4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
an alternative classic,
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This review is from: Eagle Shooting Heroes  [DVD] (DVD)
This was done under pressure from investors for Ashes of Time, the only Wong Kar-Wai martial arts film which for me is the most beautiful and sophisticated of its kind. As Ashes of Time was over budget and way behind schedule, they needed something that could make a quick profit at the box offce. As a result the same cast for Ashes of Time were sent away in the middle of making Ashes to make this film, which is in the genre of the obligatory Chinese New Year "having a laugh" film that comes out every festive season, a deconstruction of the martial art stereotypes and with a lot of slapstick. Wong Kar-Wai is not the director but the producer of the film.
This is the first time I see all the actors I love in a comedy together. I haven't seen many films in this genre but this is a classic not only because of the contrast it makes with Ashes of Time with the same cast but also simply that you'll never see the superstars like Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung (In the Mood for Love, but in this film playing a disfigured frog!), the retired Bridget Lin (and especially the late Leslie Cheung from Farewell My Concubine) and other Hong Kong greats in the same film (not to mention a slapstick like this) again, those still acting all having their particular niches now and not likely to be involved in this kind of project. It is also probably the only film where you see Tony Leung (The Lover) in drag, singing love duet with Leslie Cheung. (According to Tony, the director and the crew died laughing when they saw him in makeup and costume so that he and Leslie had to direct the scene by themselves, with Leslie making the song up on the spot. It is very funny and I'd buy it for this scene alone).
It is demented but has its own logic. If for nothing else I'm buying it because it made the completion of Ashese of Time possible.