In a return to the talky antics of Justice, My Foot!
and Hail the Judge, Stephen Chow plays Chan Mong-Gut,
a famous Chinese lawyer and merciless trickster back in 1899.
When Chan Mong-Gut not busy doing lawyer-type things, he spends
his time annoying the locals, fooling his daffy student Foon
(Eric Kot), and embarrassing pretty women like Lotus (Chingmy
However, Chan and Foon have a falling
out when Foon takes off to the newly-ceded Hong Kong to impress
Lotus. Unfortunately, he ends up getting framed for murder
by Bowie Lam and Moses Chan Ho, who are out to snag an inheritance
from their father (Chung King-Fai). Chan decides to leave
China and defend Foon - in a British court. Aiding him
is Karen Mok in a “flower-vase” role as Chan’s estranged wife,
who was supposed to have studied law overseas, but actually
studied fashion design. This puts Chan in a tough spot, especially
when Foon appears doomed by the byzantine rules of British
Director Joe Ma starts the film slowly,
but it gains steam towards the middle before finishing decently.
Sadly, nearly everyone in this film is a weak link except
Stephen Chow. Eric Kot, while managing to be somewhat likable,
manages to dispel all hope that he’ll eventually be Chow’s
replacement. There’s no way that he can hold a candle to Chow,
who manages to hold this film together with a typical charismatic
performance. The film sags noticeably whenever he isn’t onscreen.
Karen Mok does her usual fine job, but she has way too little
to work with. Chingmy Yau is wasted in her flower-vase turn.
The usual group of Chow bit players turn in fun performances.
While uneven and substandard for a Chow comedy, there’s still
plenty to laugh at. (Kozo 1997)