From Beijing with Love (1994)

Rating: N/A

Dir: Stephen Chow, Lik-Chi Lee
Star: Stephen Chow, Anita Yuen, Kar-Ying Law, Kam-Kong Wong

[22] Never mind Austin Powers, this is the Bond spoof to end them all, with Chow coming out of ‘retirement’ as a butcher, to safeguard China’s national riches. From an inspired parody of Bond credits (not for the last time – ‘Forbidden City Cop’ does the same thing), it’s a blizzard of gags, the best revolving around gadgets such as the shoe which cunningly conceals…a hairdryer. Chow is perfect as the deadpan ex-agent, while Anita Yuen covers both good-girl and bad-girl bases.

There are many great sequences: the use of porn as an anaesthetic, an escape from a firing squad and his piano-playing all stick in my mind. Perhaps most surprising, it works almost as well viewed as an action film: like the Bond movies, it builds with a good sense of pace, towards a climax where Chow’s butchery skills are invaluable. For a directorial debut, it’s an amazing piece of work; truly, nobody does it better. Supreme moment: the solar-powered torch.