Lu ding ji (Royal Tramp) Reviews
long review: a Wong Jing wire-fu fantasy - a painful watch apart from the over-the-top yet fluid action. for a gweilo, i'm a huge asiaphile and I still couldn't follow this one. I'd recommend just about any Stephen Chow movie before this one.
The plot, somewhat faithful to the novels, is no less baroque than the punch lines: Chow is Wai Siu-bo a sardonic fabulist who spins yarns in his sister's brothel atop a crude throne adorned with a goofy tiger cap (yet another inside joke) and happens into the service of Ming rebels (the aforementioned Heaven and Earth Society). Sent to the Forbidden City to infiltrate the court and steal a fabled martial arts book that [could] help overthrow the tyrannical Ching Dynasty, Wai accidentally applies to become a eunuch, but is saved by another (frequent Chow collaborator Ng Man-tat) who in return wants Wai to gain the court's confidence so he too can make off with the MacGuffin. Once inside Wai genuinely befriends the emperor (Deric Wan) who then wants Wai to spy on the eunuch in addition to the court's general (Elvis Tsui Kam-kong). In the meantime, the emperor's trashy princess daughter (Category III starlet Chingmy Yau) wants Wai to infiltrate her!
Decidedly, the only universal components in this esoteric nonsense comedy are unfortunately low brow huckster Wong Jing's predilection for puerile humor from opposite ends of the spectrum: it's all daffy reaction shots and penis jokes.
If that passes your litmus test for good comedy and you are capable of processing and compartmentalizing data swiftly then "Royal Tramp" will likely tickle your funny bone (it, despite its language barrier, has a constituency of Western fans) but others might feel like Wong Jing assaulted their ulnar nerve.
Domestically, "Royal Tramp" took in over HK$40 million and finished as one of 1992's largest grossing films proliferating a sequel and more recently a television series.
From there it becomes a fun Chow comedy. What I love about his humour is best given with an example of a common scene, but with that Chow touch.
Chow's arms are hidden behind his back while 2 well hidden women pretend to be his arms when he is confronted. American audiences have seen this gag many times before, heck, Who's Line is it Anyway has a segment on the gag called Helping Hands. But what makes it hilarious when Chow does it (though I do confess I like the gag in almost all cases) is when the hands beat the shit out of him until he's vomiting blood. Now that's comedy gold.
A funny comedy with some great martial arts scenes that's well worth seeing for fans of Chow's work.