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The Chinese Feast
Chinese: 金玉滿堂 "Hey, I can hear you over there! Stop teasing me!"
Anita Yuen and Leslie Cheung undergo chef training
Year: 1995
Director: Tsui Hark
Producer: Raymond Wong Bak-Ming
Action: Yuen Bun
Cast: Leslie Cheung Kwok-Wing, Anita Yuen Wing-Yee, Kenny Bee, Zhao Wen-Zhou, Law Kar-Ying, Xiong Xin-Xin, Joyce Ngai Suk-Kwan, Fan Yik-Man, Raymond Wong Bak-Ming, Tsui Hark, Lau Shun, Ho Ka-Kui, Wong Yat-Fei, Peter Lai Bei-Tak
The Skinny: Thanks to entertaining cooking sequences and delightful performances, Tsui Hark's Lunar New Year Comedy turns out to be enjoyable fluff.
by Kozo:

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)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Widesight Entertainment
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
English and Chinese Subtitles
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image courtesy of Mei Ah Laser Disc Co., Ltd. Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen