Forbidden City Cop

Broad Outline: Chow plays a bodyguard to the Emperor, but had little or no martial arts skills. What he has however is a knack for inventions. Initially discarded by his liege, he shows his worth by rescuing the Emperor from a dastardly plot involving a Roswell-style alien. And then is entrusted with procuring the attentions of a new concubine.    

Stephen is a Dick Level: 1/10. This is a rare one where Stephen’s character is just a genuinely nice guy. It only gets a 1/10 as there is a moment where you think he has become a complete ass.

Mo Lei Tau Quota: 9/10. This one is quite a higgledy piggledy mash up of sequences. It is probably the strongest example of the anachronistic, fourth-wall breaking, slapstick, Cantonese wordplay and rubber faced gurning comedy style in Chow’s oeuvre.

Sing Girl Status: I suppose Carman Lee is the designated unknown here. But whilst she is actually a lot of fun, her career wasn’t exactly stellar. Think of her (with her Eurasian appearance) as a prototype Cecilia Cheung. Carina Lau is however magnificent, sharing a remarkable chemistry with Chow (something that is fairly rare) and seeming pretty comfortable larking about, even though she’s way too good for this kind of fluff.

Is it Any Good?: Yeah, it is. I can see why many hold this one up as one of their favourites. It’s a film that simply encapsulates the style of film Chow is most famous for. On the other hand, the wild and frankly WTF turns of the plot will put many off. It’s also really interesting for the constant playing around with gender identity. But at the centre we have the Chow/Lau match up that genuinely works.

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