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The Film
From Beijing With Love

Its Origin
Hong Kong

Running Time
84 mins

Genre(s)
Comedy
Action

Director(s)
Stephen Chow
Lee Lik Chee

Stars
Stephen Chow
Anita Yuen
Law Ka Ying

DVD Distributor
Universe

DVD Origin
Hong Kong

Region Code
All

DVD Format
NTSC

Audio Tracks
Cantonese DD 5.1
Mandarin DD 5.1


Subtitles
Chinese, English

Screen Format
Letterboxed

Special Info
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Film rating:

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From Beijing With Love


Film Review

Stephen Chow, the King of Comedy in Hong Kong, has decreased his film output of late, meaning if you want more of his style of comedy, then you have to look into his back catalogue of films. Some of these films are not as "Internationally Accessible" as his more recent efforts, resulting in a lot of humour being missed for non-Chinese speakers. With From Beijing With Love, however, there is enough humour here that even if you do miss some, you should still be in stitches laughing.

Renowned for his ability to spoof everything famous, it is not even remotely a surprise to learn that this film is a spoof of one of Britain's best known film exports, James Bond. In Beijing a man with a golden gun steals the cranium bones of China's only dinosaur fossil. Stephen, the Chinese 007 with license to kiss and kill, is sent to Hong Kong to work with a local operative, Yuen, who is pretty but not co-operative. Needless to say in the course of his mission he falls for her, unaware of the surprises that lay ahead.

With spoof comedies, as has been proven by a lot of Hollywood films and several Hong Kong efforts that I've seen, there is always a risk that the spoof just won't work well and that the film won't be as funny as the makers' think it is. That is not the case here, and I was sure of it from quite early in the film. Once Chow's character (who's called Ling Ling Chat, which is Cantonese for Zero Zero Seven) has got his mission, his entrance in the hotel will forever stick in my memory. He walks in with a beautiful woman, looking confident and smug, only for it to transpire that she isn't with him at all, and he is in fact in completely the wrong hotel! Ok, so you had to be there...

Nevertheless, the comedy is very frequent, with scenes like the backward-firing gun also being highly memorable, but what came as quite a surprise was the blood level in the film. Basically, in some scenes there is quite a lot of it! Particularly the "extracting the bullet" scene, although this does again result in yet another hysterical moment! With the ridiculous, slap-stick and really quite stupid humour, the film had the potential to appeal to all ages and be a very good family action comedy, however, the bloodshed makes From Beijing With Love limited in its appeal.

While Chow's recent films have taken to the current trend of adding in lots of CG, sometimes needlessly, films like this show what can be done without computers and on a smaller budget. Genuine comic skill plays a far larger part of what we see on screen and what we remember once the film is over, and this is one of Chow's efforts that I think I will remember for the longest!

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All review content copyrighted © (2003-2009) Kris Wojciechowski

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