurary, never once does this occur in KoC. Instead, the character is easily indentifiable with, and his motivations are crystal clear. His interaction with Cecilia's character is a pleasure to watch, as her acting skills (and her) are a sight to behold. Together, they mesmerize us and the age difference is never quite too noticeable.

I really have nothing for praise for this movie, but there is one glaring criticism i must voice: the ending isn't too satisfactory as it abruptly happens, nor is the plot twist involving a certain character ( i wont say who) nor is the symbolic climax of Sing Jai's character's acting ability founded evenly, as I was confused because the twist is just so sudden.

Still, great works are often criticized because it is so great that one slight flaw is scrutinized exceedingly more than it normally would be. KoC is one of the most enjoyable movies I've seen, and as a result I am starting a Sing Jai collection, beginning with All for the Winners(if i can ever find it!)
Watch it!

Reviewed by: sarah
Date: 01/24/2000
Summary: Aging like a fine wine

This new character of Sing Jai’s is quite bewitching. He is a jaded and weary, struggling actor. A gentle, perplexed and lonely individual with a certain thespian ascerbity but none of the spitefulness of the previous movie (God of Cookery). This is definatley one of the best movies he has ever made. It is a whole new style of storytelling that suits him very well. He seems very calm and age has given him extra dignity. Like Jackie in Gorgeous he is having a cradle snatching affair,but the girl is very wise and quite impressive, so it doesn’t seem so strange. Sing Jai gives a performance that is exquisitely sad and subtle. Half child, half little old man, half here, half not.

Reviewed by: nsbr1
Date: 12/29/1999

From comments I have seen it seems that opinion on this Stephen Chow film is very divided - many who find it dull going in comparison to some of his previous efforts that are full of inspired gags and craziness - while others (including myself) find this a refreshing and mature new direction for Chow to go in. Though the film does have a few gags that are enormously funny - it really is a film that is more character driven than gag driven - and Chow manages to create a wonderfully almost old fashioned romantic comedy. The film has a lot of heart - and it is to Chow's credit that he allows his co-stars Cecilia Cheung and Ng Man-Tat to often take over the spotlight. This was Cecilia's debut and it is simply put - a revelation - incredibly charming. I think this film is a near perfect blend of comedy, romance and drama - something one may not expect from Chow - but he delivers it with great class here.

Reviewed by: SUPERCOP
Date: 12/27/1999
Summary: Looking at Stephen Chow in a whole new light.....

Stephen Chow Sing-chi has long been considered the undisputed box office king of Hong Kong Cinema (not discounting Jackie Chan or Chow Yun-fat in their heydays), beginning with the remarkable success of the the Jeff Lau helmed All for the Winners. Ever since then, he has churned out a large number of vehicles that vary in quality, from low brow (Tricky Brains, Love on Delivery, etc.), to well rounded (Forbidden City Cop, A Chinese Odyssey series, King of Beggars), to just plain excruciating (The Lucky Guy, Tricky Master 2000). And yet, despite the lack of effort on a number of these pictures, the box office takes have always remained strong. But with the King of Comedy, Chow is perhaps presented with his most mature work to date, combining his trademark brand of "mo lai to" humor, along with genuine heart and a spirit to entertain that is readily appearant throughout.

Wan Tin-sau is an aspiring actor who operates a local recreation center, teaching acting on the side. At one point, out of sheer luck, he is given a small role in a 'Killer' type production, but, because of inadvertantly being a consistent nuisance on the set, he is scrapped off the picture. Again, with luck on his side, he meets Sister Cuckoo, a big name action star who is akin to the kindhearted Wan so much that she casts him as the lead in her latest production. Meanwhile, a nightclub call girl Lau Piu-piu decides to attend Wan's acting classes (in order to learn to impress her 'clients'), and, despite her overly indepedent nature and sometimes brash demeanor, they both gradually fall for eachother. And of course, this relationship doesn't sit well with Sister Cuckoo, who, in additon, also falls for him. Who will Wan choose? What will become of Wan's fate and career?

The undisputed box office champ in this Chinese New Years movie season (edging out Jackie Chan's Gorgeous (Chan, in addition, has a small cameo in this pic), the King of Comedy is a well-balanced, fast paced delight of a production. Never before has Chow blended his usual goofy, laugh-out-loud antics with straight laced drama, with the final product working so well. Performance wise, it is not Sing Jai who comes off the best, but surprisingly newcomer Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi, who trancends the somewhat unpleasantness of her character, and in turn, delivers a charming performance, and molds a character with whom the audience could sympathize with. The future is bright for this young performer, and I will certainly look forward to seeing her in future productions. Other acting nods go to Chow himself, who remains consistently watchable and entertaining throughout, and to Chow's partner in crime, Ng Man-tat, who plays a not-so-friendly caterer with a certain gusto in which only Uncle Tat can play.

And, as usual, there are plenty of Chow-ish antics which will satisfy even his most jaded fans. Certainly, despite being pretty much a drama, he allows a few goofy antics to slip through the cracks, and I thank him for doing so. Although I won't elaborate too much (in order to not spoil any surprises), just watch out for the 'snot scene', the 'debt collection scene', and hilariously over-the-top parodies of such films as John Woo's The Killer and Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury. Trust me, they have to be seen to be truly appreciated, as they had me laughing so much that I nearly pissed my pants(well, not really). Also included are some not so subtle pokes and references of various people in the film industry (didn't that foul mouth, obnoxious gweilo director in the production meeting remind you somewhat of a certain a**hole video store clerk who goes by the name of Quentin Tarantino?), which adds further seasoning to the stew, and stakes this entertaining production as Chow's best film to date.

Reviewed by: ryan
Date: 11/21/1999
Summary: King of Comedy (1999)

Out of the Chinese New Year movies in 1999, Stephen CHIAU's 'King of Comedy' is the one with the most creative promotion, starting from setting up its website a month ago, releasing NG cuts in VCDs, soundtracks, or even organising a training course and putting the whole training process in 3 VCDs. It seems that they are well prepared for the movie. They also so confident that they even put up the promise as 'King of Comedy' will be better than the cooperation of LEE Lik-chi, Stephen CHIAU Sing-chi and Karen MOK Man-wai's 'God of Cookery'.

In short, the story of 'King of Comedy' is taken direct from the film industry. WAN Tin-chau (Stephen CHIAU Sing-chi) has lots of theories in acting but is still a small potato in the industry. He causes troubles from time to time. However, he was cast as the leading actor accidentally when he meet Karen MOK Man-wai. By the meantime, PR Girl CHEUNG Pak-chi was advised by 'her mother' to improve her acting as a student in a night club while they found WAN for help.

If you have seen the NG take VCD, you may consider 'King of Comedy' is a movie trying to duplicate from other movies like 'Fist of Fury', 'Bullet in the Head' and Japanese Drama 'Long Vacation'. If you expect these happens, I'm sorry to say that you've been misleaded by the productions. In fact, 'King of Comedy' is something about the movie industry in insiders' point of view.

In terms of laughters, some of the scenes is out of our imagination. The most obvious one is the introduction of Bobby YIP King-san as well as how WAN teaches a new triad kid to ask for money from a team filming their MTV. However, please don't expect that 'King of Comedy' will make you laugh from time to time as it's not a comedy but a drama.

In terms of the plot, it seems that they have put lots of efforts in the movie and it seems to be more meaningful that Stephen CHIAU's past movies. Maybe it is a movie for Stephen CHIAU to express how he feel about the industry like the exchange of casting, the stand-by for action scenes, the running of movie and the blur differences between life and movie. They are all presented in a way that can let you feel about the industry. However, I feel that the movie seems to be a bit short. Maybe I'm too involved to the movie.

For performers, I consider Stephen CHIAU finds his new way of presentation in 'King of Comedy' -- presenting himself. In the past, we always say his movie is nonsense, now he lets you know how it is. He also shows his charmings. For Karen MOK Man-wai, she does not play much role in the movie as a star but I think she has done a good work. Maybe what we concern most is the new performer Ceci CHEUNG Pak-chi. Having considered she is green to the movie industry, she is able to show what is required for the movie. CHEUNG's role in the movie is a PR girl working in a night club but seeking for her true love. It seems that scripts has given her opportunities to be in different roles.

In short, 'King of Comedy' is not a comedy but much like a drama with some comedy element. Stephen CHIAU has done his good work in the movie while the movie is able to present its theme as about movie industry in insider's point of view. If you are only looking for laughters from Stephen CHIAU, you may consider it as average. However, Stephen CHIAU is an actor, if we rate it as a movie, it's a good movie and it worths you a ticket price to watch in theatres.