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.

Sammo and Joyce
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.
Sammo, Do Do and Ng
Then there are all the people who want to kill poor Sammo.

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.

Lam Ching-ying, Jackie Cheung, Yu Li, Sammo, Do Do
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.
Ngai Sing, Yu Li, Jackie, Lam, Joyce
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