Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
Recommend this product?
"Gwok chaan Ling Ling-chat" (From Beijing with Love, 1994) is the first film that Hong Kong superstar Stephen Chow also directed. It has some funny moments, both in parodying James Bond movies and in Chow wielding a mean cleaver.
Chow plays Chai Ling-Ling, a former spy who, at the start of the movie, has been a Beijing street vendor selling pork for 10 years (perfecting his cleaver technique). After The Man with the Golden Gun (Wong Kam-Kong) steals the skull of China's only dinosaur fossil, Chai is sent to Hong Kong to investigate and Kam Siu (Anita Yuen) who volunteers to help Chai is actually working for Golden Gun and sent by him to slay Chai. Romance, centering on white roses, predictably follows and Chai switches sides after shooting and wounding Chai.
There is a lot of very graphic violence (and fractured English subtitles that flash by quite rapidly). Chow is ingratiating and far funnier a spy than Austin Powers, but the violence and the pidgin English subtitles make for a painful viewing experience for those unable to understand Cantonese.
I also found the violence in "Kung Fu Hustle" too graphic, also, and even more unnerving because I think that it is supposed to be funny. I like "Shaolin Soccer" the best among the Chow movies I've seen—though I have not been able to see "God of Cookery" yet. (Nor has any new Chow movie come my way since the very successful "Kung Fu Hustle.")
Stephen Chow is always ingratiating, and not particularly concerned about making every moment about his character (in contrast to Robert Duvall directing movies starring himself). Since I think that James Bond movies are already parodies, parodying them is both difficult and inconsequential. There are some laughs to be had in "From Beijing with Love", nonetheless.
Viewing Format: DVD