This popular Lunar New Year Comedy has major stars and
a major director who join forces to produce major silliness.
When restaurateur Law Kar-Ying gets challenged by Xiong
Xin-Xin to a winner-take-all cooking contest, he foolishly
accepts and then gets a stroke. Fittingly, it falls
upon the shoulders of wacky daughter Anita Yuen and
ex-triad cook Leslie Cheung to get the job done, but
the goal is to cook the legendary Qin Han feast, which
is simply beyond their meager skills.
In need of help, the two go
to rival cook Zhao Wen-Zhou who also can't cook the
feast. However, he does know someone who can: legendary
Master Chef Kit (Kenny Bee). However, Kit has hit rock
bottom. Now a grocery stock boy in Guangzhou, he has
lost his sense of taste and smell. What he needs is
retraining in the arts, as well as a reunion with his
estranged wife. And he needs to practice cooking.
As you'd expect from a Tsui
Hark comedy, the film possesses slapstick, nonsensical
silliness, but also a genuinely engaging breeziness.
His characters are types well-played by their chosen
actors. Kenny Bee and Zhao Wen-Zhou provide requisite
presence, and Anita Yuen turns in a delightfully playful,
silly performance. If anyone sags in this production,
it's megastar Leslie Cheung, who overacts miserably.
As usual he plays a bad boy, and does so unconvincingly.
This film also possesses incredible
production values and phenomenal cinematography, especially
for a Hong Kong film. That helps compensate for the
film's aimless first half, which plods along with random
shtick until the cooking challenge is finally issued.
The cooking itself is easily best part of the film.
Exotic ingredients, showy cooking techniques, and a
sports-film like construction help make this a genuinely
agreeable and fun time at the movies. And you'll get
hungry. (Kozo 1995)