When it comes to movies, there’s plenty of Asians holding it down with martial arts films. But when it comes to comedy, Stephen Chow has been holding it down for us since the early 90s. Based in Hong Kong, Chow is a jack of all trades holding titles such as comedian, actor, director, and producer. Mostly known in the U.S. for Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle, Stephen Chow has plenty of other films that will have you laughing your ass off. With his birthday coming up this Sunday on June 22, Al and I bring to you our 8 favorite Stephen Chow movies. If you’re Cantonese, you might recognize some of these. If you’re not, don’t worry, there’s English subtitles for each film.
1) From Beijing with Love
H: This is my second favorite Stephen Chow movie after Shaolin Soccer. As the title suggests, this is a parody of 007 films. Chow plays a sleeper agent posed as a goofy small-town butcher who is called back into action by the government to reclaim a national treasure, stolen by Golden Gun. The film spoofs all elements that make up a Bond film from the gadgets to the vixens. Peep the trailer below.
2) Tricky Brains
A: This flick right here made me want to buy all the practical joke toys at the novelty store and become a professional prankster. For real. Chow plays a professional prankster/wing-man who is hired by a thirsty-ass dude to holler at a girl that’s already taken. Being the King of Comedy in Hong Kong, this was a no-brainer role for Chow. He performs exceptionally well and does these outrageous slapstick scenes.
3) A Chinese Odyssey Duology
A: This two part saga is a comical and warm retelling of the classic Chinese fable Journey to the West, with special attention to the perspective of the Monkey King. Chow portrays the Monkey King who betrays his master, Longevity Monk. As punishment, he is reincarnated as Joker, the leader of a gang of bandits. The film follows his quest to redeem himself of the actions of his past life.
4) God of Gamblers II
H: Stephen Chow plays a man down on his luck who is desperate for change. He seeks out the God of Gamblers to become his disciple but when he can’t be found, he decides to follow the Knight of Gamblers instead. Together, they team up to take down a phony posing as the Knight. This is definitely one of Chow’s wittiest films, with less emphasis on slapstick humor.
5) God of Cookery
H: After I saw this film, I immediately craved some fried rice. This film made me want to become a chef and get into epic culinary battles. Chow plays a celebrity chef that is a self proclaimed “God of Cookery”. Although he has a huge food empire, he knows little to nothing about cooking. When he’s exposed as a fake and loses his fortune, he enrolls in culinary school to reclaim his lost title. What really does it for me is the last chef battle and the crazy plot twist in the end. Think Iron Chef but mixed with superpowers.
6) Justice My Foot
A: Among Chow’s work, this is a definite classic. He plays a lawyer in Guangdong, China during the Qing Dynasty who is famous for winning all his cases and his unmatched wittiness. His co-star is the lovely Anita Mui (rest in peace), who pays his ass-kicking (literally) wife. This flick is great for sharpening your Cantonese up. Full of punch lines.
7) All’s Well Ends Well
H: This film is filled with Hong Kong movie legends such as Sandra Ng, Leslie Cheung, and Maggie Cheung. If you’re Cantonese, ask your parents. They’ll know who they are. This romantic comedy follows three brothers who try to change their womanizing ways in search for lasting relationships. It’s a cult classic in Hong Kong film history and a great example of the type of nonsensical humor Stephen Chow is known for.
8) Fight Back to School
A: This film is basically 21 Jump Street but Stephen Chow Style. To redeem his rank in the Hong Kong police’s Special Duties Unit, Chow goes undercover as a high school student to recover a senior officer’s stolen revolver. Of course, things don’t go according to plan and hilarity ensues.
Salute to the Hong Kong comedy legend, we all wish him a happy birthday. Comment and let us know what you think. Which are your favorite Stephen Chow flicks?