King of Comedy
Director: Lee Lik-Chi
Action Director: Bruce Law
Stars: Stephen Chow, Karen Mok, Ng Man-Tat, Cecilia Cheung, Lam Chi Sin
Stephen Chow is a wannabe actor who continually tries to get into a popular actresses' (Karen Mok) movies. Failing that, he puts on shows and teaches acting at the local community center. One day, a group of club girls comes in for advice on how to look more innocent, and Chow finds himself falling for one of the girls (Cecilia Chung). Things get complicated when Mok picks Chow to be her new leading man.
Honestly, I wouldn't know whether to categorize this as a comedy or a drama. There are certain parts that are very funny, such as dead-on parodies of Quentin Tarantino, "Triad Boyz" movies, and John Woo action sequences, as well as Chow's ever-present rubber face. But, like many comedic films of the 1930's, King of Comedy delivers just as much pathos as laughter -- which is probably why Jim "I want to be taken as a seriously as an actor" Carrey has wanted to work with (or "borrow" ideas) from Stephen Chow for years.
It is perhaps this quality which makes Stephen Chow (and his films) stand apart from other comedic actors, especially in this day and age, where movies seem more concerened with grossing out people rather than generating emotion (though, to its' credit, King of Comedy has its' share of toliet humor, including a very funny sequence where Steven gets carried away with his bodily fluids during a crying scene). I actually cared about the characters here and their fates, and that allowed me to forgive the huge (even for Chow's usual nonsense comedy) genre jump at the end, which shifts the movie to a gangster movie ala Reservoir Dogs -- leave it up to Stephen Chow to rip on a film-maker in one scene, and then unabashedly "borrow" from their movies in the next.
All in all, though, this is a great movie. It's not the kind of film the typical HK action junkie (or more casual fan) might be able to pick up and enjoy right away, but that seems to be part of its' appeal. King of Comedy is a near-intoxicating (I dare you to watch this movie and not feel good afterwards) filmic adventure that should be experienced by more "film experts" before they pass judgement on the state of the Hong Kong movie industry. Even with all the recent setbacks (mostly financial in nature) it has suffered, Hong Kong studios still have the power to produce films that are totally unlike anything Hollywood could produce, and King of Comedy is a fine example of that.
A review of the VCD for this movie can be found here
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This DVD is available for purchase at www.hkflix.com