Slickers vs Killers
What was Sammo Hung thinking (or drinking!) when
he put this film together? It feels like a complete hodgepodge of story
lines and gags that were not used in previous films and thrown into the
pot here and stirred together. Genre mixing is of course a HK art form,
but in this film it goes beyond that as it almost feels like different
films were loosely stitched together. The swift mood swings and schizophrenic
pacing make this a very odd viewing experience – though not necessarily
a bad one. Many pieces on their own are quite good – and the film has a
splendid cast – and Sammo is very personable, but a little bit of focus
would certainly have helped.
The film begins with Sammo and Joyce Godenzi
(Sammo’s current wife) sitting on the deck of a motorboat chatting about
their problems. Sammo tells her that his wife never believes his tall tales
while Joyce tells him that when she was young her elders played a cruel
trick on her and switched the meaning of adjectives around – so that tall
meant short and vice versa. Slowly the camera pulls back and the viewer
finally realizes that they are actually in an office and that the boat
ride is only a simulation and that Joyce is in fact Sammo’s therapist.
This is one thread of the film.
Another follows Sammo as a telephone salesperson
and his highly charged competition with a co-worker – Dodo Cheng. In one
skit like scene they both go to Richard Ng’s office and make a bet as to
who can sell him a phone. After various amusing sales pitches – Ng finally
says “aren’t you from the same company?” – but Dodo counters by offering
herself to him. Ng confesses that he would prefer Sammo! This is another
frayed thread in this film.
Then there are all the people who want to kill
His wife (Yu Li) is a policewoman who has a
subordinate (Ngai Sing) madly in love with her and he would love nothing
better than to see Sammo disappear. Then Sammo witnesses a mob killing
(of Tommy Wong) by two assailants – Jacky Cheung and Lam Ching-ying and
they are now trying to rub him out. Finally, Wong’s gang thinks that Sammo
was involved in his murder and is looking for revenge as well. For anyone
but Sammo this would constitute a very bad day.
The film jumps back and forth between all these
stories – often leaving them in mid-air and then coming back for a minute
or two and then off again. Strange little side stories take place such
as a five-minute scene in which Jackie - doing his psychopath bit - bemoans
that he is a failure as a killer and tries to hang himself. Lam rescues
him and makes him go to Joyce for killer therapy. Then at one point the
film turns into a bedroom farce. It’s all very crazy.
But sort of fun – though being a big fan of Sammo
is probably needed to enjoy this film. It has limited action – though two
good fights with Sammo against both Jackie and Lam take place – and then
in the finale everyone gets involved in the fun – even Joyce and Yu Li
who both display some nifty moves while bashing the hell out of one another.
My rating for this film: 6.5