REVIEW: Sixty Million Dollar Man (1995)

sixtymilliondollarman

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1995, Win’s Movie Limited

Director:
Raymond Yip
Producer:
Wong Jing
Writers:
Wong Jing
Raymond Yip
Cinematography:
Andrew Lau
Editing:
Marco Mak

Cast:
Stephen Chow (Lee Chak-Sing)
Ng Man-Tat (Tat)
Gigi Leung (Chung Chung)
Paulyn Sun (Bonnie)
Elvis Tsui (Professor Jiang Shi)
Wong Yat-Fei (Lee Yat-Fei)
Mimi Chu (Sing’s Mother)
Guy Lai (Mr. Deng)
Alvina Kong (Mrs. Deng)
Johnny Dang (Johnny)
Charles Shen (Mark)
Joe Cheng (Fumito)
Manfred Wong (Principal)
Lee Kin-Yan (Wong Siu-Fu)

The king of “mo lei tau” comedy, Stephen Chow, stars in this meshing of Inspector Gadget and the likes of Die Hard 2 and Pulp Fiction in this pretty funny comedy.

University student Lee Chak Sing is the most arrogant person to exist. An affluent young man, he thrives on making himself well known no matter who he annoys in the process. However, on a fateful day, he meets his match in new professor Jiang Shi, who even makes the arrogant Sing faint when he performs on a cadaver. That night, Sing meets Bonnie, his new neighbor, and takes her to a club. There, he learns Bonnie is married to Fumito, a Yakuza head. When Lee witnesses Fumito and his men killing someone, he is now a target.

Sing learns that his father is not rich businessman Lee Yat-Fei, but his own servant Tat, who his mother had a one night stand with one fateful night. When the Yakuza strap Sing to a bomb, he professes Tat as his father before being killed in an explosion. However, Jiang Shi has decided to recreate him as a cyborg but with some insane qualities. When the resurrected Sing gets a job as a teacher, he runs into former rival Chung Chung, who has grown into a beautiful woman. However, his first day as a teacher doesn’t go as planned due to unruly students. However, with new modifications, Sing unleashes some new skills that put the students in their place. Sing also begins to fall for Chung Chung, but that will be the least of his problems when Mark, Fumito’s right hand man, has been killed and resurrected as well into a powerful cyborg. Will Sing be able to stop the unstoppable Mark or will it be his second death again?

When it comes to Stephen Chow and Wong Jing, the bottom line involves either loving or hating their films. They are the icons of the “mo lei tau” or “no-brainer” comedy of films in Hong Kong. After making many gambling comedies together, it was time to make a change and an idea came from the collaboration of Wong and Raymond Yip. The title is based on the hit 70’s show The Six Million Dollar Man and while the basis of the film seems based on that, the film also takes elements of the likes of other films and shows, something that is said to be done much better than the constant spoof films of the 2000s in Hollywood.

Stephen Chow once again shows why he is the king of the “mo lei tau” films with his performance of Lee Chak Sing, who starts out as an arrogant rich boy college student who doesn’t care who he hurts. He thinks he is a know it all and even stands up to Jiang Shi, the loony professor wonderfully played with panache and an Einstein-styled hair cut by Elvis Tsui. Tsui’s opening scene is quite funny for this genre with his going medieval on a cadaver with the students passing out and the look on Sing’s face is priceless.

Today, Gigi Leung is one of Hong Kong’s top talents but she was a relative newcomer when this film came out and she is quite great to watch. Here, she plays Jiang Shi’s seriously minded niece Chung Chung, who starts out as a nerdy girl with braces and glasses who matches wits with Sing. However, as we see a few years later when Sing is resurrected, we see Leung’s real beauty as the now post-college Chung Chung and she showcases her talent for acting.

Ng Man-Tat once again shows why he is the perfect comic partner for Chow as his father/servant Tat. Paulyn Sun is pretty fun to watch as Bonnie, the wife of the Yakuza boss who is responsible for Sing to become the titular character. Her pivotal scenes with Chow spoof Pulp Fiction’s famous dance sequence as well as the aftermath of a drug overdose that ends with comical results. Joe Cheng makes the most of his screen time as Fumito, Bonnie’s villain husband with Charles Shen playing the real baddie in henchman Mark, who undergoes his own transformation by the final act.

The comic hijinks may start out in a way with Chow’s arrogance and bullying of Lee Kin-Yan’s fellow student. However, it gets funnier with Sing’s rebuilding with one shot of him getting hands instead of feet. With his resurrection in place, it is not so much like The Six Million Dollar Man, but more in the vein of Inspector Gadget, with even a hose to replace a certain part of his body. The funniest scenes involve Sing receiving a chip that allows him to transform into anything…from a home encyclopedia! Yes, we see Sing turn into a tube of toothpaste, rice cooker, and in a hilarious scene, a toilet! It is this scene where we even see a zebra-stripe suited Sing take elements from The Mask to embarrass Chung Chung’s arrogant boyfriend.

Sixty Million Dollar Man is a funny riff of the hit series that takes elements of other Hollywood films done only how Stephen Chow and Wong Jing can pull it off. This is truly for fans of Chow and Wong’s comedies or you might not like it.

WFG RATING: B

DVD

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