REVIEW: God of Cookery (1996)

godofcookery

Hong-kong-icon

1996, The Star Overseas Ltd.

Director:
Lee Lik-Chi
Producers:
Yeung Kwok-Fai
Stephen Chow
Writers:
Stephen Chow
Edmond Liu
Tsang Kan-Cheong
Cinematography:
Jingle Ma
Chan Kwok-Hung
Horace Wong
Editing:
Cheung Ka-Fai

Cast:
Stephen Chow (Stephen Chow)
Karen Mok (Twin Dagger Turkey)
Vincent Kuk (Bull Tong)
Nancy Sit (Herself)
Ng Man-Tat (Uncle)
Tats Lau (Abbot Wet Dream)
Lee Siu-Kei (Goosehead)
Law Kar-Ying (MC in Competition)
Stephen Au (Stephen’s MC)

The rise and fall…and rise again of a renowned chef in Hong Kong is the basis and can only be done in Stephen Chow’s mo lei tau style in this hilarious cooking comedy.

Stephen Chow is the renowned God of Cookery. He has many fans and loyal followers. However, he does have a bit of an advantage. He tends to prove himself by paying off competitors of various competitions even though he is a judge. A fan named Bull Tong asks Stephen if he could be his assistant, to which Stephen agrees. However, at the opening of Stephen’s 50th restaurant, a shocking revelation is revealed. Bull, along with Stephen’s business partner, Uncle, have conspired to expose Stephen as a fraud and Bull declares himself the real God of Cookery.

Losing everything, Stephen goes to a rundown area of Hong Kong where he meets disfigured shop owner Turtle. When Turtle recognizes Stephen, she admits she is a huge fan of his, but the harsh truth is revealed when she sees him getting beaten up for panhandling. After stopping a battle between Turtle and rival Goosehead, Stephen and the two rival stall owners collaborate on a new exploding fish ball that has become the new rave of Hong Kong. Determined to get his title back, Stephen heads to the Chinese Culinary Academy to begin training and afterwards, face Bull in the ultimate cooking showdown.

Leave it to the great Stephen Chow to pull off a madcap cooking comedy revolving around the rise, fall, and redemption of a renowned cook determined to get his title back after being betrayed and exposed. However, considering this is a Stephen Chow film, it can only be done in his trademark style of “mo lei tau”, and yet this is hailed as one of his best films because of how he pulled it off.

Inspired by the hit series Iron Chef, Chow is fun to watch as the God of Cookery, also named Stephen Chow. To many in Hong Kong, Chow is truly the “King of Comedy” with his role of a fallen cook who seeks a road to redemption when he reveals he has the tools necessary. Karen Mok, sporting gold teeth and a scar down the side of her face, makes for a good foil to Chow as stall owner Turtle while Chow’s usual partner in crime, Ng Man-Tat, plays a nefarious businessman who becomes the setup man for Chow’s fall and thus bringing in the cocky Bull Tong, played by actor and filmmaker Vincent Kuk, who would be known for directing Jackie Chan’s romantic action-comedy Gorgeous in 1999.

The film features some cameos from the likes of Christy Chung as a fan who Chow dreams of only to find it is actually Lee Kin-Yan, one of Chow’s usual cohorts, as a very ugly schoolgirl to which he distracts her and roundhouse kicks her. Cinematic legend Nancy Sit also appears in the film as herself judging the final competition of the film, in which Chow has revealed he has learned at the same academy as his rival and is met with hilarious results in flashbacks during the final competition. And as if that is not enough, the ending of the competition reveals a crazy moment that only Stephen Chow himself could come up with.

God of Cookery is truly a fun Stephen Chow-inspired take on the series Iron Chef and taps into the rise, fall, and ultimate redemption (and that’s putting it lightly) of Chow’s titular character. Truly a fun film that only Stephen Chow could come up with.

WFG RATING: A

DVD

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