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If you find yourself here because you loved Kung Fu Hustle..
B. C. Farmer | Ohio | 09/15/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I was really taken by Kung Fu Hustle - I thought it was extremely unique and a whole lot of fun. After watching it, I backtracked and watched Shaolin Soccer. I enjoyed that movie as well, and then found myself on Amazon looking up other Stephen Chow movies. I found this one, and looked it up at my local video rental stores. No dice. So I went ahead and purchased it through Amazon. Now that I've watched it, I will say that I enjoyed it, but I didn't need to purchase it. If you can find some other means to see it, by all means do so. If the only way you can see it is by purchasing it, read on...
This is not a bad movie by any means. It's just not a movie that was made with a US audience in mind. And there's no reason it should have been - it was not released stateside like Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle were. Be that as it may, the English subtitles have been done by someone whose primary language is not English. And hey, that's not a bad thing. I'm sure that whoever did the subtitles did the best he or she could. Being a person who has tried to speak and write a foreign language myself, I can understand the task the translator had to take on. But the reality is this; for an American viewer who is counting on those subtitles to follow the story, a very literal and often times confusing translation is presented. I found myself constantly having to think "what does this actually mean?" For instance, does "fairy" really mean fairy? Or does it mean angel? Or does it mean ghost? Or (more likely) is there not a corresponding word in the English language that really conveys the true meaning conveyed in the movie's native language? By the time all of those thoughts run through one's head, a couple of other subtitles have already come and gone that you have not devoted that kind of thought to. In short, it can be a little hard to follow.
I also second the comments from some earlier reviews; the humor here is not as universal as it was in Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle. It seems to be very specific to the Chinese culture. Again, I understand that there is no reason it should be anything but what it is. I'm just trying to give "average Kung Fu Hustle fan" a heads up here.
What I found most fascinating about the movie (i.e. - the reason I did enjoy it at all) is the fact that this was a movie that I assume isn't the least bit self conscious of its culture - it just is what it is. Given that, it's arguable that something like this can be a more interesting look into Chinese culture than some National Geographic article or TV special like "CHINESE CULTURE: What it means to you!"
So in the end, if you're looking for another Shaolin Soccer or Kung Fu Hustle (and English is your native tongue), I would say that this movie IS NOT what you're looking for. But if you do watch it and are interested in peeking in at other cultures, you might come away with something else... "
I pee'd my pants.
gruebleen | Lexington, KY United States | 02/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wow! God of Cookery is one of the funniest flick I have ever seen. The tempo of the movie, the insanely clever dialogues, and the razor sharp parodies all add up to a great movie experience. Even though my wife does not speak Chinese, she thought it was wonderful. If you know Cantonese or something about Hong Kong cultural history, THIS IS IT! You will pick up subtle references that will bring back Hong Kong circa late 80's/early 90's.A Chinese movie that is finally willing to make fun of itself. No genre is safe: God of Cookery pokes fun at old gangster flicks, gambling flicks, the silly montages, Hong Kong soup operas, Iron Chef, martial art movies, politics, class, food, food, food..."
About the ending
Ping | San Francisco, CA | 06/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I Just want to say something about the ending, which is absurd to some. Some previous reviews say that was beyond comprehension. I guess it takes a little more understanding about the Chinese mythology and traditional stories to comprehend that scene. In some Chinese myth, gods would sometimes be punished to go through normal men's life. The purpose sometimes is for them to gain experience and to understand and be able to correct their misdoings. It could also be that two gods hated each other be put on the earth as humans like you and I do without remembering they were gods and be tested in occassions similar to the quarells they have had in heaven when they were gods. This is often for them to understand "an eye for an eye" is not a proper way to solve the problem, which sounds quite an essential part to the Chinese, or maybe Buddist's philosophy, in my opinion.
But, anyway, Chow, the fat guy and the manager was somewhat like the gods that has been put on the earth. Chow was the God of Cookery. The manager was a dog in heaven - Yes. There could be animals in heaven too. But, of course, "God of Cookery" (the movie) did not explain why they were put on earth.
I hope this helps people who don't understand enough Chinese mythology to make sense of the ending of the movie. But, sadly, I realize and I agree many Cantonese jokes do not translate quite well to English.
I am form Hong Kong and, so, I understand everything very well. But the down side is that my English ability may not allow me to make my point."
Stephen Chow's best work!
SiuWing | Hong Kong | 12/26/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're looking for a film which can teach you how to cook delicious Chinese dishes, you may be disappointed after watching "The God of Cookery". On the contrary, if you want to have fun, laughing throughout a film, feeling tounched by the romantic love story and witnessing a change of an arrogant business man to a true chef, don't miss this great film!I appreciate the rhythm of this film very much. It's fast and smooth as well as stylish. I've noticed that it only spent about half an a hour to clearly show how Chow's characteristic is, and how successful he was before getting bankruptcy. The sequences of the motion in the first half hour is unforgettable to me. Besides the great performance of Chow, Karen (Sister Turkey) was outstanding as well. Her acting was extremely exaggerate, but this was really funny. One demerit of this film was the ending, it was really strange and hard to accept. But anyway, it carries some meaningful messages which can compensate somewhat. Overall, I highly recommend it to everyone. No matter you can understand Cantonese or not, see it! If you're going to see just one Chow's movie, make sure that you see this one."
Great HK comedy-
Stephen Lang | Woodland Hills, CA United States | 02/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is hilarious. It's a relatively narrow spoof of HK movies such as God of Gamblers, which itself is a spoof of the HK gambling movie genre. So many western viewers may not see the humor, and find this exercise strange and pointless. OTOH, those with at least some sensibility of Asian pop movies (including martial arts flicks like Crouching Tiger) should like it just fine. Besides, Stephen Chow is the king of HK cinema. So anyone purporting to like HK films needs to see at least a couple of Stephen Chow movies.
Oh yeah, it's also a sendup of the Japanese cooking game-show Iron Chef, which is itself pretty self-consciously over-the-top. So that this movie would seem somewhat extreme is not surprising.
The plot follows the basic Stephen Chow template, which is very formulaic yet somehow satisfies every time. Lovable loser/ underdog Stephen Chow rises to beat the bad guy and win the girl. I guess in this case, it's more like top guy falls down, then rises to beat the bad guy...but you get my point. Anyhow, it works really well for him so I wouldn't change a thing. His movies are filled with really wacky cornball humor, yet have have a lot of heart at the same time (by heart I mean in a Rocky 1 sorta way, not Steel Magnolias.)
The most recent reviewer before me mentioned not really "getting" this movie. I can sympathize, yet at the same time I thought the movie was...yes...LOL funny!"