Stephen Chow

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Dragonball Evolution Review


Bad
As a director, James Wong has made some interesting films. He was part of the original X-Files team and cut his teeth on the Chris Carter serial killer series Millennium before heading up such genre favorites as Final Destination and The One. Now, he's been burdened with bringing one of manga's most popular titles and characters to life. Already an incredibly popular anime series, Dragonball is a dense, complex universe consisting of 519 individual chapters and more than 42 volumes. Naturally, any movie made of this material would have to concentrate on a single storyline -- in this case, the "Z" mythos. Alas, anyone hoping that Wong could keep this very Asian entry from being "westernized" by Hollywood was sadly mistaken. Instead of something new and unique, we have just another dull teen action film.

On his 18th birthday, Goku (Justin Chatwin) is given a sacred dragonball by his grandfather. Told that with the other orbs in the set, a single perfect wish will be granted, a tragedy sends our hero out to find Master Roshi (Chow Yun-Fat), an old family friend who is the key to unlocking the object's secrets. Along the way, Goku picks up Bulma Briefs (Emmy Rossum), who agrees to help him. With Roshi and desert bandit Yamcha (Joon Park) in tow, he prepares to take on alien invader Piccolo (James Marsters), who along with his assistant Mai (Eriko Tamura) is bent on summoning the dragon Shen Long and ruling the Earth. As the impending solar eclipse signals the moment of reckoning, our group must train to overcome centuries of evil and transform into the ultimate fighting force in the universe.

Continue reading: Dragonball Evolution Review

Cj7 Review


OK
Stephen Chow, as a director anyways, has a pension for genre-jumping though his cinema is based almost solely on the idea of frenzy. Admittedly, my knowledge of this peculiar Chinese director-writer-actor is relegated to his American-released, pictures but I'm calling it as I see it. Chow's most relevant hit, 2004's Kung Fu Hustle, gained notoriety based completely on the fact that it was, pound-for-pound, the craziest action film to come along in years. In a more minor way, the same can be said for his Shaolin Soccer: Even the most careless of Disney sports outings hasn't resulted in something as playful as Chow's concoction. The man's prowess comes from being half-animated and mostly insane.

For these reasons and a few more, CJ7, Chow's excursion into child-friendly filmmaking, comes off as beleaguered, if not irrefutably adorable. Ti (Chow) works as a construction worker in Hong Kong and spends his nights rooting around in garbage piles for things he can fix for his son Dicky (played by actress Xu Jiao). It's under one particular heap of broken televisions and discarded clothing that Ti finds a UFO that quickly zooms away after expelling a little green ball with a small circle on the top.

Continue reading: Cj7 Review

Shaolin Soccer Review


Excellent
Fans of Hong Kong films are no strangers to the wily talents of writer, actor, and director Stephen Chow. His zany comic and martial arts talents on-screen are matched only by his imaginative storylines and off-the-wall sense of comedy in his writing.

But to most American moviegoers, Shaolin Soccer will be their first glimpse at the clever Mr. Chow's work; and it's been a long time coming. While Shaolin Soccer was released in Asia in 2001 and has gone on to become one of the continent's biggest blockbusters, Miramax has been fumbling with the American release for nearly two years now. At first, the plan was to cut the well-tuned kung fu spoof down a half hour, dub it over with English actors, and re-edit it so it could earn a kid-friendlier PG rating. Thankfully, the Miramax folks have come to their senses, even if it took this long to do it.

Continue reading: Shaolin Soccer Review

Kung Fu Hustle Review


Excellent
Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer was a unique genre potpourri in which sports films, The Matrix, and science fiction animés all irreverently coalesced into a frantically funny tale of victorious underdogs. The filmmaker's signature cartoon craziness - an idiosyncratic mixture of Buster Keaton's physical comedy and Dragonball Z's lunatic action - likewise permeates Kung Fu Hustle, a similarly ridiculous medley of gangster pictures, musicals, and martial arts films. A period piece about a 1940s-era Shanghai village forced to defend itself from the oppressive mobster outfit, The Axe Gang, Chow's latest is not quite as infectiously hilarious as its predecessor. Yet this tour de force compensates for a shortage of belly laughs with an astute portrait of mid-20th century social inequality, as well as an exuberant momentum, its kinetic slapstick amplifying with each subsequent fight scene until, with its building-smashing finale, it reaches a crescendo of absurd insanity that would make even Jackie Chan gasp.

Kung Fu Hustle (written by Chow, Tsang Kan Cheong, Xin Huo, and Chan Man Keung) follows despondent wannabe gangsters Sing (Chow) and Brother Sum (Kwok Kuen Chan) - two inept bunglers with dreams of criminal fame and fortune - as their attempts to impress the Axe Gang bring chaos to the working-class town of Pig Sty. There, a screaming landlady (Qiu Yuen) and her licentious husband (Wah Yuen) maintain order and obedience with an iron fist. However, after the arrival of the Axe Gang - a group of suit-wearing toughs whose leader (Hsiao Liang) likes to orchestrate choreographed line dances after killing his adversaries - the town's landlords, as well as three seemingly ordinary men, reveal themselves to be superpowered kung fu masters. What ensues is inventive, frenzied combat of the fantastical variety, highlighted by a Wachowski-esque battle involving innumerable (and identical looking) Axe Gang members swarming Pig Sty's enclosed courtyard for a chance to vanquish the unretired martial arts heroes. Throughout such visually hectic set pieces, Chow's direction proves a model of efficiency, presenting every special effects-enhanced roundhouse kick, aerial jump and flaming fireball with a lucidity that allows for spatial coherence. Assured and exhilarating, the filmmaker's dynamic staging and blocking allows him to stretch the boundaries of his confiding frame, culminating in a high-flying, earth-shattering climax that virtually leaps off the screen.

Continue reading: Kung Fu Hustle Review

Shaolin Soccer Review


OK

"Kung-fu soccer! Pow!"

If that one over-enthusiastic, plot-summarizing line of dialogue (delivered with all the air-punching, jumbo gusto that Hong Kong B-movies are known for) doesn't make you smile at its jolly absurdity, then stop reading now -- "Shaolin Soccer" isn't the movie for you.

Still smiling? Then you probably already know everything you need know about this tongue-all-the-way-through-its-cheek comedy import in which a martial-arts-trained underdog leads a team of misfits into a soccer tournament where they use CGI-souped-up ancient fighting techniques to overpower a corporate squad of scowling steroid supermen in an extreme-soccer showdown.

Continue reading: Shaolin Soccer Review

Stephen Chow

Stephen Chow Quick Links

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Stephen Chow Movies

Cj7 Movie Review

Cj7 Movie Review

Stephen Chow, as a director anyways, has a pension for genre-jumping though his cinema is...

Shaolin Soccer Movie Review

Shaolin Soccer Movie Review

Fans of Hong Kong films are no strangers to the wily talents of writer, actor,...

Kung Fu Hustle Movie Review

Kung Fu Hustle Movie Review

Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer was a unique genre potpourri in which sports films, The Matrix,...

Shaolin Soccer Movie Review

Shaolin Soccer Movie Review

"Kung-fu soccer! Pow!"If that one over-enthusiastic, plot-summarizing line of dialogue (delivered with all the air-punching,...

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