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Justice, My Foot!
  |     review    |     awards     |      availability     |
Anita Mui and Stephen Chow
 
Chinese: 審死官
Year: 1993
Director: Johnnie To Kei-Fung
Producer: Mona Fong Yat-Wah
Action: Ching Siu-Tung
Cast: Stephen Chow Sing-Chi, Anita Mui Yim-Fong, Ng Man-Tat, Carrie Ng Ka-Lai, Wong Yat-Fei, Leung Ka-Yan, Eddy Ko Hung, Paul Chun Pui, Yuen King-Tan, Mimi Chu Mi-Mi
The Skinny: With multiple HKFA nominations, the highest Hong Kong box office gross of 1992, and the always-welcome presence of Stephen Chow, one would think Justice, My Foot! would be an instant comedy classic. But despite a hilarious opening act, the fun level starts to wane. The culprit? The most unlikely of things: plot.
 
Review by
Calvin
McMillin:

Hong Kong funnyman Stephen Chow stars as lawyer Sung Shih-Chieh, a veritable Chinese Johnnie Cochran—smooth, efficient, and not entirely ethical—in this Qing Dynasty comedy from Johnnie To. Though Sung seems to be a "man of the people" by representing the downtrodden and underprivileged, he is in fact just another shyster lawyer who uses his verbal acrobatics purely for financial gain. Despite his obvious talents, Sung's faithful wife (Anita Mui) asks him to forego his lucrative job since the karmic price of his success has taken too high a toll on their family. To date, all twelve of their infant sons have died prematurely. Wanting to please his wife and appease the gods, Sung complies with her wishes, but his retirement becomes short-lived when he is pulled into a murder case involving the widowed Madame Chou (Carrie Ng). Courtroom antics and various fart jokes ensue.

The initial act of Justice My Foot! is pretty darn funny as Stephen Chow clowns around with the always-amusing Wong Yat-Fei (as Chow's servant) and the scene-stealing Anita Mui in a series of comic setups. But after the plot kicks in, the electricity of these earlier scenes practically disappears. To its credit, the movie remains entertaining, but really, it's the ingratiating nature of the first act that buys the film some dramatic leeway with the audience.

With its stable of actors (most Stephen Chow regulars), an award-winning director in Johnnie To, a world-renowned stunt coordinator in Ching Siu-Tung, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon cinematographer Peter Pau, you'd expect this to be an amazing film. Still, the whole of Justice, My Foot! seems considerably less than the sum of its parts. One explanation could be the fact that the film's humor seems heavily reliant on Cantonese wordplay. Then again, as a barely-there speaker of Mandarin, I honestly couldn't tell you for sure. Still, I did get the Silence of the Lambs parody. And the gay jokes. And I don't care who you are, it's hard not to chuckle, even just a little, at Ng Man-Tat's flatulence. While Justice, My Foot! is by no means the audience-uniting crowdpleaser that Shaolin Soccer is, it does have its moments, amounting to an overall pleasant diversion from the doldrums of everyday existence. In other words, I thought it was okay. (Calvin McMillin 2003)

 
Awards: 12th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
• Nomination - Best Actor (Stephen Chow Sing-Chi)
• Nomination - Best Actress (Anita Mui Yim-Fong)
• Nomination - Best Screenplay (Sandy Shaw)
• Nomination - Best Costume Design (Yu Ka-On)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Intercontinental Video, Ltd.
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital Mono
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
 
image courtesy of Universe Laser & Video Co., Ltd.
   
 
 
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