FROM BEIJING WITH LOVE is a fun and low budget scattershot spoof of the James Bond films, Hong Kong style. It's an outing for star, writer, and director Stephen Chow, who brings his quirky eccentricity to all three roles: this is the type of film that can have cheesy romance in one scene, violent death and murder in the next, and mix it up in a plot absolutely chock full of humour from film references to slapstick to some quite surreal moments.
Chow plays an ordinary butcher from the mainland who has a second life as a secret agent. When a dinosaur skull is stolen (this film came out after JURASSIC PARK) he is tasked with tracking it down, beginning a fraught relationship with female aide Anita Yuen (who is very good). The twosome face internal conflict and lots of low rent action scenes, most of which are rather funny. There's a Jaws clone and Pauline Chan as a hot femme fatale. The low budget is very apparent in the staging and occasionally in the special effects, but overall the film works very well indeed and I had something of a ball with it. Sure, it's not as polished as the bigger budgeted likes of SHAOLIN SOCCER and KUNG FU HUSTLE, but it always entertains.
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After a giant dinosaur skull is stolen, the head of the Chinese secret police decides to assign the case to the force's most incompetent reject: a rural butcher who stands around all day drinking martinis (shaken, not stirred). With a trunkload of insanely useless gadgets and a contact who constantly tries to kill him, the young agent must locate the skull and find out just what is going on here.—Jean-Marc Rocher
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