2 August 2006 | winner55
great fun but with occasional bad dubbing
this is really two films, an hour long crime comedy and a half-hour kung fu film. i think hong Kong audiences can deal with such a mix better than most westerners. at any rate, the kung fu movie is enjoyable, very quickly paced, with some notable stunts - but to be honest, it offered very little new, and doesn't really meet the standard set by other films starring sammo hung and Jackie Chan from this era.
the comedy, on the other hand, is really fun to watch, even when it isn't knee-slapping laff-out-loud funny. this appears to be a little bit of a tribute to the Marx bros., with a touch of Cantonese slap-stick tossed in. it's really character-driven comedy; the funny bits could happen only because the characters are who they are. consequently, it just makes sense for a character - who was stupid enough to gamble on whether a fly would land on his poker hand - to be discovered looking for a hundred bucks he had lost outside at night inside a hotel lobby because 'the light's better in here'. there's also much physical comedy which is actually better to see than for me to describe.
one major warning - i've seen this film now in its original hong Kong version, which included mandarin and English subtitles; its original English-dub American release; its recent re-subtitled release; its recent re-dubbed release. of the four versions, the re-dubbed is by far the worst translation of the original dialog. although released on DVD with the new subtitles available, and so one would suppose the dub and the subtitles would be identical, they didn't even get this right - use the subtitles, avoid the new dub. and there are still crucial moments lost in the new subtitles. at one point, a character, trying to act tough, is asked what he would do if someone bumped into his car; the subtitle has him say that - essentially - he would force the guy to beg for mercy; that's not what he says, what he says is that 'i would beg for mercy' - in other words, this is the moment when his sham is exposed. i can imagine literally hundred - thousands - of people missing this joke entirely due to the bad translation here.
the best version - its original hong Kong version which includes mandarin and English subtitles .
still, even with this problem as obvious as it is, i think audiences will still find a lot to like about this film. the characters - all performed by the famous lucky-stars Chinese opera group that produced hung, Chan, yuen wah, and yuen biao - all present here BTW - are so amiable and unpretentious, it's hard not to like them, and if you do like them, you will have a good time.