Updated RankingsForbidden City Cop
(1996)* * * - Okay
Some of my Far East Bracket selections convinced me I’m not a fan of Chinese wuxia comedy, which has three notes: loud, fast and juvenile. Chow’s take has all of that, but there are also many inspired touches, like a fight involving powerful magnets, that put him more in league with silent comedians or Jackie Chan. There are the unfunny gags about physical repulsion typical of the genre, but also a very sweet husband and wife relationship at its heart and moments like an impromptu awards ceremony that make this the best of its type that I’ve seen.The God of Cookery
(1996)* * * - Good
Take all that and place it in the highly inspired realm of competitive cooking and you have a film that couldn’t be more timely. (I’d also love to see the rough filmmaking replaced by Chow’s more recent capability with digital effects.) Chow’s jerk Iron Chef lays it on too thick, but the Kung Food scenes make this combination of Cars, Ratatouille and Chow a hearty good time.The Mermaid
(2016)* * ˝
The middle of the film works pretty well as Stephen Chow’s romantic comedy version of The Little Mermaid, but it takes a surprisingly long time for the jokes to start being funny and the climactic battle of this goofy fantasy is shockingly violent. I used to champion Chow as a master of special effects, but either his budget has been reduced or he stopped caring about making the CGI look good.