About the Author: Paul Andolina was looking for a Bond movie for this month and found a great example of a foreign take on the spy film. You can check out his blogs Wrestling with Film and Is the Dad Alive? for more.
I’m probably not the most qualified person to write about Bond parodies as I’ve seen so few actual James Bond movies, however, I am a huge fan of Stephen Chow’s particular brand of humor. I can’t understand Cantonese so a lot of his puns and jokes go over my head but I love the physical comedy in his films which is why I sought out From Beijing with Love.
A man in an iron suit with a golden gun has stolen China’s prized dinosaur skull and Ling Ling Chat (Stephen Chow) is sent to Hong Kong to retrieve it from the foreigners. He comes across the woman he believes to be his contact in Hong Kong, Lee Heung Kam but Golden Gun has instructed her to kill him. The commander who sent Ling Ling Chat on his mission is none other than Golden Gun himself!
This movie is as funny as Stephen Chow’s other films. Ling Ling Chat, a pork vendor with amazing dagger skills but who is not smart enough to be a spy is played by Chow himself. I love his characters who are usually dumb as hell but usually have hearts of gold. I am fascinated by the foolish antics of these types of characters in his films, which are usually full of nonsense. These types of films are known as mo lei tau. Stephen Chow is a phenom in Hong Kong and now Mainland China.
I can’t speak on much of the parody aspects of the film because I am not super well versed in Bond films. Some of the references I did pick up though was there was a character modeled after Jaws from Moonraker (Moonraker is one of the few Bond films I have actually watched), the golden gun, and the soundtrack which parodies so many of the bond type introductions I have caught here and there on television.
If you’re not familiar at all with Stephen Chow’s output but are a huge fan of Bond films, their ripoffs and parodies you will find a lot to love with this film. I hope it leads to you seeking out some of his other films as well, even the stuff he just acts in but doesn’t direct can be hilarious and heartfelt. This movie has plenty of explosions and blood in it as well for those who enjoy carnage in their spy films. If you are a fan of Chow and mo lei tau and have not seen this film, I encourage you to seek it out. It’s especially funny how it is critical of communist China and its corruptness when 3 short years later Hong Kong was ceded back to China after British rule would end there. It’s quite amazing that this film didn’t get Chow blacklisted after the transfer of sovereignty either.