Forbidden City Cop (1996)

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forbidden city cop poster

A member of the prestigious “Forbidden City Cops,” Ling Ling Fat (Stephen Chow) is tasked with protecting the Emperor. With no talent in martial arts, a point that brings about ridicule from fellow members, Fat instead invents weapons and unique apparatus but is wholly unappreciated. With his only support his loving wife (Carina Lau), he looks to prove himself to the Emperor and show what he can contribute with the other Forbidden City Cops. When the Gum Kingdom sets into motion plans to invade China, Fat may be the only one capable of saving the country.
Directed by Vincent Kok, who has a small cameo as a doctor, this film was also produced by Wong Jing, a point that always has me guarded. Fortunately, the film was also written by Chow who fills the movie with his trademark and very funny brand of humor. Clearly inspired by James Bond, the film features many riffs on the famous spy films like the title sequence, musical cues, and slight espionage elements. It’s a mostly spot on parody that has some of Chow’s best jokes on display. I found particularly hilarious a fight against a ‘doll fighter’ that is Fat’s first successful conflict. It’s well conceived and repeatedly hilarious. One segment felt was a miss was a dance/dream sequence that goes on for about a minute too long. There are a handful of surprisingly good kung fu sequences that, while wire assisted, showcase some great acrobatics and techniques. While not a martial arts film, it is nice to see they didn’t slouch in that respect.
Supporting cast is decent; Carina Lau is very cute and funny as Fat’s doting wife. They have good chemistry and there is a significant amount of attention given to their relationship. Small roles featuring character actors like Lee Lik Chi, Cheung Tat Ming, Carman Lee, and Law Kaw Ying round out both humor and action elements.
Forbidden City Cop is a very entertaining and rewatchable Stephen Chow comedy. It utilizes some solid choreography and a solid cast of actors that results in one of the better Wong Jing produced films. While not necessarily a must see film, fans of Chow’s comedies and the uniqueness of 90s Hong Kong cinema should have plenty to enjoy.
You may enjoy this film if you liked: From Beijing With Love, Love on Delivery, and Tricky Master

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Long time film lover and occasional writer. I watch anything and everything though I have massive love for the works of Shunji Iwai, Jackie Chan, Johnnie To, and Kinji Fukasaku. POP! POP!

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