From Beijing With Love (1994)

Director: Stephen Chow, Lee Lik-chi

Running Time: 83 Minutes

Certification: 15

Starring: Stephen Chow, Anita Yuen, Law Kar-Ying, Wong Kam-Kong, Joe Cheng, Pauline Chan

As a disclaimer opens this work from co-writers/directors Stephen Chow and Lee Lik-chi, the on-screen text states that the film has no relation to James Bond 007 and any similarity is coincidental. While such an inclusion can understandably be seen as the filmmakers protecting themselves from copyright infringement, the intention becomes more tongue-in-cheek when the music which immediately follows bears a close resemblance to the iconic Bond them, effectively setting the scene for what is to come.

The film then shows a military force stealing a dinosaur skull that represents their country's integrity, only for the plan to be interrupted by a secret agent hiding within the skull. As he sets out to stop this plot, the agent is soon murdered by a villain wearing impenetrable armour and wielding a golden gun. The only one left to save the day is a reserve agent titled Double Oh Sevin.

In his everyday life, Ling Ling Chat (Chow) is a martini swilling butcher who is skilled with a butcher's blade and has a fondness for sex workers. He claims that business is slow because everyone is turning vegetarian, although he has been waiting to serve his country while believing that he has been forgotten about. When the call to action arrives, the agent is equipped with the latest gadgets, dons a tuxedo, and prepares for his mission by watching Bond films. The creatives are not playing with fire, they are passionately serenading it with the knowledge that it will create such comedic brilliance.

Aiding him is Kam (Anita Yuen), an agent with ulterior motives who is considered untrustworthy due to her family history. The lead duo make for a fun pairing, grappling with simmering tensions which leads to growing feelings in true Bond fashion. It is part of a tale which brings fun subversions to attempts at following the franchise formula, particularly when the fights go wild with the inclusion of big explosions and fun revelations.

Considering this is a comedy film, it is a blessing that the gags consistently hit their mark. What helps it work is how all involved have to conviction to back-up such strange inclusions, allowing for the effective slapstick and fun sight gags to bring the laughs. As the film reaches an ending which is upfront about the raunchy conclusion Bond's adventures often end on, it is an effective conclusion to this affectionate parody that is tremendously brought alive.

From Beijing With Love is available now on Blu-Ray from Eureka Classics