Hong Kong 1996
Dir: Stephen Chiau Shing-chi , Tak-chiu Kuk (Vincent Kuk)
89 min., 35mm, 1:1.85, Color, EP
Titel auf Mandarin/Mandarin Title: Tainoi Mattam Linglingfat
Wörtliche Übersetzung / Literal: Forbidden City Secret Agent: 008 Produktion: Win's Entertainment Ltd. Buch: Kuk Tak-chiu, Lo Man-shun. Kamera: Lee Kin Keung. Musik: Lau Yee Tat. Ton: Leung Li Chi. Ausstattung: Ho Kim Hung. Schnitt: Kong Chi Leung. Produzenten: Wong Jing, Charles Heung.
Darsteller: Stephen Chiau Shing-chi, Carina Lau Kar-ling, Carmen Lee Yeuk-tung.
Uraufführung: Februar 1996, Hong Kong.
Weltvertrieb: China Star Entertainment Ltd., Unit 503 C, Miramar Tower. 1-23 Kimberley Road, Kowloon, Hongkong. Tel.: (852) 2313 1888, Fax: (852) 2191 9888.
Tue 18.02. 15:00 Arsenal Wed 19.02. 00:15 Delphi
,Fat' had a wonderful wife and they were extremely happy. The only concern that ,Fat' had was that he couldn't reveal his true identity as a special agent.
In a ploy to assassinate the emperor, the ,Kum' dynasty from outside of China spread the rumour that they had successfully captured the dead body of the ,Flying Angel'. They had gathered all the top practitioners of medicine to witness the autopsy. The emperor wanted to attend using a disguise. ,Fat' smelled trouble and went along secretly to protect the emperor. In the end, he successfully destroyed the ploy, and ensured the emperor's safe return.
,Fat' was recognized and received the highest honour. His next big project was to visit a brothel and to check the background of a famous prostitute ,Kim'. If she checked out, she would be recruited to serve the emperor in his residence. ,Fat' fell completely head over heels for ,Kim'. ,Fat's' wife found out and so did the king, both were cross with him.
Sort of a sequel to From Beijing With Love (literal title: Made in China: 007) although Stephen Chiau says in an interview that he would like to remind everybody that there is also a Hollywood film called True Lies. FORBIDDEN CITY COP is a period piece which combines the storylines of a married couple still very much in love and the escapades of a Secret Agent in the Forbidden City. There are two cases for 008 to solve: one involving an extraterrestrial that threatens the life of the King, the other sees 008 being tempted by a transvestite.
Forbidden City Cop is a period costume movie which carries on the frenetic, smart-aleck tradition of the average run of Stephen Chiau movies. However, the distinguishing factor this time is Kuk Tak-chiu's direction which shows a new-generation comedy style in the making; it has a new energy, dispenses with the dispensable, comes to the point, and does it all with good timing and rhythm. Rare moments in the movie include Carina Lau's bedroom scene with Chiau's title character; and new characterizations from Cheung Tat-ming and Lau Yee-tat. This is a Stephen Chiau comedy with a new supporting gloss to it (both in front and behind the camera).
It's a rare thing to see Stephen Chiau give a really solid performance, a character with his own views and perspectives (of late Chiau's characters were either too flat or too abstract and conceptual). This time, apart from the gags, the comedy is distinguished by a kind of worldly sophistication. Chiau's forbidden city cop shuttles between the palace and the hoi polloi, effectively purveying a message of happiness for all. Carina Lau and Carman Lee ooze feminine charm even though their characters are over-simplified. In Chiau's comedies, here are two ladies who stand out. Although the movie isn't up to Kuk Tak-chiu's debut film Only Fools for Love, its humanist approach makes it something of a masterpiece in the Stephen Chiau oeuvre.
At last, here is a movie that allows Stephen Chiau to make his day. Although a period piece, Chiau brings his smart-aleckry to a new level of ridicule and self-mockery. This is a movie that gives us more than just a few laughs in the end. I was struck by the many scenes in which Chiau betrays his serious intention to act, particularly when he shows a disappointed countenance to Carina Lau, the disappointment vividly showing in his eyes. When an acting genius experiences setbacks, he either loses all ambition or he strives to improve at every opportunity, even in movies that are beneath his talent. After all, every film is a chance for the actor to improve his skill. In the case of Stephen Chiau, I am willing to be a little more patient and I look forward to his next performance with great expectations.
As both a critic and filmmaker, I want to comment on the advertising hype that announces the movie as ,a movie written, directed, and acted by Stephen Chiau'. Although Chiau may have been involved in each stage of the production, the style and liveliness of the images, the directing approach of individual scenes, and the refreshing twist to an old story, belong to one man: Kuk Tak-chiu. Kuk's talent was already evident in his first movie Only Fools for Love, here he seizes another chance to show his stuff. He has great potential, and I believe he may well be the most exciting directing talent of Hong Kong cinema in the '90s. As a superstar who increasingly shows signs of being struck by an impending crisis, Chiau's stealing half of the directing credit is so blatant that I must protest against it. - Shu Kei (Source: Hong Kong Film Critics Society)
Vincent Kuk Tak-Chiu was born on August 15th, 1965. He studied communications and economics in Canada. After graduation he went back to Hongkong. In 1990 he wrote the script for Beyond's Diary: No Deceit Poor Young and took up the post of Deputy Director. Since then, he has written nearly twenty scripts.
In 1995 he made his first feature film Only Fools Fall In Love. FORBIDDEN CITY COP is his second feature film.
© 1997 by International Forum of New Cinema. All rights reserved.