Hail the Judge
1994, NR Directed by Wong Jing. Starring Stephen Chow, Ng Man Tat, Chueng Man.
REVIEWED By Joey O'Bryan, Mon., Aug. 29, 1994
Hong Kong's biggest box office draw, Stephen Chow, stars in this typically crazed period piece courtroom comedy melodrama (?!?) that delivers the type of low humor and absurd sight gags that admirers have come to know and love, while also providing an unexpectedly solid dramatic backbone. Chow stars here as a corrupt lawyer, seeking a chance for redemption by defending a lowly commoner from a spoiled rich brat, who is protected by his father, a powerful government official. The direction is generally uninspired, but the script is consistently clever, and Chow, as usual, proves a comic force like no other. One highlight, with Chow realizing that superior bitching skills can be more than a little bit helpful in ancient China's wildly amoral courts, has the star reaching such a level of put-down mastery that when he insults the sea, it simply explodes! While its contents rain down upon him, he stands proudly, with a crab landing neatly on his head. While antics like this are sure to keep you chuckling (or running for the door, depending on your sense of humor), it's the occasional serious moment that actually makes you care about what happens in this silly movie. Fans of this Cantonese comedian have seen better, but all in all, it's a fun way to spend an hour and a half