Friday, March 07, 2008

IT'S CHOW TIME! : FORBIDDEN CITY COP (1996)

On the release day of the new Stephen Chow film CJ7 (sadly it's not opening in my city, yet...), I find it is very necessary to revisit the classics of my hero, my main man, my imaginary BFF!
Forbidden City Cop has one of those lost-in-translation titles. Chow plays Fat, not a "cop", but a protector to the emperor. His heart, however, is in being an inventor. An inventor of domestic devices that makes life easier on his wife. Oh, and he's also a gynecologist... see what I mean??? Chow's films take delight in absurdity without ever quite going off the edge of madness.

At the heart of FCC is Fat's relationship with his wife. Chow's comedic take on the manners of marriage brings to mind the screwball comedies of Capra and Lubitsch, yet updated and culturally connected to the customs of the Pacific Rim.


But the lunacy of the action sequences and cross-dressing counseling sessions is all Chow. His imagination is powered by a juvenile stream-of-consciousness with nobody around to edit it.

Unfortuneately, mainstream American audiences have been separated from experiencing this exuberence. Take, for example, Chow's first stateside domestic release, Shaolin Soccer. Miramax butchered it to a cute 87 minutes - the Hong Kong version is 113! - because they never know what to do for a movie that isn't Pulp Fiction.

I can't wait to see CJ7, and I hope it ends up getting a mid-market push the way Kung Fu Hustle did. Watch the trailer for it -----> HERE

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